Blogger and book author Kryz Uy adds entrepreneur to her growing resume with the launch of her shop February Lifestyle. And as one of the pioneering fashion bloggers in the country, her bag designs pass a high standard of sartorial taste. But apart from the quirky and fun designs, Kryz's bags bear a more thoughtful meaning. Find out what it is and learn more about the brand as we talk to February Lifestyle's owner and creative director below.
1. What is the concept behind February Lifestyle? Where did the name come from?
"February lifestyle is all about finding beauty in the odds and being perfectly imperfect. In today’s day and age, people are always trying to look like someone else, or be like someone else. It’s all about transforming yourself into your online #goals. At February, we are trying to change that mindset. We celebrate who you are. Exactly as you are. Using local materials that a lot people think are common and uninteresting, we create bags that are full of life, and unapologetically different. By being 100% handmade, no bag is created exactly alike, and that is something we are proud of.
"The brand name February was chosen because it is the only month in the year that surprises us with 28 (or 29) days. No one really gives a second thought about it, but it’s there, it’s bold, and it’s different. When you think of February, you don’t know what to expect. It could be a super hot month in the tropics, or a super harsh winter in the north. It could be a month of love or a month of bitterness. February is a month that will surprise you, and we at February lifestyle encourage that surprise because we love your every madness."
2. Please describe your design aesthetic.
"Taking something common and ordinary like Philippine raffia, straw, and banig, I wanted to create designs that would make people give it a second look. I want people to fall in love with our native materials and change their notions that native has to look ethnic. It doesn’t. Local can be relatable. It can be quirky and it can add a lot of spice to your look."
3. Who designs the bags? Where do you get the inspiration?
"I do! I take inspiration from millennial culture and translate it into a wearable design, making sure that each bag is unique and different, yet meaningful.
"For example, the Ants in Your Pants crossbody and coin purse were inspired by today’s “How to be you po” culture, when everyone just wants to follow the trend and look exactly like their idols. The bag features horizontal stripes, and a single stripe in the middle made with hand molded ants that aren’t going in a super straight line. The horizontal stripes represent the “sheep” in society- everyone who acts the same way in fear of being judged. The ants, are hopefully, you. This design wishes to tell people that it’s okay to be different. It’s okay to look different from everyone else. You are lucky enough to be unique, and you don’t have to be ashamed about it."
4. What made you decide to start your own business? How did it take off?
"I guess I’ve always been molded to go into retail. My family business used to be department stores around Cebu, and my sisters and I had a chain of retail boutiques a few years ago that I had to give up because I was too busy with blogging. Getting more and more into the whole online/social media industry, I had so many realizations. On my part, being an online personality can be quite draining if you don’t find meaning in what you’re doing. So I decided to make something concrete out of my advocacy, to be yourself, because you are lucky enough to be different. I combined my two passions, poured my heart and a lot of sweat into it, and voila- February was born!"
5. Who do you have in mind carrying your pieces? Describe the ideal February Lifestyle girl.
"Someone who is not afraid to be different. Someone who doesn’t mind being stopped in the streets to talk about her amazing bag (because it will happen a lot- here and abroad!) I get such a variety of customers- from school girls to moms to beach bums and businesswomen that I don’t really design for anyone specific. The point is whoever you are, you can bring a February bag just because you want to. There are no rules. You make the rules."
6. What are your brands greatest strengths? What sets you apart from other stores?
"Aside from the fact that our bags are 100% handmade in Cebu, Philippines using local materials and supporting local craftsmanship, I would have to say my designs are very different from what is currently in the market. They’re new, fresh and quirky. Plus, they give insight on current popular culture. It’s like wearing an art piece!"
7. What about its weaknesses? How are you able to overcome these?
"There's a misconception that it’s not high quality because it’s locally made with local materials. I will prove you wrong. :P Our bags go through sooo many rounds of quality checks so I assure you, it’s more than what you pay for! A customer of ours even took her Sweet like Sugar sling on a jetski in the Maldives, and it was drenched with salt water. Guess what- the bag is still alive and kicking!"
8. Where do you see your brand in the coming years?
"That’s one secret I’ll never tell. :P Kidding. Hopefully bigger and better so we can support more people!"
9. What is next for February Lifestyle?
"I just launched my current summer collection featuring 3 designs- The Ants in Your Pants, In Your Face and Be My Ladybug. They come in either a cross-body shape or a small coin purse. We are accepting preorders for now because we don’t want to sacrifice quality to meet deadlines. Of course I’ve mentioned that everything is hand-molded and hand-painted in the mountains so it does take quite some time to finish. So we’re slowly churning the bags out and hopefully by this week or next, we will have everything on hand to ship out!"
If you're interested to buy (or hoard) February Lifestyle bags, click here!