IN DESIGNING her new product line, Carmaela B. Alcantara of Crystal Seas is highlighting the 11 tribes of Davao City.
Being the center of the Kadayawan Festival every August, Maea thought of giving honor to them throughout the year. Thus, the Ata, Iranun, Kagan, Klata-Guiangan, Maguindanawon, Maranao, Matigsalog, Ovu Manuvo, Sama, Tagabawa and Tausug are part of the fashion accessories she has added to her long list of designs.
“I have 2 goals in creating this new brand of accessories: to make these 11 tribes part of the creation process of accessories that are to be sold in Go Lokal, and to design products that remind us of the 11 tribes in Davao and make them available all year round, not just during Kadayawan,” she said.
She further narrated that it is her hope to incorporate designs in this product line to everyday lifestyle by making them accessible to the market through the Go Lokal Store inside Abreeza Mall.
Aside from being unique, the other selling point of the products is affordability.
“An affordable price point is also a major consideration in creating this line, so that more people can have a piece of Davao culture with them,” she pointed out.
In naming the brand “Onse,” Maea explained that this simply highlights the 11 tribes.
“It literally means ‘eleven’ in the local dialect. I also learned that ‘onse’ in Afrikaans means ‘our’, and I think this is very appropriate for the goal of the brand - to make this brand ours, collectively as Davaoeños,” she said.
In the creation process, Maea shared that it is important for her to work with the tribes or communities in the city. Thus, Onse accessories are inspired by and co-created with the 11 tribes.
“A design represents a tribe if they take part in the creation process, and a design symbolizes a tribe when distinctives in their traditional aesthetics, such as patterns, colors and materials, are highlighted in the design,” she said.
Maea revealed that the major components of the brand are hand-made by the tribes using their traditional techniques and skills. Maea, on the other hand, updates the design elements, such as color and texture, as well as functionality to match the current lifestyle trends.
“Onse aims to bridge traditional designs with our modern lifestyle,” she said.
For their first batch of products, there are bangles handwoven using forest fern and pompom earrings by the Matigsalog, beaded necklaces and earrings by the Maranao, and brass bangles by the Maguindanaon. There are also tassel earrings beaded by a community of persons with disability, Sakadab, and baby durian earrings, a prominent symbol of Davao.
More can be expected from Onse as Maea is committed to feature all of the 11 tribes in her upcoming designs. Fashionistas can look forward to them this summer.
“What inspires me most is the uniqueness of each tribe, and in the midst of this, the unity among them as well as us, migrants, that make our beloved Davao, a vibrant city,” she concluded.
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