Creating art is no bed of roses, but what comes easy for 26-year-old Mimi Dumalaog is, as she put it, “blooming where you are planted.”
Seizing the opportunity to express her love of art and flora, Dumalaog established Kamila’s 4AM Art for her creations made of (or designed with) real flowers.
Her creations are conversation starters, ranging from purses, barrettes and necklaces, to phone cases, earrings, bangles and more. Perfect for elegantly tweaking a simple #ootd ensemble, the items are priced from P799 for necklaces to P2,699 for handbags.
“I grew up surrounded by flowers because my mom loves them,” Dumalaog tells To be You. “She’s the one with the green thumb. As for me, I don’t think I’m gifted with it. My plants often dry up. They say that maybe the reason I founded Kamila—for me to have a space to make use of the plants that dried up under my care!”
Kamila’s 4AM Art creations combine Dumalaog’s choice of preserved flora accessorized with other materials such as fabric, pearls, Swarovski crystals, metal, and even rattan.
Materials come from the Philippines and Japan but are made in the latter, where she is based studying for her Master of Arts in International Development at Nagoya University.
“I’m a kinesthetic learner—learning by moving and touching,” she says. “I think this manifests in my design process as well, as I don’t normally sketch before crafting a piece. I usually design as I craft.”
Travel inspired Dumalaog’s art.
With no formal training in the arts, Dumalaog relies on her creative juices and keen interest in crafting. The design principles of Ikebana contribute greatly to the creation of her masterpieces, as well as the color scheme and patterns of nature.
Her day begins before the break of dawn. Believing that the early bird catches the worm, Dumalaog says her ideas flow and come about in the wee hours—hence, the “4AM” brand name.
“Kamila” combines her name and those of her mother and sister, two individuals who greatly inspire and motivate her.
“Most of my designs flow and are often reflective of my current state of mind,” she says. “Since I was little, I would wake up at 4 a.m. I don’t want to waste time just browsing through Instagram and Facebook, so I decided to pick up crafting, which I can do early without waking up my siblings. This hobby turned into what is now Kamila.”
As a lover of flowers, Dumalaog believes that her wearable art pays homage to the beauty of the earth. Although she admits that she didn’t intend to use flowers as a “signature style,” she stuck to them, incorporating them in her creations.
“Some of the flowers I use are flowers I ‘grew.’ Others are flowers I picked up from the streets of Japan, such as sakura and autumn leaves,” she says.
A self-described environmentalist, Dumalaog plans to expand Kamila’s 4AM Art into a portfolio of local, ethical and sustainable passion projects. Kamila’s 4AM Art will be an umbrella of Kamilas4Mere, which opts to raise awareness on sustainable fashion and instill the value of protecting the environment.
The latter will be launched in the following months.
“I firmly believe that economic growth should always be within the bounds of the earth’s capacity to absorb human activity. We do consider Kamila’s 4AM Art sustainable in the sense that we’re not part of the fast-fashion industry. The pieces we produce are meant to be used for a long time,” she says.
Since Kamila’s 4AM Art’s humble beginnings, Dumalaog has experienced personal growth through her passion project. As her business continues to bloom, she maintains a thirst for knowledge in honing her craft.
“Pour your heart into whatever it is that you’re doing and you’ll never go wrong,” she says. —CONTRIBUTED
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