More than a namesake

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Thursday, March 20, 2014


TWENTY-THREE-YEAR-OLD Mia Arcenas is making a name for herself in the fashion industry, and it’s not just about having a namesake label.

She graduated summa cum laude after taking a course in Apparel Manufacturing Management at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. To gain more experience, she interned in LA at Rock & Republic and Showroom A La Mode. In 2010, she became the vice president and creative director of her family’s long-running export accessories brand Ferimar Import-Export Inc., which was started by her mother, Iris. Mia worked to increase the brand’s international presence in trade shows in the world’s fashion capitals, from Paris to Rome to Milan.

A year after joining Ferimar, Mia launched her own brand. She put her skills in design and manufacturing towards creating quality pieces that were chic, wearable and accessible, for women much like herself: feminine and sophisticated, yet confident and progressive at the same time.

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Her first collection was mostly of digitally printed silk kaftans that customers quickly bought off the racks; these continue to be her most popular items today.

Later, she incorporated statement jewelry and bags into the Mia Arcenas line, working with luxurious materials like gold-plated metals, crystals, and freshwater pearls.

Many of her pieces are made or beaded by hand, employing the skill of artisans that Cebu has come to be known for.

At the launch of her Spring/Summer 2014 collection, the designer was inspired by the openness and fluidity of the ocean, capturing the feeling of freedom and self-expression. No fewer than 55 of Mia’s freshest looks were presented on the catwalk, from laidback pieces to more structured dresses in every length. The show opened with floral crowns adorning models’ full-bodied curls to complement the first set of ultra-feminine clothes, setting the fun and young atmosphere for the show.

There were new releases of her best-selling silk kaftans, dresses in the silhouettes of the ‘50s, and flowing, free-spirited clothes inspired by the ‘70s. The jersey, chiffon and pure silk materials were in solid white, nude or citrus hues, or in animal, floral and geometric prints that Mia designed herself.

The formal event, presented by Zee Lifestyle and organized by A-list Events, was attended by Cebu’s crème de la crème. The catwalk printed with large red blooms and acrylic Tiffany chairs for seating lent a young and stylish feel to the Oakridge Pavilion, just like the designer herself.

The Mia Arcenas line is now available at Ferimar and in luxury hotels and resorts in Cebu and around the Philippines, as well as in Australia, Japan, Maldives, Morocco and Thailand. All of her products, including everything in the current collection, are proudly 100 percent made in the Philippines. (JVC)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 21, 2014.

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