Now on month 3 of quarantine, many of us have already put our cozy tees, shorts, and light dresses on heavy rotation at home. But if you’re looking to switch the mood up a bit by means of your wardrobe, may we suggest an alternative that feels just as good as it looks.
Kaayo, a homegrown artisanal brand that showcases the rich culture of Mindanao, has put forward silk-charmeuse pajama separates in jewel tones—5 colors for the top and 7 for the pants—that have a strip of beautiful embroidery by the T’boli women of Lake Sebu on each side. The spaghetti strapped tops and languid trousers are available in brilliant jewel tones, and are meant to be purchased individually so that you can mix and match the colors as you please.
“My ‘pajamas’ actually were about to launch before the pandemic,” shares Marga Nograles, the brand’s founder. While she calls them pajamas, she reveals that they were designed to be worn out—easy to imagine with a sexy pair of heeled sandals or luxurious slippers if you so please. “I did the collection in dark colors in the beginning,” she adds, noting that they are available in black, “but then I eventually realized that bright jewel-toned colors made me happier.”
Having released them at the end of April, many of the metro’s grounded stylish women snapped up a set. We first spotted it on Cura V’s Kai Lim, who posted a photo wearing a black top and fuchsia pants. Then we saw photos of both Apples Aberin and Dr. Aivee Teo wearing fuchsia and purple combinations. Marga herself has shared a photo of herself wearing the black top paired with yellow gold trousers.
Continued Livelihood for The Tribeswomen
The embroidered strip of fabric that decorates the pajamas were actually pre-produced. “The T'boli hand beading was purchased from the tribe long before we knew what to do with them,” says Marga, who shared that providing the women with the beads and fabric to work on, and then buying the finished products from them ensures that they have continuous work.
The tribeswomen are currently working on new embroidered fabric for Kaayo, which can only be delivered after quarantine. Marga assures that they are in constant communication: “We are able to send them cash ahead, then when quarantine is lifted in their area, they can send us our order. They have been hopeful and still always very eager to work.”
Shopping to Support Frontliners
But there’s more to this fashion purchase than just leveling up your home wear. “20% of gross sales go to COVID-19 relief operations,” says Marga. Apart from preparing food packs for the frontliners at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao, they have also been making and donating simple black cloth masks to other frontliners like garbage collectors, grocery staff, and security guards. To date, they have been able to prepare 3500 food packs and give out 4000 masks, and they continue to donate to those in need.
Another effort in collaboration with alumni from the Immaculate Concepcion Academy (ICA) has Kaayo’s production making PPE jumpsuits, robes, face shields, and masks that are donated to small hospitals around the Philippines. “We make (non-medical) taffeta with silver backing PPE jumpsuits,” explains Marga, adding “They are like umbrella fabric that dries fast and is waterproof. [The fabric has a TSI 220 (thread per square inch) of 220, and they say the higher the square inch, the more non permeable it is.”
The brand now also offers a PPE-inspired jumpsuit, seen on news anchor Karen Davila. “For every purchase of this, we donate 3 plain [non-medical] PPEs to the hospitals.” You can expect other versions—robes, dresses—made with the same water-repellant material to be available soon, too!
Marga does caution: “I always say: If you can stay home, please stay home. But if you have to leave, please make sure to keep safe and protected.”
To order Kaayo’s pajamas or jumpsuits, you can inquire at @kaayo.ph on Instagram or message cel. no. 0917 622 7713