SHE started designing for a fashion house in Davao in 2009. The stint didn’t last long. The business closed shop. However, it didn’t this lady from pursuing a career she found joy in. In 2011, Steffy Misoles-Dacalus opened an atelier under her own label: Steffy de Mylo, coined after her name and his son’s.

Steffy de Mylo caters to corporate accounts designing office uniforms. For special clients, she would agree to bespoke orders occasionally.

Then came a different calling.

“My love affair with Mindanaoan fabric started when my name was shortlisted to take part in the Ms. Universe 2017 ancillary event -- Mindanao Tapestry, a fashion show highlighting the regional fabric. Two other fashion events followed, the “Kadayawan Weave: Haute Culture” in August 2017 staged in Canada, where I used the t’nalak fabric extensively in my collection, and immediately after, in October of the same year, I represented the country in the Singapore Fashion Week, where I used the malong as my base fabric,” Steffy shared.

Shoes. Perhaps it was fated. Her business registration from 2011 included “retailer of shoes” as one of the entries, because she knew she would eventually get into that line sooner or later - and the time came.

“Business has been good and my initial plan was to go into Pret-a-Porter seems a bit far-fetched. Besides, a lot of designers are into it now. I wanted to take the road less travelled, not RTW or bags, which many are into, and said to myself, ‘Why not shoes?’”.

She scouted for manufacturers in Manila and singled out one who can customize her designs with distinctive Mindanao flavors. She sent malong fabrics for sampling.

Last February, the first peek of the Steffy de Mylo footwear popped out on Facebook. It highlighted Mindanao textiles on easy-to-wear and stylish pieces. It got people interested.

“Comfort and wearability without sacrificing style are my top priorities, and these are quite evident on the initial release of my shoes.”

Steffy is currently working on the summer collection. She’s not looking too far ahead yet as she finds that burdensome. She wants to enjoy this journey slowly and surely.

“I’m very ecstatic with the positive reviews I received on the release of the first shoe collection. There are even inquiries about exporting this early,” she shared with excitement.

For now, she wants to sell locally and hopefully penetrate the Manila market, where Mindanao-inspired fashion is becoming mainstream.

“I want to make our people love our own,” said the designer.

For orders, contact the designer via her Facebook account: Steffy de Mylo.

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