Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, October 20, 2008

My country, my shirt


From afar it looks like just another polo shirt with an embroidered oversized logo of a polo player. But upon closer inspection, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see an outline of something you’ve recognized since grade school: the map of the Philippines. This is Rhett Eala’s “My Pilipinas” collection for Collezione.

As creative director for the 36-year-old knitwear brand, Rhett was tasked to create a more youthful and fashion-forward line of shirts under the brand Collezione C2.

“I wanted something that said ‘Filipino,’ but didn’t want it to be so obvious.”

Actually it was obvious. And it was sitting right under his nose. Under everybody’s noses, actually. File this under: “Why didn’t I think of this before?”

One year later, the Pilipinas shirt and all its incarnations — a single embroidery, splashed all over a shirt, oversized print and its mirror image — became the runaway hit of the ready-to-wear world. And it hasn’t lost its legs.

Almost everyone has at least one version of it in their closet. Just like jeans, it is the great equalizer: male or female, young or old, famous or anonymous, rich or not so rich wear the shirts with pride.

With this diversity in mind, there is a rumor circulating that instead of hiring one celebrity to be the brand’s image model, Collezione is recruiting several high-profile personalities from different sectors of society to represent Pilipinas.

We heard there will be a person each from showbiz, sports, and politics.

(How about someone from the blogosphere? Me! Me!)

Keep your eyes peeled on the highway — you just might see their mugs plastered on a billboard.

But not every fan needs to be on a 20-foot-tall tarpaulin. In the Collezione C2 store in Market! Market!, you might spot some VVVIP’s bodyguarded staff buying a whole lot of shirts. And they won’t say for whom.

Several politicians have been spotted wearing the shirts as a way to show their nationalism and patriotism — perhaps in preparation for 2010?

We know of a president’s daughter (past or current? We’re not telling…) who buys the shirts in bulk! And then there are regular folk who buy the shirts for themselves or as pasalubong for friends and family abroad.

Not to mention balikbayans who snap them up and wear them with pride when they go back to their adopted country. And when they get there, wearing a Pilipinas shirt is like being part of a secret club — you know you’re a member when you recognize the logo on the shirt.


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