Fascinating Women 2022: Charina Sarte, Fashion Designer
Known globally but loved even more locally, Charina Sarte brings a piece of the Philippines with her
Charina Sarte might be a name you’ve come across with in your lifetime. As you scroll through your favorite celebrity, ‘It’ girl, or content creator’s outfit post, you’ll see how she’s a staple in every stylish woman’s closet here in Manila. Known for her eternal summer dresses and easy separates, Charina’s look is simple yet recognizable. It’s truly feminine and romantic, embracing the spirit of our tropical country while having a global sleekness to them. Well-loved here in the Philippines, the now Paris-based Charina expands her stockists repertoire all over the world but is proud to say she has kept her production truly local.
Charina has been known in the circle of Manila who’s who. From the launch of her namesake label to the inception of her Greenbelt store in the early 2010s, she has slowly tapped and dressed Manila’s elite. Going through her Instagram page alone would let you go into a sartorial black hole of some of the best dressed ladies locally. Her ever-growing list includes Metro Most Stylish ladies Marie Lozano and Camille Co and Metro cover favourites Sofia Andres and Sarah Lahbati. A Charina Sarte dress lends the bearer a spirit of ease and romance. If a dress could feel like sunlight, that must be Charina’s. The beauty of her pieces, though, is that even if there’s a specific look to them, the woman in them feels so distinct and still true to her personality. Rarely can pieces remain faithful to the brand while breathed in different lives person to person.
What makes a Charina Sarte piece so fascinating is that aside from slowly being recognized globally, its grassroots and journey are 100% Filipino. Since moving to Paris in 2018 to raise a family, she still kept her production locally. Her team of passionate artisans and seamstresses in Manila are all-women. “Proudly made for women, designed by a woman and made by women,” as her brand ethos puts it.
A true eye for style and talent like Charina’s has reached more shores than she probably ever imagined. Quite recently, Charina Sarte was made available at Le Bon Marché, one of the premier shopping destinations in Paris. Adding to her growing list of stockists are Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales. To be available in not just one but in all of these stores gains access to a Charina look but also opens more doors for young Filipino designers. It’s recognition—one that Charina has under her belt already while being able to put a spotlight on Filipino talent in general.
Charina Sarte is also available in select stockists in Dubai, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and more.
To banner her designs while highlighting being all-woman: from the design process to the outfit wearer, Charina Sarte has truly made a beautiful journey with her clothes. To bring with her a part of Philippine sunshine every where she goes and every look she makes, she truly is a fascinating woman in fashion today.
Read our exclusive full interview with Charina Sarte below!
Metro.Style: It’s been an experience generally with the pandemic and everything going on, what have you been up to lately and what keeps you busy?
Charina Sarte: Right now I am busy finishing my Resort collection. Fashion Week is back in full swing in Paris and we are showing in June. We are also settling in our new apartment. And we are about to start shooting season 3 of my husband’s reality show, “The Parisian Agency” on Netflix.
M.S: What would you say was your biggest accomplishment the past year?
CS: Truly so thankful that we have managed to get into the two most prestigious department stores in the U.S., SAKS and Bloomingdales, along with 30 other stores from all over.
M.S: Tell us about your design business today. We’ve been following your journey as a designer and we are glad to see you expand. What is the essence of your brand today?
CS: Charina Sarte is a proudly Filipino Resortwear brand ethically produced and sustainable. We believe in producing clothes not only good for people but good for the planet.
M.S: How does it feel to have expanded the way you have today?
CS: It still feels like a dream. Never in a million years would I ever imagine I would have this much luck with my brand.
M.S: Where can we find Charina Sarte the label today?
CS: We have a small showroom in Manila called L’appartment Charina. The address is on our official IG account.
We are available in Le Bon Marche in Paris, in SAKS and Bloomingdales in the U.S., at Shopbop and Intermix online. And in 30 or more other stores listed on our stockists page on our website.
CS: One of my biggest struggle I have to say is trying to keep a balance between work and family life. As a woman much is expected from us. We have to maintain our household, mother our kids while we run our businesses and manage to have time for ourselves as well.
M.S: How were you able to overcome it?
CS: I’m not sure I’ve overcome it instead I hope to say I am managing it. It is just part of being a woman and running a business.
M.S: What is your biggest advice to any woman in your field?
CS: My biggest advice for women is to know what you value most. So this has always served as a compass when making decisions. Which may not be easy at times. My family has always been a priority to me. How I spend my time and who I spend it with is so essential to me especially in our busy lives where we are trying to juggle so many things.
M.S: What are your future plans for your brand and for yourself?
CS: I hope to expand in United Kingdom and Europe more. Keep building our online business. And hopefully manage to have another kid while doing all of this.
M.S: Personally, how do you feel women can truly support other women today?
CS: Women can support each other by celebrating each other’s successes instead of treating everyone like competition. Congratulate, ask questions, show up and be there for your fellow women. Empowered women, empower women.
See more of Charina Sarte pieces on charinasarte.com
Art by Raff Colmenar