Following the remnants from the weekend’s launch of “The Things You Call Home”, Paulina Ortega discussed the series further in an exclusive interview with Tropa. She takes us through the process of her work, how they came about, and its end goals.
“My secret hope is that the collection plays a small part in 'normalizing' the presence of mangoes and sampaguitas (and even buko) on things we wear, as much as say, cherries and peonies and guys playing polo on shirts.”
Thank you—as always—for joining us last weekend as we welcomed Paulina and her work back home.
Limited restocks from “The Things You Call Home” are now available for preorder on the webshop.
Read more below.
You have been based in Sydney for a good while now. How has life after Manila been treating you?
Life as a creative outside of Manila has been at once fascinating, exciting and challenging.
The creative community in Manila is so, so rich and nurturing, and I am very grateful to be a part of the community of creatives at home. But part of me was very curious to see what working outside of the Philippines would teach me as well.
In many ways, working as a creative overseas has taken me out of my comfort zone and has made me reflect more on what it means to be a Filipino today and how my experience as a Filipino can come through in the work I do.
How did this project come about?
Curiosity and a wish to see more Filipino prints and motifs in my online shopping selection. Haha!
Really though, in 2016 I took a fabric printing course at SVA in New York and threw myself into it. I was always at the studio till late in the evening, trying to make things. I was so taken by the process and ceremony involved in creating a textile piece. It was just something new for me, a break from working with paper, which I had been doing for years and years. And that's kind of where the seed was planted.
Couple that with a growing desire I had to see more Filipino prints in contempoary apparel/accessories and that's pretty much where things began for this collection. There are so many pervasive Western (and even East Asian) motifs in fashion, and I wanted to do my small part in building on what other Filipino designers have done and are doing; I wanted to explore what our point of view might yield in modern-day printed motifs.
What led you to choose to concretize your vision through silk painting?
I am a sentimental idiot, at the heart of things. Haha. There's something so special, I think, about being able to carry the things you love with you always—sort of a physical manifestation of memories that you can bring around with you. Maybe it's because I live outside of the Philippines now? Silk scarves really appealed to me because they doubled as canvases to display the paintings, but could also be taken off the wall and worked into a wardrobe. I had also never worked with silk before and new things excite me so!
What do you hope to achieve as you release "The Things You Call Home"? Moreover, how do you think this will impact the way consumers will perceive our heritage and culture?
I want people to take what they will from the collection. I don't want to tell people what to think of it. But I my secret hope is that the collection plays a small part in 'normalizing' the presence of mangoes and sampaguitas (and even buko) on things we wear, as much as say, cherries and peonies and guys playing polo on shirts.
Photos by: Renzo Navarro
Styling by: Carla Villanueva