StyleBible Preview

Here’s How These BFFs Launched A Minimalist Brand That Showcases Filipino Textiles

Mica, Marina, and Maia founded Aruga Studio. They offer the prettiest handmade dresses, polos, and crop tops!
Here’s How These BFFs Launched A Minimalist Brand That Showcases Filipino Textiles
IMAGE COURTESY OF MICA DE LOS REYES, ARUGA STUDIOS
Mica, Marina, and Maia founded Aruga Studio. They offer the prettiest handmade dresses, polos, and crop tops!

Sustainability and timelessness have rightfully become the standard. When we shop, we look for clothes that can be styled up or down for different events, transcend trends, and are of excellent quality—it's always a win when we find garments we know will last for years. Just as importantly, we want to support the local homegrown businesses that promote the designs and craftsmanship of Filipino talents, and who also advocate for sustainability in their own ways. 

Aruga Studio is a passion project that ticks all these boxes. The brand was founded by three best friends who share a love for fashion, and they just launched their first-ever collection in June of this year. As of right now, they create limited quantities of versatile, stylish pieces, including wardrobe staples like the classic LBD, creamy half-and-half crop tops, neutral-toned trousers, and breezy piña polos. 

Whether you'll be heading out for a casual brunch with friends post-pandemic, having a wine night at home, or watching a bonfire by the beach, there will definitely be something from their collection that'll match the occasion.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Milagros Piña Polo, P3995, ARUGA STUDIO
 PHOTO BY ARUGA STUDIO
Margarita Cropped Top, P1995, ARUGA STUDIO
PHOTO BY ARUGA STUDIO
CONTINUE READING BELOW
Recommended Videos

One of the founders, Mica de los Reyes, developed her love for fashion from collecting local and foreign magazines and have used them as constant guides for fashion content and following personalities. She met Maia and Marina in college, and the three of them advanced from being friends to business partners as well. 

“The three of us met in UP Diliman. We all took up Bachelor of Sports Science and entered the university at the same year. My two-year experience in marketing management in UST, Marina’s education in UA&P, and Maia’s UP JMA org came in handy in dealing with the business side of our brand, despite it having no correlation with our course in UP," Mica wrote in an email. 

Marina Rillo, who currently serves as Argua Studio's managing partner, conceptualized the business prior to its establishment. Her love for fashion started at the young age of three influenced by her mother and grandmother. Meanwhile,Maia Yusay enlightened her sense of fashion in France, the fashion capital of the world. The trio's common interest in fashion pushed them to plan launching the business in their last year of college, and they balanced this with their respective academic responsibilities and theses. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

PHOTO BY COURTESY OF MICA DE LOS REYES

Preview got to have a quick chat via email with them, and they shared how they got into fashion, and what it took to get Aruga Studio off the ground! 

Check out our interview with the talents behind Aruga Studio below:

What’s been your greatest challenge so far?

"One of the challenges we faced was not living in the same city, although we managed to find a silver lining from this obstacle since this enabled us to maximize the resources we can acquire from different locations (e.g., cloth, packaging). Additionally, another challenge we faced was looking for a supplier amid the pandemic. This was especially true for sourcing our packaging since we wanted it to be unique and fitting for our brand and its beliefs. However, when we finally managed to put up our long-time dream business, it made all our all-nighters and efforts more than worthwhile. What made it even sweeter is that when we successfully launched the brand, Marina and I discovered that we were qualified to graduate from UP with honors (cum laude), despite the difficulties in balancing Aruga and academics.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

What makes Aruga Studio unique from the other brands in the market?

“Aruga Studio takes pride in its Filipino handmade pieces. Our brand is committed to becoming a platform for showcasing Filipino craftsmanship. It’s time to put the spotlight on the local artisans behind the beautiful pieces that we wear and use—from Aruga Studio’s clothing incorporating traditional Philippine fibers such as piña, down to sourcing for reusable packaging made of tampipi and/or buri (native leaves). We offer a variety of fibers for our clothing, although we put high value in adding Filipino textiles into our designs. With our timeless pieces and reusable packaging, we hope to minimize our carbon footprint and grow as a brand towards a more sustainable path—we’ll try to do this slowly but surely. And finally, we hope that our brand reflects our vision to support our fellow Filipinos, while being a brand that our customers are proud to be a part of.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
PHOTO BY COURTESY OF MICA DE LOS REYES
PHOTO BY COURTESY OF MICA DE LOS REYES
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Martha Trousers in Black, P2200, ARUGA STUDIOS
PHOTO BY ARUGA STUDIO

 

Miguela Dress in Leche Flan, P1990, ARUGA STUDIO
PHOTO BY ARUGA STUDIO
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

 

 

Miguela Dress in Black, P1990, ARUGA STUDIO
PHOTO BY ARUGA STUDIO

 

Who designs and manufactures Aruga Studio pieces?

“We collectively design the pieces taking into account each partner’s ideas. We put each of our designs, thoughts and comments on the table, discuss it, and eventually agree on a result we are all happy with. Each of our designs—for both men and women—come to life in the hands of our skillful in-house seamstresses. They never cease to amaze us with the end products they expertly craft. Nothing gives us more fulfilment than seeing our ideas materializing.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
PHOTO BY COURTESY OF MICA DE LOS REYES

Who do you envision wearing Aruga?

As a brand that aims for versatility and timelessness, we cater to men and women who need wardrobe staples that they can easily dress up or dress down. They may be conscious in terms of how fashion can affect the environment, which makes them look for something more timeless that they can reuse and keep for a long period of time. Aruga is something people can buy for themselves, or gift to a friend, to show a piece of modern Filipino culture.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

To shop Aruga Studio, visit their website here

Preview is now on Quento! Click here to download the app for iOS and Android and enjoy more articles and videos from Preview and your favorite websites!

Related Stories from Preview.ph

Hey, Preview readers! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, and Twitter to stay up to speed on all things trendy and creative. We’ll curate the most stylish feed for you!

COMMENTS