Photographs by AA Studio
Words by Christine Andes
Published on March 1, 2021
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Wilson Limon narrates to LAWIG his journey in establishing the brand and the insights to its latest collection.
The intricate rise of an atypical ‘new normal’ scenario becomes a novel trend nowadays, altering all sorts of human routine including lifestyle. To delve into such nature’s demand, enflamed a young man to harmonise his design aesthetic.
Wilson Limon is a Davawenyo designer behind Niñofranco. He is known for reinventing clothing of the past and present by tailoring a story beneath each weave.
His latest collection focuses on ready-to-wear garbs that suits the homey and working ambiance. The balanced use of silk cotton and linen fabrics captured both versatile and comfortable wearables for a work-from-home setup. The collection offers variants of authentic styles to blend with daily and year-round activities.
“In this time of the pandemic, working from home has been the new norm and I thought of creating pieces that are flexible and ‘zoom ready’. Our latest collection is all about adapting to change. We were not prepared for this crisis we’re facing now but it shouldn’t be a hindrance to stop ourselves from creating.”
The emergence of his designs interfuse from the traditional weaves of indigenous tribes in Mindanao and his ingenuity. The distinctive folkloric embroidery of the T’bolis enables him to recreate the patterns into a new bliss such as the tribe’s very own Kegal Nesif which he mostly adore. “It is a cross-stitched/embroidered blouse composed of geometrical designs inspired by nature like flowers, sun, leaf, human, and crucifix”.
Their historical treasure, nestled within their community beyond the mist of Mt. Apo, stirred Limon’s passion for fashion which then transpired not on its literal fabrics but through the emblems of a timeless artwork.
“In all my collections, not just the latest one, I make it a point to show the Tboli’s resilience and love of culture. And how their love for what they do as artisans ignites their passion. These designs will showcase not only their talent and the wide variety of what they can do but will also tell a story on how they are as a community and how strong they try to preserve their culture through it.”
His earliest encounter with the ethnolinguistic groups was in 2014 in his own native land when he happens to interview one traditional weaver named Vivencia Mamintes, of Bagobo Tagabawa tribe, as a school requirement for his senior year. “I just bawled over the pieces I saw. It validated the rich culture of Mindanao and was deeply inspired to work with different ethnolinguistic communities.”
Hence, he pursued his own brand which built not only his vestige, but also himself as an innate designer. His experience mold him to become resourceful and independent paving his progress into triumph. Niñofranco embraces Limon’s childhood creative potential to reconstruct a failure into a grandiose beginning.
“We aim to help and preserve their tradition specifically their artisanal [efforts] through our collaborations. Through our intervention, we help empower the women in their community by giving them the chance to earn and provide for the needs of their families.”
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