I am proud to introduce The Hilado Collection.
I hoping that you've already seen what I put out and you clicked on the link to get to this post. Well get ready and take a seat, because you're about to read a novel on this whole design process.
First off, I hope y'all are loving the new redesigned website--I feel like a whole new person. I decided to stop going by "Along The Lines of Ysabel" because to be honest, I was just done with it. I have been feeling done with that name for a very long time, but I didn't want to let it go because of its' sentimental value. I used ATL for everything since middle school and I grew as a designer with it, but it was time to move on.
Feel free to go through all the tabs and just lurk through the website. I like the desktop version better than the mobile so if you get the chance, hop on a computer for a cool minute.
I'll have my online shop open within the next week or so to sell some pieces from my collections! Also...I'll be selling Minnie Ears designs very soon, but I'm currently taking custom orders for them, so visit my "Contact" tab to see how to place an order.
Now onto the collection:
The Hilado Collection consists of 12 pieces that were inspired by my 3 week trip to the Philippines in Dec. 2016 - January 2017. This was my second time in the Philippines; the first time was 7 years ago in 2010 when I was 12. It was an incredible trip--we celebrated my Lolo (grandpa) and Lola's (grandma) 50th wedding anniversary as well as my Lola's & Mom's birthdays all on Christmas day! I don't get to see my family often because we all live in different parts of the US, so this was a huge family reunion.
Since my first collection's purpose was to show my design aesthetic, I wanted this second collection to be a bit different and out of my comfort zone.
I'll admit--this collection was very difficult to make, mentally. I put it off for a very long time because I just wasn't feeling it at all. I was so out of touch with designing for a while. It was definitely a shitty mental block that I've never felt before and I couldn't figure out why it was taking me so long to get back into things. I was lazy. Unmotivated for unknown reasons. To put it in a sense: I knew things had to be done but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Did I want to still be a designer? Of course, no doubt about it. But as I started pin pointing it, I realized that there were just many different ideas and concepts that I wanted to put across for this collection, but it just wasn't flowing the way I wanted it to be.
Month after month began to pass and I was constantly redesigning and getting all my shit together in between school and work. Before I knew it, March came along and all I had were dozens of unfinished sketches, patterns everywhere, and a stack of fabric to be cut out. So much for a F/W 2017 collection, right? There were many, many long days that I spent doing nothing for no reason...but here I am now. I guess the lesson here is to not force anything creatively, because that was a major problem with this one. Everyone needs a break once in a while, and I got mine. A long one. I finished so many Netflix series in the past 4 months that it's quite depressing.
After realizing that I very much needed to make something happen or I'll never get out of whatever mental state I was in, I ended up sewing this whole collection in about 2 1/2 weeks. Two weeks straight I kept myself in my room, ate about one meal a day, and just sewed my life away. I figured that I just had to get it over with, go with the flow, and stop overthinking.
The early stages of this collection started off with me on the airplane to the Philippines writing down different ideas of what I wanted to incorporate into these looks. I wanted a good amount of cultural influence into it but also enough of my own design aesthetic. An easy way to do this was through fabric sourcing. I vacationed in my dad's hometown of Iloilo City, Philippines, where their popular textile is a native weaved fabric called "Hablon".
A large group of my family (because Filipinos love to travel in packs) and I ventured out on a 2 hour car trip to Miagao, Iloilo City where a majority of Hablon is made. We got to visit one of the places it gets manufactured in, so it was definitely incredible to see it being made right in front of us. However, it was also about a million degrees and I was sweating uncontrollably. It perplexes me to think of how the weavers are able to work in such hot, tight conditions when I can't even sit on a leather seat during a summer day.
I decided that whatever fabric I find would the colorway I'd be working around for the collection. If the only fabric available was neon green and highlighter yellow, I probably would have still purchased it and found a way to make it work. Thankfully, I rummaged through the shop's cabinets and found a few gorgeous meters of lavender, navy blue, and white--all with the same shiny, silver thread weaved through it. The downside of the Hablon was the amount that was available for use; If I had put in an order a couple months ahead of time, I may have been able to get more and to my customization. I ended up buying about 8,000 pesos worth of Hablon which converts to about $160 in US currency. Not bad at all!
Now onto some explanations of my pieces:
The first piece of clothing I thought of when it comes to FIlipino culture is the "barong" that is worn on special events. If you're Filipino, obviously the resemblance in this piece is quite clear. Traditionally, barongs are made out of pineapple leaf fibers; however, I didn't have the time to travel to another city that made the specific fabric. I settled on buying organza here in LA which equally gave off the same effect. I also found this lovely laser cut faux leather that would be perfect for the piece.
These next two pieces were influenced by the traditional "Maria Clara" dress. This was ultimately inspired by the look of the wrap that is worn with these dresses and so I made a coat and a jumpsuit that signified exactly that. The coat took me a while to figure out, but I'm happy with the end result.
One afternoon, I was telling my Lola (Grandma) about my search for Hablon. She then brought out her stash of "patadyong" wrap skirts that were made out of Hablon. Not only can it be worn as skirts, but also to carry babies. I did my own twist of the patadyong skirt with an elastic waistband.
Although not all my pieces don't have a set story to it, I tried to incorporate some traditional elements like a mandarin and slit necklines as well as wide trumpet and bell sleeves. Like I said earlier, fabric choice was a huge part of this collection, so just using the Hablon and organza really helped me tie it together.
MUCH LOVE TO...
...all my gorgeous models for being a part of this process: Alaina Newman, Judimae Angcaco, Malia Azucenas, Marin Chattong, Meriah Vill. Y'all did incredible and I can't thank you guys enough for your time and patience during the shoot. I'm looking forward to working with you ladies again in the future.
...Jaytee Asis for another wonderful shoot as always, dealing with my complaining about this collection from day 1, and also coming along during the fabric runs even though you don't care which shade of white I choose since they all look the same to you.
...Grace An my home girl for life, for dealing with the behind the scenes process from ironing to styling. You did so much for me that day and I'm tired just thinking of it.
...and of course, my parents and my Tita Claire for not coming into my room and looking at what I was working on. Even when you did for a second, I kicked you out anyway. They didn't see this collection until I showed them on the day of the shoot. Oh, and of course, taking me to the Philippines or this whole collection wouldn't be possible.
To everyone who made it down to the end of this post, you mean so much to me and you're just as incredible as everyone I mentioned. Thank you all so much for the support and love y'all have shown me over the years.
Now, It's time to start cooking up my next collection.