EMPOWERING FEMALE ARTISANS IN THE PHILIPPINES
At the heart of Soli & Sun are community and craftsmanship. Each piece is handcrafted by me and my fellow creative female artisans in the Philippines.
The Philippines holds a very special place in my heart after calling it home and immersing myself in the country and community for the last three years. There are so many beautiful elements to this tropical place from the people to the beaches and it’s a home from home that will forever inspire me.
The craftsmanship that originates in this country really is impeccable and such an integral part of the communities - from fashion and furniture, the traditional crafting techniques of the Philippines are truly something special.
In 2017, when I was living in Manila in the Philippines, I connected with a group of wonderful women living in an underprivileged community in Tacloban through the social enterprise GKonomics. The idea was for me to teach these ladies my jewelry making techniques which would then mean they could use their craft-making skills to earn a living - and that’s really where our incredible partnership began.
These talented ladies now work with me from their homes in the Philippines to hand-craft components for your beautiful Soli & Sun accessories and jewelry. This partnership gives Melissa, Jean, Lynde, Helen, Mary Joy, Rogen Mae and Mary Ann the opportunity to work independently and earn a sustainable, supplemental income without having to leave their families which is so often the case for many women in these communities.
Alongside the Tacloban ladies who craft the straps for the Alice and Sophie Clutch bags and the knotted jewellery, I also work with artisans who create the fabric and weaving for some of the Soli & Sun bags.
Harnessing the native crafting skills of the T’boli people of Lake Sebu, it’s an honour to include their handwoven T’nalak fabric in my collection, alongside the Inabel fabric that is hand-woven on large antique wooden looms using the ‘Abel’ process by the women of Ilocos.
Each of these textiles has a special role in the cultures of the Filipino regions they originate from, with the techniques lovingly passed down from generation to generation.
For the signature rattan sunburst pattern you see on a number of my bags, this striking weave is known as Solihiya - a technique traditionally used in furniture to let the air move freely through and provide comfort in the tropical heat. It’s also where the inspiration for the Soli & Sun name comes from, creating a further connection to the wonderful people and places of the Philippines.
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