Ninobasilio, giving a touch of elegance to native bags

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By Jenny Molbog-Mendoza

Fashion Nook

Sunday, August 24, 2014


WHILE I was hopping from one booth to another at the National MSME Summit's Mindanao Crafts and Cultural Village's opening on August 20, a setup of elegantly-crafted handbags caught my attention.

In fact, even Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, during an interview with the Davao media, cited that these bags will surely be a big hit in the international trading arena if marketed well.

Basil Yap Cabaral, the brain behind Ninobasilio's chic and sassy collection of bags and who is a self-confessed bag enthusiast, revealed that it was actually his first time to be part of a trade fair. But despite that, he was already enjoying a number of great reviews and feedbacks from various buyers and visitors.

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Upon checking on the craftsmanship of his creations and finding out that they are sold at ultra friendly prices, I really got so impressed that I decided to interview him. Read on to get acquainted with my newly-found designer in the metro.

FN: How do you design your bags? Where do you get your inspiration?

Basil: I get the inspiration from the (signature) bags that I love then I just incorporate some innovations to make our native bags look more elegant. But since these high-end bags are so expensive, I thought of making my own line of bags pero Pinoy na Pinoy and very affordable.

FN: What's your design principle?

Basil: Colors talaga ang aking panlaban. I see to it that the color that I'd like to come out in my bags is really the color that I want it to have, like teal. And because we are Filipinos, this is my take of modernizing our native bags.

FN: What types of bags do you have right now?

Basil: It's all made of dried pandan, colored, then woven. Most of what we carry are handheld bags with handles made of treated Mahogany. We also carry travelling bags made of the same materials. These big duffle bags are usually used in the beach or when travelling abroad.

FN: How would you describe your bags?

Basil: My bags are simple, sophisticated/classic, and bold. Bold and bright pertaining to the colors, but the designs and shapes are very classic. Overall, it's simple meets elegant.

FN: What tips can you share with the budget-conscious fashionistas when it comes to choosing the appropriate bags for each occasion?

Basil: Fashion, bags in specific, doesn't necessarily have to be expensive. Thus, we offer bags that are reasonably priced but are still comparable to those of Bottega and the likes.

FN: What tips can you give for the women who love bags yet don't know which kind is best for them?

Basil: Petite - Small handbags are perfect for them for they don't cut the torso area. It should be held (by hand) and drops at the knee area.

Tall and slender - Big tote (shoulder) bags are perfect for tall and slender girls as they cut the body giving the illusion of balance (if worn on the shoulder), and they also add a little bulk on the upper torso area.

Tall and heavy - Bigger handheld bags are perfect for this body type as they should be proportion to the body size. My recommendation though is to hold the bag dropping to the knee area for it not to add to the bulkiness of the upper torso.

College fashionistas - Must be experimental and try all kinds of bags. You are a fashionista, live it!

Young professionals - Go for the bold colors. In the workplace, formal and muted colors are required as a dress code, so play with colors when it comes to your bags.

Older women - Blacks, browns, and neutrals are best for older women for a more subdued and classic feel.

FN: Future plans?

Basil: We plan to perfect first making sling bags, we need to master working with man-made leather first to be able to do that. Once we already mastered that, then we will be talking about a men's line already. Although, many men customers already buy our duffle bag as it is big enough for men to carry around without looking like they are carrying their girlfriends' handbag. But nonetheless, it is our plan to come up with a men's line soonest. We already got a lot of requests for it.

With Basil's artistic yet meticulous stance towards coming up with impressive selections of bags, he will surely capture more hearts that will consistently fall in love with every piece that he introduces to the market.

If you want to sashay your very own Ninobasilio bag, you may contact him at 0917-3211552 or 0925-5211552. You may also check his creations in our malls anytime soon (as negotiations are still going on).

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 25, 2014.

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