Venturing into the world of fashion design wasn't on Lydia Querian’s mind growing up. In fact, she was raised in a typical Filipino household where she had two main profession choices: medicine or law. But sooner or later, Lydia would find herself drawn to fashion. Soon, her interest burned into an ardent passion that would eventually change her life. “I learned fashion on really small increments, but the biggest fashion teacher for me is being able to consume it. Consuming fashion teaches you how and what lane to take in this industry,” she adds. A little more down the road, she discovers her heritage and in the windfall of it all, Lydia learns how important her role would be in fashion and her view of her ancestors, her culture and local artisans.
LOOK: Lydia Querian’s Traditional Textile Weaving Designs
At the heart of her brand, Daily Malong, are the talented local craftsmen from local weaving communities. For Lydia, involving them in the supply chain process was an integral part of to the creation of her pieces. “I didn’t want people to wear clothing that honored the idea of tradition; I wanted each piece to have a direct connection to the hands and lands of living indigenous people, and most importantly, for these artisans to enjoy the recognition and material success that their ingenuity and talent deserve.”
Daily Malong aims to continue building awareness behind weaving traditions of the indigenous communities across the country. But beyond it is also her desire for the continuity of the practice. “I figured that if we get the support of Filipinos in the diaspora, it will bring inspiration back to the mainland to continue the living traditions from our ancestors.” While traditional woven pieces usually come in the colors of black, red, and yellow, Lydia’s brand injects playful hues to its pieces to increase their wearability.
In a way, starting a brand abroad had its pros and cons. On one side of the coin, Lydia admits that being in one of the largest markets has almost unlimited potential while the flip side is that it’s incredibly competitive. A hopeful message that she wants to impart to burgeoning designers out there is to continue exploring as as far as they are able. “Exceed all the boundaries in place around you. Go far and then turn back and look at where you came from with fresh eyes. The journey is scary and difficult, but necessary.”