Singapore, USA, Australia, UAE. And the list keeps on growing.
Those are the places where the Philippine wedding gowns and “barong” travelled to in the last couple of years through Ms. Meldy Mondez De Guzman, our featured designer- entrepreneur from Laguna, Philippines. Last September 28, 2013. Ms Meldy was one of the awardees of Golden Globe Awards for Business Excellence, held at the Manila Hotel, specifically for Best Quality Wedding Gowns and Barong Maker for 2013.
“Barong” is the native name for the mechanically woven silky fabric from banana. Variably, the fabric is called “piña” for the silk woven out of another fruit, the pineapple. Whether jusi or piña, the exquisitely woven silk would have its entirely added value with the finely hand-crafted embroidery by native folks of the Philippines, Interchangeably they have become the unique fabric more popularly called barong for the traditional costumes of the Philippines. Because of the symbolism, garments and designs out of barong have been called Filipiniana.
Now, for wedding ensembles imagine this....
.....Cream silk in its translucent glory, sprinkled with alluring designs and embroidery of flowers and flora..... Hugging, caressing, flowing and floating around a beautiful bride as she marches down the aisle. Laces and chiffon are common materials used for bridal gowns but they only come as a far second to the embroidered barong which is uniquely regal and elegant. One must see a finished wedding gown of embroidered barong to be blown away by its exquisite beauty. Not to be outdone is the groom’s apparel, also in the same fabric, but in modern barong design, in complete match to the wedding gown of the bride.
These have been the inspiration of Ms. Meldy an early retiree from the Philippine government service when she started with her Filipiniana wedding gowns designs and creations.
Meldy was born in Lumban, a small town in Laguna, Philippines which has made its mark for producing the most beautiful hand embroidered barongs. Meldy was raised by her aunt, fondly called “Iya” by many, who was an icon in their place for making the most beautiful wedding gowns. Meldy lovingly admits that her Aunt Iya was highly instrumental in bringing in Meldy to the business career where she is now. Meldy now fondly recalls that her modest playground when she was small was her aunt Iya’s shop. Most of the time, playing would mean watching her aunt and her team of sewers and embroiderers create masterpieces one after another. So much so, that in her growing up years, seeds of imagination and desire to create her own designs bloomed inside Meldy. Everything that her aunt created was an imprint of “Lumban”. Every design she created was a vision never to leave Meldy’s imagination.
And so, when it was Meldy’s time to shine, there were no second thoughts of what she wanted to focus on. With her aunt as her mentor, she started creating Filipiniana gowns and barongs.
Meldy affirmed this reality of her town’s feat when she met a client at one bridal fair she joined. She just mentioned that her gowns and dresses were Lumban-made. With the mere mention of Lumban, the client went on to get her contact details. She tried to elaborate more on her product but the client simply said she would contact her. After a few weeks, Ms. Meldy received a call. The said client wanted a wedding dress for her daughter who lives in Chicago. They made all arrangements through Skype. Being a protégé of her Aunt Iya, Ms. Meldy did not even need to fly the bride to the Philippines for the measurements. They just communicated online and she taught the bride how to measure on her own. The client had put so much trust in Meldy and her capability to create beautifully. They could have just got a local supplier in Chicago, but they chose Meldy.
Meldy has evolved in her own designs. She makes it a point that she always has something unique with her designs like the “Calado” embroidery, usually seen in men’s barong but she applies it to wedding gowns as well. She was also the first one to introduce the “piña cuadrado” design, where neat quadrants are uniformly interwoven in the piña fabric itself that the finished fabric itself is a sight to behold even before you create something out of it.
Today, Meldy has travelled quite often to bring her creations to different parts of the world. She did not know that what she started out as hobby would bring her to other parts of the world. She is an advocate of “Wow Philippines “ and in her own way, and in her own field, tries to showcase what the Philippines has and truly is proud of. Her array of collection boasts not only of wedding gowns and groom’s apparels, but also so beautifully hand- painted shawls, embroidered bags, fans and hankies. For someone who just wants to pursue her passion, you would say that Ms. Meldy has come a long way.
Meldy’s Fashion joins the caravan of other Filipinos who aspire to bring our traditional craftsmanship to the doorsteps of the rest of the world. Meldy’s Fashion believes that sheer conviction and effort to cultivate our present talents and creations out of indigenous resources and bring them out to the rest of the world to see and to share will earn for us the true esteem not only for ourselves but for our country as well..Now, that is true Filipino.
No.57 ML Quezon St. Phase 7B,Pacita 1, San Pedro, Laguna
Contact No.: 0916-2782000 / 0908-394 4000 / (632) 542-8093