Creative Director Paloma Urquijo Explains The Evolution Of The PIOPIO Brand
PIOPIO’s birth was a happy accident. Paloma had lived outside the Philippines for most of her life and had only been in Manila for about a year before making the move to Palawan, to help her mum develop Kalye Artisano in Ayala’s Lio development. She and her team were travelling around for research when she came across Inabel, the native weave of Ilocos. Paloma realised that the Philippines had something that was very much in demand in other countries, and wondered why these weren’t getting the same recognition here. And so they journeyed to other local communities to source more Filipino fabrics for her fashion label.
This venture has been able to showcase local talent while empowering the people behind them. Since PIOPIO started, more and more weavers have come into the fold. That in itself is a success since local weaving methods are only taught to the next generation—no printed pattern or blueprints are available for anyone to use as a guide. This is also why the brand doesn’t keep their weavers exclusive to them, so as to not hinder a significant part of the culture to be further shared.
Showcasing Philippine culture is the soul of PIOPIO, and it is something that becomes more evident as it has grown out of a solely retail model, into a holistic lifestyle brand with a concept store, F&B outlets, and soon, a co-living space. Bahay Artisano will allow more people to spend time and better interact with Kalye Artisano’s local community. This makes the immersive experience come full-circle for visitors, and will let them see the Philippine culture through the artisans’ eyes.
PIOPIO’s distinct personality is a reflection of Paloma"s, as well as her team’s. As she says so herself, “We take our culture seriously, but we never take ourselves too seriously.” In her spare time, Paloma loves travelling both locally and abroad, and being inspired by each location’s unique character. While her influences often change, music is a constant, regardless of its genre. When asked where she sees herself 10 years from now, she shares that she would definitely still be in the Philippines. And she hopes that by that time, the PIOPIO experience would be present in two more locations and that the local weaves will have become a global phenomenon.
Grab a copy of our July issue, featuring five of our 2019 Generation T Honourees: Paloma Urquijo, Nico Bolzico, Cat Arambulo-Antonio, Paco Caparas, Marion Branellec de Guzman!