Jo Ann Bitagcol always makes Manila’s fashion and art scene interesting.
The model and photographer was one of the original cool girls before “cool” was overused. She was an influencer before the age of Instagram.
Bitagcol exhibited her art-works at this year’s Art Fair Philippines.
In major fashion shows, count on her to still be donning the designer’s opening look, or the statement last look. Or both.
Bitagcol keeps evolving and keeps doing something new. This time, it’s printing her photographs on scarves.
It started out from a creative slump, Bitagcol says. “I wasn’t doing anything. Bored. No raket. Slow months.”
She then got a little push from designer-friend Joey Samson. “He encouraged me to sell prints,” she says. “I messaged Rhett Eala, who organizes pop-ups for Manila Design Collective, and asked if I could join the next popup. He said yes.”
Not the usual thing
She didn’t want to do the usual thing, though, which was printing her photographs on paper: “I thought of combining them with fashion, something you could use as well.”
The idea led Bitagcol to reconnect with her Slim’s schoolmate Vanessa Pinlac, who used printed fabrics in one of her projects.
After trying out different suppliers, Bitagcol saw that her photographs looked great on satin material, as compared to T-shirts and totes.
She also realized that her favorite photos printed on scarves were significant: “I discovered outtakes from a book project with Gino Gonzales and Mark Higgins.”
Bitagcol says she found meditative images, mementos of the past: a baro; a luxurious vanity set; and brooches.
I could see this scarf hanging from the wall like a piece of art. I would also not mind using it every day, as Bitagcol intended.
The project is called Baul Collection, aptly titled since Bitagcol went through her past and created a new twist to a classic accessory.
To settle my indecision, I’ll probably snatch up two scarves, really fast. Because I have a feeling that Bitagcol’s got something new soon enough.