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Marahuyo: Enchanting pieces of practical luxury

Basking on the success of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Go Lokal! program, which helps the local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) go mainstream and be regular suppliers of retail establishments, the department recently inaugurated a high-end concept store called Marahuyo.

“In Marahuyo, we have assembled an impressive lineup of Philippine designer brands that represent world elegance borne out of the Filipinos’ deeply rooted passion to create,” stated Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez in his foreword to a book, also called Marahuyo, which he also echoed at the store’s launch at the Duty Free Philippines Luxe Mall in the Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City. “This initiative will serve as the impetus that will help our MSMEs expand, and create, more jobs and employment opportunities for our countrymen.”

The Marahuyo by Go Lokal! retail store is a partnership between DTI and Duty Free Philippines Corp (DFPC).

At the inauguration of Marahuyo by Go Lokal! are Jourdan Go of Quiddity, designer Earl Gariendo, designer Helena Alegre, Marahuyo Creative Director Budji Layug, Trade Assistant Secretary Rosvi Gaetos, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Senate Committee on Tourism Chairman Sen. Nancy Binay, Duty Free Philippines Corp. COO Vincent Angala, designer Arnel Papa, designer Joyce Makitalo, Marahuyo cocreative lead Stanley Ruiz, and designer Hannah Oamil representing Mele+Marie.

“Today marks the culmination of an idea that began years ago. An idea of a world-class duty-free store that will put the Philippines as a top-of-mind shopping destination to boost the country’s shopping tourism,” declared DFPC Chief Operating Officer Pelagio Angala. “We acknowledge our vital role, and to stay ahead of our competitors and to strengthen the Philippines as a great destination for travelers, we continue to explore ways to offer unique and extraordinary experiences that cannot be replicated easily.”

Marahuyo, in Tagalog, translates to “a state of enchantment and attraction.” Thus, the designers chosen to be part of the Marahuyo stable are creators of pieces that are spellbinding, enthralling and captivating. They are Aranaz (handbags), Earl Carlo Gariando Enterprises (clutch bags made of bass), Quiddity (handcrafted leather bags), Helena Alegre Jewelry (scriptural and fabricated jewelry), Joanique (fashion accessories), Maria Angelica Rare Finds (antique accessories), Arnel Papa (fashion jewelry), Mele+Marie (handbags), J Makitalo (fashion accessories) and Ann Ong (fashion jewelry).

“Go Lokal! really began by supporting medium-priced products which is where the majority of our MSMEs were positioned. There remained a number of SMEs that catered to the higher-end market, using locally available resources to create luxurious designs of high quality—what we now refer to as ‘practical luxury.’ These are the businesses the DTI now supports with Marahuyo,” explained Trade Assistant Secretary Rosvi Gaetos.

Acclaimed designer Budji Layug was tapped by the DTI to be the creative director of Marahuyo. “The luxury brands we have here mirror Filipino artistry and skill, and celebrate our country’s abundant materials,” he shared in the book. “This program will start with lifestyle-based products like jewelry, bags and other fashion items, but you can expect the inclusion of other product categories soon.

According to the DTI, Go Lokal! MSMEs retail through 114 stores nationwide with record sales of more than P100 million in 2018. With the launch of Marahuyo as a sub-brand, it is hoped that the high-end market will spur greater sales even more with the introduction of products that may be pricier but with a higher level of craftsmanship.

“Each of the Philippine designer brands you will find at Marahuyo are socially responsible enterprises that work with local communities to create [products] using traditional and indigenous materials,” Gaetos added. “In fact, every purchase from this boutique contributes to the livelihood of our Filipino craft communities.”

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