From Abra to Zamboanga, Gabby Garcia discovers the way to grow his passion project
For Gabby Garcia, TAGPI started as a passion project when he was a college student at Ateneo de Manila University at the height of the pandemic. “I wanted to help local artisans affected during the pandemic,” he told us. “I also wanted to be able to promote and raise awareness on the various traditional craftsmanships in the country.”
In a way the online classes came as an advantage because they allowed him the time to run his startup brand.
Now, three years later, the world has opened up again, TAGPI is now on its third collection, with the newest collection entitled, “Pamana,” which draws inspiration from heirloom pieces passed down through generations. “Each garment in this collection is meticulously crafted to embody the essence of cherished memories and stories, ensuring a seamless fusion of past, present, and future,” said Garcia, graduated from Ateneo in 2022.
“Pamana” features subtle yet intricate detailing that pays homage to the craftsmanship of bygone eras, consisting of ornate embroidery, and hand-stitched embellishments while maintaining a contemporary and versatile silhouette. The color palette transitions gracefully from soft, muted tones reminiscent of aged photographs to vibrant hues that represent the vitality of the present.
“When I started my brand, I focused on using traditional Filipino weaves by artisans from Ilocos and Abra who weave inabel, as well as artisans from Zamboanga who are known for their Yakan fabric,” Garcia said.
He then started incorporating other art forms, such as embroideries and hand painting. “I was able to tap into various communities such as the Itneg community of Abra, the Panay Bukidnon of Iloilo, and the T’boli of Lake Sebu who are all known for their embroideries.”
Garcia also worked closely with hand painters from Lumban, Laguna, who traditionally do handpainting on barong.
These collaborations turned into significant life lessons. Garcia learned that collaboration fosters innovation and creativity. “When we bring together people from different backgrounds and expertise, it sparks new ideas and solutions. It taught me the importance of open-mindedness and the willingness to embrace different viewpoints.”
His signature aesthetic is inspired by Philippine flora and fauna. “I believe that incorporating floral designs in my fashion pieces could be a reflection of my personal style and aesthetic preferences.”
Drawn to the natural beauty and vibrant colors of floral patterns, Garcia finds them appealing. “Ultimately, my affinity to floral designs is a unique expression of my artistic vision,” Garica said.
He is looking forward to collaborating with a local bag brand to produce a capsule collection. He is also working on a new collection featuring traditional weaves from Abra.
The growth Garcia has experienced the past three years of TAGPI was greatly influenced by the power of collaboration, “It taught me that success is often a collective effort, and that by embracing collaboration, we can achieve remarkable results while learning valuable life lessons along the way.”
Photography Lem Atienza