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EXCLUSIVE: Luxury Filipino Brand ARANÁZ Collaborates With Plains & Prints For A Chic Handbag Collection

To strengthen the local fashion industry, Plains & Prints’ partnerships with top Filipino designers have created one-of-a-kind, wearable collections, making designer fashion accessible to more women. From Rajo Laurel in 2011 to Rhett Eala in 2012, the brand partnered with Vania Romoff in 2017; for 2018, the retail’s latest collaboration is with world-renowned artisan handbag label ARANÁZ. 

Photo: Plains & Prints

 

More than its laid-back, effortlessly elegant resort vibe, the ARANÁZ x Plains & Prints capsule collection is a 15-piece line that features not only chic, tropical-inspired dresses, jumpsuits, and skirts, but also intricately woven handbags—a first for Plains & Prints. “We’ve done so many partnerships before, but we’ve never done a full line collaboration with bags. When we were thinking of who to collaborate with, ARANÁZ came to our minds first!” shares Plains & Prints Vice-President Roxanne Farillas. “This collection is definitely something women can wear both to weekend trips at the beach and night outs with friends.”

 

Photo: Hershey Neri

Photo: Plains & Prints

 

More than being a special collection, Farillas believes that ARANÁZ x Plains & Prints is a celebration of Filipino artistry and tradition. “It’s a movement to showcase the work of creative visionaries and empower talented craftspeople in the Philippines.”

 

VP Roxanne Farillas, Photo: Hershey Neri

 

In an exclusive interview with Metro.StyleAmina Aranaz-Alunan, the creative director behind the artisan handbag line, shares what it was like working with one of the top fashion brands in the country. Keep scrolling for a glimpse of this effortlessly elegant summer collection!

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Plains & Prints ambassador Anne Curtis with Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Photo: Plains & Prints

 

Metro.Style: How did ARANÁZ the label begin?

Amina Aranaz-Alunan:  ARANÁZ is a family business. My mom was in manufacturing and export for mostly American designer brands—she’s been doing it for almost 30 years. When she started ARANÁZ, my brother, sister, and I would join her at bazaars every Christmas. Eventually, my mom opened up our house and sold her bags at our lanai. While the bags she created were popular internationally, I thought, sayang naman—because back then, Filipinos patronized foreign brands more. In a way, I felt a responsibility; I knew we needed to promote this locally. 

I was still a student then, so I wasn’t really involved with the brand. But while I was abroad studying in a fashion school, I knew that one day, I needed to focus on ARANÁZ. When I came back in the Philippines, I co-founded School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA), so my plans to focus on ARANÁZ got derailed for a bit. My mom, on the other hand, was still running and designing the brand. When my sister came back from studying, that’s when I said I can let go of SoFa for a bit and focus my time on ARANÁZ. It was four years ago when I started really taking control of the brand, with my mom focused on the production. Right now, my mom, sister, and I operate ARANÁZ.

 

MS: Tell us more about your brand’s Support Local philosophy.

AAA: Growing up, it was quite unlikely for people to wear local. Of course, women would wear local for formal gowns, but dressing everyday in local brands wasn’t popular back then. But that was what I wanted to do—I wanted people to know that wearing Filipino is stylish and fashionable. Supporting local continues to be our guiding principle: we want to promote livelihood, contribute to the economy, and build Filipino culture.

 

MS: What is your inspiration behind your brand, ARANÁZ?

AAA:  ARANÁZ is about celebrating a life of leisure. We create fashion in a “leisurely” way: we do not mass produce to lower prices. We respect the process. Our pieces also provide a sense of escape for women. They’re not just pieces to be worn to the beach—even a city girl can wear them to the office. She sees our bag on her desk, and is taken away from her airconditioned office, even just for a few seconds. We want these bags to bring that kind of feeling. 

 

MS:  How did you respond when ARANÁZ got invited by Plains & Prints for this collection?

AAA:  I was very interested to do this because other than being a known and respected brand, Plains & Prints is known for designer collaborations. 

One of the reasons why we started ARANÁZ as a brand was because we wanted to make our products accessible, not just to the international market, but also to the Philippine market. With Plains & Prints, we are able to reach out to a much wider Philippine market.

 

 

MS: How did you choose the prints for this collection?

AAA: When we were thinking of which prints to develop for Plains & Prints, we wanted something that would communicate our brand. We wanted an ARANÁZ element that people could recognize right away. Our signature prints are the pineapple, flamingo, and floral elements, because these signify the lifestyle we envision. 

When we created the prints for Plains & Prints, we came up with several colorways. Afterwards, they tweaked some colors to better suit their target market. 

 

MS: How was it like working with Plains & Prints for this limited edition line?

AAA: It was very easy, and surprisingly fast. We started talking in August 2017 and prototyping soon after. They came to our office to look at our existing patterns and shapes—and for me, that was a great way to do it because I wanted our pieces to have our trademark. Our signature designs would be the clutch and bucket bags.

Photo: Hershey Neri

 

Photo: Hershey Neri

 

MS: Other than it being ARANÁZ’ first time to venture into clothing, what else is new in this collection?

AAA: The envelope and hobo are new bag designs. There is also a different take on the bucket bag here. Usually, our bucket bags are always fully embroidered. But for the Plains & Prints collection, we worked with printed fabrics for the bodies of the bags. This is the first time we did that.

Photo: Hershey Neri

 

Photo: Hershey Neri

 

MS: What is your favorite bag from this line?

AAA: The hobo, because it is the most challenging piece for us to create. This was the last bag we designed, because I was hesitant about it first. Using fabric for bags is something I was not used to, so to create a big bag using fabric was very challenging. Surprisingly, it turned out to be interesting. 

Photo: Hershey Neri

 

Photo: Hershey Neri

 

The limited edition ARANÁZ x Plains & Prints collection will be available starting April 19, 2018. The apparel will be available in all Plains & Prints stores nationwide, while the handbags will be available exclusively in select branches only. 

 

Lead photo from Plains & Prints