Their accessories first caught our eye in Don Protasio's Holiday 2011 show for Philippine Fashion Week early this year. A touch macabre and thoroughly intriguing, we made a mental note of the curious accessories.
And then they started popping up, more frequently: On a trip to Iloilo, Don showed me, over lunch, the new pieces from this accessory brand. Next, Rajo blogged about the pieces as House of Laurel stocked them to accompany Androgyny. During the Philippine Fashion Ball, we spotted Robby Carmona and accessory designer Joyce Makitalo sporting the label's bony goods. Lastly, we saw more of the skeletal pieces displayed prominently in the accessory cases of AC+632. It seemed like everyone's hot on the heels of this young brand called Os.
Young creatives Kat Medina, AJ Omandac, and Paul Jatayna are the ones responsible for this sudden clamor for bone accessories. Friends bound together by artistic inclinations and a desire to make "edgy pieces that were not available locally," they ganged up to form Os, an accessory brand that caters to like-minded stylistas who are perennially on the hunt for unusual elements with which they can punctuate their outfits. They derived the brand's name from the Latin osseus, meaning "bony." (Click on the lookbook gallery to know more about the three designers.)
"The Os design philosophy revolves around the idea of bones—raw, street, and edgy. Volume 1, our first collection, was inspired by prehistory and industry ," says the three. "We wanted to fuse industrial elements with natural-looking bones, [and channel] how ancestors used to adorn themselves.
So that the bones would look as natural as possible, we used a type of high-quality polyurethane that would mimic the color of bone, but at the same time make it lightweight and rigid. The whole process, from gathering the real thing to having it finished for a polished look, took a while to master. With metals we chose to work with stainless screws and bolts and rhodium-plated brass for chains and other appliqués. Os is individually handcrafted, so each piece is a labor of love."
With pieces that look like the real thing—scapula, vertebrae (reportedly the toughest to produce, and hence, the designers' favorite), bird skull, cat skull—Os is definitely not for the faint of heart. "At the very start we decided that Os needs to be more wearable rather than avant-garde. We wanted it to be worn by a wide range of people from hip, young, fashion followers to eccentric adults. That is why we streamlined the design and stuck with a natural color for this collection."
Being relatively new in the fashion field, Kat, AJ, and Paul still have a lot to look forward to, and a ton of things to keep them busy. "We are currently working on a capsule collection called Black which will be available very soon! At the same time, we are already working on our second collection to be launched in September or October of this year. [There will be] lots of new forms and bones, and a wider range of accessories, not just necklaces."
Click on the photo gallery to view Os' Volume 1 collection.