Vesti: Modernity in Ethnicity
One of Punchdrunk Panda’s first encounter with Martha Rodriguez, founder of Vesti, was at Anteroom Sessions 2. Immediately, we fell in love with her indigenous hand-woven bags. If we could just purchase everything on the spot… but of course, we had to leave some for the attendees. ;)
Anyway, we’re glad to have Vesti back at our muni pop-up shop. We also wanted to especially feature Martha in our blog so that you can get to know her/her story as well.
PDP: Briefly tell us about yourself.
Martha: I’m usually the lone cheerful wolf, I live with the pack but I want to travel alone. For all my travels, I always bring home fabrics. What surprises me until now is that: I never thought I could make a business out of my college term papers (which are local fabrics) and travels. I knew I wanted to work with fabrics but the Universe booked me an appointment with the Mindanao tribes/weavers. I fell in love with them and wow, they are the creative geniuses, really.
PDP: What do you do for fun?
Martha: Book a trip and get lost in the woods! Aka backpacking (if I have cash to spare)! If not, I play dress up and goof in front of a mirror. I’m not a sporty person but I do pole dancing, basketball, yoga, scuba diving hahaha! But FUN for me is just hanging out with family and friends with great music and conversations.
PDP: Where did “Vesti” come from?
Martha: Vesti resonates upon the suggestion of my father. He gave me the idea to look for a word close to ‘bestida’. Oh lala, Vesti came up at the back of my head and when I was researching on it, Vesti in Russian means messages, in Latin it means I clothe or I adorn and in Italian it means clothes. I believe it is all of the above, let’s clothe ourselves with hand-woven Indigenous fabrics from Mindanao and send out the message to the world that Mindanao has these beautiful fabrics.
PDP: Tell us about your products.
Martha: My products are the extension of my self. I grew up in Cagayan de Oro City but moved to Manila. I guess I wanted to create a fusion of the traditional and the modern. So why not bring the best of the beauty of the indigenous fabrics from Mindanao and combine these with fashionable modern materials and embellishments. I continue to travel around Mindanao and buy the hand-woven indigenous fabrics directly from the weavers or artisans. Yabang Mindanao, Yabang Pinoy!
PDP: Pick your favorite Vesti product.
Martha: Definitely the newest collection: The Yakan Collection! It is fresh, playful, quirky and a charmer! :)
PDP: Where do you find inspiration?
Martha: I work backwards: I’m inspired first by the indigenous fabrics from Mindanao. I look for a certain pattern or color of the fabrics and from there I sketch the shape and how the bag looks like. Then I continue to daydream or envision the bags for the ‘idols’ or ‘girl-crushes’ who will someday wear Vesti, but basically sketch my heart out. I’m a hopeless romantic and through my bags people will appreciate Mindanao more and witness our weaving heritage that is visually stunning and refreshing! I want to communicate the fabrics and the story through Vesti.
PDP: Which local designers and life experiences directly influence your aesthetic?
Martha: Many! Inno Sotto, Joe Salazar, Caser Gaupo, Bea Valdes, and my recent loves, Michael Cinco, Michelle Lim, Arnold Galang, Tippi Ocampo etc thing is, there is too much creative geniuses here in the Philippines! They all directly influence the way I design Vesti.
PDP: What is your dream project/product?
Martha: To create continuous weaving training programs in inspiring the weavers’ younger generation or help create more interesting patterns, boost sustainable product development or transformation and yes, for the Mindanao weavers to exit poverty.
Muni pop-up shop features handpicked Filipino brands that carry products designed by Filipinos, manufactured in the Philippines, and worthy of being paraded anywhere in the world. We hope that brands we feature will serve as proof that with dreams and some imagination, Filipinos can, should, and will go places.
Pop-up shops are featured for a maximum of 2 months only.
Are you a Pinoy entrepreneur? If your products are made locally, we want you in our shop!Click here to apply to be a featured shop at Muni pop-up shop!