Sep 28, 2017 | 0 comments

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) – Brightly coloured bags and exotic accessories designed by 11 Filipino creators using natural materials such as Manila hemp and seashells are catching the eyes of those attending the “Exclusively by Hand” exhibition at Good Design Marunouchi in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

This is the second year of “Exclusively by Hand,” organized mainly by the Trade and Investment Section of the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo and supported by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion to feature handmade items designed by Filipino creators.

According to exhibition curator Ito Kish, this year’s exhibition has focused more on the country’s indigenous designs. Based on this concept, the designers injected creativity and their own modern interpretations into the works. Kish said: “In the last couple of years, indigenous designs in the Philippines have seen a resurgence. People are really accepting it, and it’s getting more popular.”

The exhibitors anticipate business opportunities in Japan. “ZACARIAS 1925,” a brand led by Rita Nazareno, has already attracted Japanese buyers and was introduced on a Japanese fashion magazine’s website.

Colorful clutch bags designed by Carissa Cruz Evangelista’s “Beatriz” were chosen by American celebrity Oprah Winfrey for her favorite things list 2016. The designer said, “We work with special groups in the Philippines that help to provide a livelihood [for the women] so they have money for their families … Everything is handmade.”

Dita Angara-Mathay, commercial counselor at the embassy, said successful business negotiations with Japanese buyers grew out of last year’s event. Japan is the largest export market for the Philippines, though the main export items are electronics and agricultural products like bananas.

Considering the prospects for Philippine fashion and accessories businesses in Japan, Angara-Mathay said, “We need to concentrate on products with value added that give income … We capitalize on our two competitive advantages: One is craftmanship and the other one is design.”

The exhibition “Exclusively By Hand” is being held through Sept. 24. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free. An exhibition and sales by the exhibitors are being held through Sept. 26 at Good Design Store Tokyo by Nohara at the KITTE building near JR Tokyo Station.

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