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LOOK: This Local Brand is Weaving a Modern Flair to Traditional Filipinianas

We have always been on the lookout for modern Filipinianas in the market. Today’s local brands are stepping up in terms of design, material, and prices, and we’re so happy that we stumbled upon Via MNL at Katutubo Pop-up.

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Via MNL Founder and Designer Viatrice Sto. Tomas

Viatrice Sto. Tomas, a 26-year-old fashion designer, has found her calling in weaving tradition into the modern world. Her brand, Via Mnl, is a testament to her passion for Philippine textiles and design.

“Fashion designing was my passion from the very beginning,” says Viatrice. She honed her skills at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde’s Fashion Design & Merchandising program before venturing into retail fashion. But it was the pandemic that truly sparked her entrepreneurial spirit.

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Sorbetes top in Pink by @via_mnl

“Via Mnl is a pandemic baby,” she explains. “I resigned from my job because of the pandemic and started with Via Mnl face masks.”

Driven by a desire to showcase the Philippines’ beauty and local weavers’ talent, Viatrice uses her platform to elevate Filipiniana.

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Sorbetes top in Pink by @via_mnl

“For clothes & some bags I make myself,” she shares. “For the straps and other bags, I have a supplier in Marikina.” Viatrice directly sources her Inabel fabrics, known for their intricate weaving patterns, from Ilocos Sur. This commitment to quality and local craftsmanship is evident in Via Mnl’s unique pieces.

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Inabel Phone Strap

Building a business during a pandemic wasn’t easy. Viatrice acknowledges the challenges of sourcing materials remotely.”There were times where the fabrics I ordered wasn’t that matching with my other fabrics,” she recalls.

However, the pandemic also presented Viatrice with an opportunity. “When the pandemic started, I realized how precious time is and that I have to make most of my time doing what I love,” she says. This realization became the turning point that pushed her to pursue her dream of having her brand.

 

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Inspiration strikes Viatrice in unexpected places. “I get inspiration in very random things I see in my everyday life,” she reveals. Her “Iskrambol” top, for instance, draws inspiration from the vibrant mix of colors found in the popular Filipino shaved ice dessert. This playfulness and innovation are what set Via Mnl’s designs apart.

For aspiring entrepreneurs, Viatrice’s advice is simple: “Do what makes you happy.” Her journey is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance.

Looking ahead, Viatrice has big dreams for Via Mnl. “Hopefully, I can still make a lot of unique pieces in the future,” she says. And perhaps, one day, she’ll fulfill her vision of opening her boutique in the Philippines.

Via Mnl’s pieces are available for purchase on their Instagram page (@via_mnl) and at select Frankie General Store branches in Rockwell, SM Aura, and Podium.