Fashion, like art, is often used as an expression of emotion. And like a work of art, an article of clothing often holds a story of inspiration as told by its designer and those who have had a hand in making it. Local retail brand Astella outwardly manifests its creator's story through the hand-printed images that are used in each of its limited pieces.
Its founder and chief designer, Gloria Lim, was influenced by various elements she encountered while growing up in the Philippines. The Manila-born and Palawan-raised designer and entreprenuer uses her garments as a canvas to share specific narratives based on her experiences. Lim has a tendency to incorporate Philippine wildlife and vegetation into her line of wearable designs.
"The incorporation of Philippine imagery is very important to the identity of the brand and the designs within it," Gloria says, "Astella's product line ranges from hand-printed T-shirts to structured blouses, skirts, and shorts that can work as stand-alone pieces or ensembles.” The production of each style is limited since Astella sources excess fabric that typically cannot be used in large fashion orders.
With its production based in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Astella boasts of a apparel that is hand-printed and painted using patterns made by Gloria herself. The brand was a product from her gap year in 2014, when she worked closely with her mother's foundation, Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation. During this time, she was able to explore pattern-making and fashion design and has since been experimenting with various processes and products.
Gloria's ultimate goal for Astella is for it to become a platform with like-minded people to learn from each other. "As of now, we are still experimenting and finding our stable footing but as long as experimentation and progress can still be made, then we will always be happy to welcome people into the workshop."
Here are some of Astella's current pieces you can shop now:
Astella is available at Kubo by Piopio in Metro Manila, the Rurungan Showroom in Puerto Princesa, Kalye Artesano in El Nido, and Nest Home & Fabrique Shop in Cebu. For inquiries, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or message @AstellaPH on Instagram.