© 2012-2018 HighCamp Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

My Life's A Trip

Luxury Without Snobbery*

Back to Posts

Fashion Week/Market Watch: Manila

Fashion Week is upon us. The time of year when Hipsters clog my Twitter feed with the uber cool shows they are going to see. I may be missing out on the joys of sitting in the front row of the Marc Jacobs show, but I take solace in the fact that I can freshen up my wardrobe with the plunder of my travels.

Almost every major city has a market worth checking out. The Chatuchuk Weekend Market in Bangkok sells everything from tattoos to live animals. Los Angeles’s famed Rose Bowl Flea Market has vendors of mid century modern furniture to vintage clothing. Manila is no exception.

It may fly under the radar as a shopping destination in Asia, especially compared to cities such as Hong Kong and Bangkok, but once you get clued in by the locals, it’s hard to ignore. Between Pop-up markets called Bazaars that sell everything from housewares to export overrun clothes for a fraction of their retail price and whole buildings of thrift/vintage goods stalls called “Ukay-ukay” , shopping in Manila takes on a whole new dimension. Toto, we’re not at the mall in Kansas anymore.

Case in point, the local Pearl Market, situated in its own area within an air conditioned mall,  where beautiful women in their traditionally modest Muslim garb hawk pearls both fresh and seawater as well as other semi precious stones at reasonable prices. You can also have pieces custom made into whatever designs you chose.

Girl with the Pearls
Pearls and Agate – a small part of my plunder from the Pearl Market.

While the local Pearl Market is an exceptional  (and comfortable) place to purchase reasonably priced gifts and jewelry, the hard core shoppers know to venture out to Divisoria – an all encompassing market that sells everything from fishing nets to wedding favors.  It’s a maze of stalls in alleys called Pasillas, and you need a guide otherwise it’s easy to get lost.  I was fortunate enough to get a tour of the market from Candy Reyes, a talented, Manila-based stylist who knows the market and vendors well.

Daddy-O with Divisoria Guru Candy Reyes. More on Daddy-O in another post.

Here are some of our favorite finds.


A modern take on a traditional dress or what I should have worn to prom.
Costumes made for Halloween and United Nations Day. Who knew?
This one came home with me. As did the Cleopatra snake bracelet.

Ok, so maybe I won’t be wearing my Balinese Goddess headdress out to brunch anytime soon, but designers get inspiration from their travels all the time so my little costume find could be making it’s way down a catwalk in the near future. When that day comes, you can say you saw it here first. And to all the Fashionistas, Hipsters and Models going into Fashion Week, I have one thing to say…

You better werk!!