Local jewelry brand Amami presents its “Basilio” collection with pieces designed to be worn by everyone.
First a passionate project in 2017, Amami became a full-fledged social enterprise when founders Danielle Tan and Christine Tiu “met a craftsman who turned out to be one of the last goldsmiths in his town, and even country “. At the center of his craft is the local filigree tambourine work on jewelry, a craft that dates back to pre-colonization times, in the form of amulets and talismans. These are then used by the Spaniards to create rosaries, which ultimately influenced the brand’s name, Amami, short for “Ama Namin”.
“We decided to create Amami as a platform that would really create livelihood opportunities for local artisans, allow them to hone their skills and talents, and at the same time ensure that this special craft, so important for heritage culture of our country, endures. for future generations of Filipinos, ”the two women say.
Creating something beyond the art of dress has been at the heart of the local jewelry brand’s mission, as it revives endangered jewelry traditions. But this time, he takes his mission to a whole new level with his first inclusive line of the genre “Basilio”.
In a conversation with Manila Lifestyle Bulletin, the women behind Amami talk more about the six-piece line, its historical references to the importance of genderless fashion, how the pandemic has affected its operations, and why keep the craft jewelry job. secular dying is a huge deal for us Filipinos.
How was the business at the start of the pandemic?
This has certainly been a challenge, especially since our products are considered non-essential. We thought, “We sell jewelry, who would buy jewelry in the midst of a pandemic? We honestly thought that we wouldn’t move on in 2020 and 2021, that we wouldn’t have a single sale. As a social enterprise, we have a commitment to our artisans. Ultimately, we will do everything to continue providing them with a livelihood. Even when it’s difficult, we need to keep pivoting, being resourceful, staying creative, innovating on designs, and finding better ways to reach our customers. One big factor that we’re still here for is truly our community of advocates. We really wouldn’t be here today without our amazing community of Filipinos around the world who believe in our work and continue to support us from near and far.
Let’s talk about your latest collection. Why did you call him ‘Basilio’?
The name of the collection “Basilio” is based on a popular fictional character introduced by Jose Rizal in his novels “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo”. We wanted a name that Filipinos could instantly recognize and whose history / experiences relating to him and his family could also be associated with many Filipinos.
The collection is inspired by the natural and supernatural world. Can you tell us more?
We were inspired by a combination of the natural and the supernatural worlds for our “Basilio” collection. For example, our Narra Wood ring is inspired by Narra, the national tree of the Philippines. The Narra is known for its strength and durability, a symbol of the indomitable spirit and strength of character of the Filipino people. The Patak Granulated Ring was inspired by pensive afternoons spent watching raindrops roll over tree bark, a reminder of nature’s vital rhythm. Our necklaces, on the other hand, are rooted in how deeply Catholicism is embedded in Filipino culture and society. We created a gold flower cross which we call the Krisanto and Benedicto Necklace which was inspired by the Medallion of Saint Benedict, a popular devotion for special protection from curses and evil. In addition to Catholic motifs, we also took inspiration from the moon and goddesses through our Buwan bead bracelets. It was about taking all of these elements and harnessing their beauty in the form of jewelry.
Why did you decide to release a unisex collection now?
We envisioned creating a genderless collection to make our Philippine heritage jewelry more accessible and inclusive for a wider audience. We also wanted to constantly reinvent our heritage jewelry through design innovation.
The “Basilio” collection is the result of a 10-month collaboration between Amami and future designer Adam Pereyra, member and advocate of the LGBTQ + community, which makes it even more special. We share the same vision for the future of Filipino fashion and have decided to just let the creative energy flow between us. We are very proud to share with everyone what we have been working hard together over the past few months.
What are the parts made of and who are the artisans with whom you worked to make them?
The pieces of the “Basilio” collection are made of pure silver plated with 24 karat gold. (They are also hypoallergenic!) We work with fifth and sixth generation silversmiths and silversmiths (or plateros) from all over the Philippines who specialize in making gold filigree tambourine jewelry which is basically a crafting technique of very meticulous jewelry where a platero twists and molds a fine metal wire to form intricate patterns.
What is your goal in releasing this collection?
We realized that over the years, the jewelry designs we created were aimed primarily at women. Tambourine jewelry is also worn more often by women in the past. By launching our first non-sexist collection, we hope that the Philippine heritage jewelry will be worn and appreciated by everyone. We believe our Filipino heritage is meant to be celebrated by all and hopefully this collection will make it possible for more people to do so.
See more of the collection on amamiph.com.
Photo credits :
Artistic direction @makieph
As part of @aldrinperio
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