Here’s How This Collaboration Promotes Philippine Culture and Heritage Through Fashion

There simply is no place like Manila. It isn’t perfect by any means, but for every Filipino, this is home, which is why one just can’t help but keep coming back to the sights, sounds, and spirit of the nation’s capital. With everything that it was, is, and has yet to be, the city has long been a source of inspiration for many, especially for creativity. From fine arts to the accessibility of imagination through the function of embodying heritage proudly through fashion, as well as the overwhelming sensory overload of entertainment in cinema and television, the soul of Manila endures in all these extensions of expression.

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Photo: Manila government

“There’s so much history, heritage, and culture that you could actually show and remind people how important Manila is,” begins Plains & Prints Founder Roxanne Farillas on the milestone of a collaboration for the brand. “With this campaign that we’re doing, it will actually create interest again for them to explore Manila and to understand the beauty, the culture, and the heritage. Manila being our capital, I think it’s just right that people, especially the younger generation, would understand and see Manila in a different perspective.” 

Together with Manila local government agencies and Mark Nicdao, this undertaking is a clear realization of the brand’s commitment to Philippine culture and heritage. “More than just making a collection, we want to make a difference.” From the workmanship to its sensibilities, she asserts that Plains & Prints is decidedly and distinctly Filipino.


Photo: Manila government

The genesis of this collection, one that was released just in time for tourism month, began with a conversation between Roxanne Farillas and a foreign couple she met from Portugal who stayed in the Philippines for two weeks. “So, I was chatting with them and I was asking, ‘Oh, how was your trip? Where did you go?’ And they said, ‘We went to the beaches: El Nido, Boracay, Cebu.’ They didn’t mention Manila, because the minute they landed, they flew to the islands already. It made me think that people just really come here, just land in Manila, and take their transfers and go somewhere else,” she shares. “So, it’s not really top of mind. Now, we’re hoping that through this collaboration, this campaign, our balikbayans and other cultures can explore Manila and stay in the city longer.”

With all this in mind, the great work began, which meant bringing in the creative mind of photographer and constant collaborator, Mark Nicdao, to lens the city so close to our hearts.

“This collaboration is a big difference, because it was shot where we live. A big part of what makes the Philippines great, is Manila. It’s exciting, it has so much history,” says Mark Nicdao. “I think it’s great that Plains & Prints had this idea, because it also stretches our awareness, things that we don’t see when we’re around Manila. You can see it, you can wear it. It’s beautiful, it’s elegant.”


Photo: Manila government

During his journey in Manila, Mark Nicdao explored Paco Park, Rizal Park, Metropolitan Theater, Clock Tower, Intramuros, and the National Museum where he captured the city’s gentler and glowing side. Even with a wash of rain, they continued to pursue the beauty of Manila, which proved even more breathtaking when they were blessed with a beautiful sunset at the tail end. “I think that’s the story behind it,” begins the acclaimed artist and photographer. “My favorite experience shooting the whole thing is really walking around. Exploring those places up close, trying to find something distinct to that location was really exciting. Walking around Manila and really seeing the sites and imagining them on the clothes was pretty amazing and unforgettable.”

“With this collection, we’re highlighting the beauty of Manila and trying to change people’s perspective, especially the younger generation,” adds Roxanne Farillas. “So, with this collaboration that we’re doing, it will actually create interest again for them to explore Manila and to understand the beauty of Manila, the culture, and the heritage. Manila being our capital, I think it’s just right that people, especially the younger generation, would understand and see Manila in a different light.”


Photo: Manila government

Coming together with the National Parks & Development Committee (NPDC), National Commission For Culture And Arts (NCCA), Department of Tourism, Culture And Arts Of Manila (DTCAM), Intramuros Administration (IA), and National Museum, Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan is set to sign this as the first fashion brand collaboration of the city, making this effort even more momentous. “The iconic sites depict the very rich history and culture of the city of Manila. So, it’s just right to promote it,” says Hon. Honey Lacuna, Mayor of Manila of the shared goal with Plains & Prints. And hopefully, she continues, more of the city gets rediscovered through this partnership with the Filipino fashion brand. 

In fact, the heart of this collaboration resides in a philanthropic partnership that magnifies the essence of social responsibility. At its core, this is a collaborative collection that splendidly captures the allure of the city, showcasing its inherent beauty and cultural richness. Through a remarkable alliance with various Manila agencies, the brand underscores its commitment by contributing to the preservation of these historical sites.

 “We saw this as an opportunity to promote our rich heritage parks and sites in Manila to reach a wider audience,” shares Jezreel Gaius A. Apelar, Deputy Executive Director of Paco and Rizal Park. A first for this agency, this partnership meant branching out the advocacy with a fashion brand like Plains & Prints to integrate and inspire across generations, especially the youth. “Consumers nowadays are so conscious about what they buy and want to know the stories behind a product. Having meaningful fashion has the ability to look into our identity and soul of our people, through heritage and culture is so powerful.” 

Echoing this sentiment of showcase is the Metropolitan Theater (MET), as expressed by Christian John Serrano, MET Visitor Services Officer. “Aside from indulging in the beauty of theater by looking at it or by visiting it, the MET patrons, and the people in general, could now enjoy with pride by wearing the MET through the collection,” they say. “By doing so, we hope that they will take pride in the creativity and artistry that mark our being Filipino.”

As if it cannot get any more special, Plains & Prints enlisted another person close to their hearts to bring this story of Manila through fashion to life: Anne Curtis. 

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Photo: Manila government

“What sets it apart? I think because it’s so close to home. I mean, with collections before were with the masters of photography, which were portraits from all over the world, but this is specifically focused on Manila. So, I think that’s super special to me,” the award-winning actress says. No stranger to this side of the city, who has not only visited, but shot films in, Anne Curtis has nothing but pure joy and immense pride to be wearing the PLAINS & PRINTS | MARK NICDAO| MANILA collection. “Of course you’re proud to be wearing such iconic landmarks that are in Manila. So, I think these are staple pieces that you should have in your archive,” she ascertains, adding that her absolute favorites from the selection were Quintin and Adriatico for its unique “Maria Clara and barong vibe.”

Through this collection, which is at its heart a love letter to Manila, Plains & Prints wants nothing more than to showcase the unparalleled beauty of the city. “There’s so many things to see. We’ve always championed the talent of Filipinos, but right now with this, we want to make people realize how rich in culture and beautiful [the country is]”, muses Roxanne Farillas. “With this, they can see in the pictures, they can see in the clothes that Manila is still as beautiful as it was before.”

And just as Manila promises to never let go, it becomes mighty clear that at one point or another, we’re coming home to stay, always.