It was during the holidays. As usual, I was in a rush to finish all my errands which included shopping. At one of my favorite homegrown fashion brand stores I overheard a mother asking his son if the bag she had put on her shoulder was looking ‘very Filipino’. His son hesitated but responded that the bag wasn’t looking ‘very Filipino’, not at all he emphasized. To my surprise, the mother returned with a nod and exclaimed ‘that’s good!’. I was uncertain with what they meant with ‘looking very Filipino’ but I felt rather slighted with their conversation.
For some time, I remain disturbed with what I witnessed. I became so eager to define ‘looking very Filipino’. As a result, I started to pick my favorite pieces from some of my most admired Filipino fashion brands. I had put them on and took a stroll in the neighborhood. I kept walking until I started to feel inexplicably proud! It was an uplifting experience to wear Filipino brands, showing them off to the world! Then I realized ‘looking very Filipino’ actually means looking world-class, nothing less.
There is really no harm in admiring or even patronizing imported products. After all in a free market world, there is no stopping anyone from choosing their preferred products. Even I have my own share of favorite international brands. However, there is shame in belittling your country’s own products. To an extent, it is a manner of devaluing your own identity. So I am calling my fellow Filipinos to start putting ‘local’ to the forefront and wear your pride.