These global brands’ stories were first read in the Inquirer | Lifestyle.INQ
Tom Holland and Zendaya have undeniable on-screen chemistry. From sharing the stage together in the MCU’s recent Spiderman movies to their public appearances…
Farah Abu has been creating beautiful things since 2003.

These global brands’ stories were first read in the Inquirer

Aranaz still lives around here

Amina Aranaz-Alunan had just returned from her fashion studies at Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy, in 2004 when she and her mother, Rebecca Aranaz, opened a small boutique in Pasig City, not far from the family home.

The older Aranaz was a longtime bag exporter, and mother and daughter joked that the man of the house was fed up with their clients suddenly showing up at their abode, such that they had to quickly find a home for Aranaz the brand. “I was ready to take on the brand full-time,” Aranaz-Alunan recalled.

Inquirer Lifestyle was the first to feature the then fledgling brand in its pages, titled “Aranaz doesn’t live here anymore,” giving Filipinos a first peek at the chic handcrafted minaudières and woven summer totes that Aranaz would later be known for.

The article “formally introduced our brand to the market and helped our official entry in the Philippine fashion industry,” said the brand’s creative director. “It was what I consider one of our main milestones.”

She added of their journey as a brand, “We furthered our expansion in the Philippine market, opened more stores, and also set out to conquer the international market and bring our brand to the global customer.”

Amina Aranaz-Alunan grew a tiny bag boutique into a global brand.

Aranaz now has boutiques in Power Plant Mall, Greenbelt 5 and SM Aura Premier. Major retailers abroad like Bergdorf Goodman, Harvey Nichols and Neiman Marcus carry Aranaz.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Aranaz’s other stockists included Harrods, Selfridges, El Corte Ingles and Browns in Europe.

“Since the rest of the world was on lockdown, too, export orders declined,” she said. “But we’re thankful there are still orders from markets like Japan, the Middle East, United Kingdom and United States.”

Addressing the decrease in demand for fashion goods during the pandemic, Aranaz-Alunan said their company had to diversify. “We always had a small home line, but we also paid more attention to it during the pandemic,” she said. “We are still exploring different ways to diversify our product mix to adapt to the new lifestyle.”

Seventeen years hence and, safe to say, Aranaz still lives around here.

—Cheche V. Moral

An article that ‘changed her life forever’

“I don’t know if you still remember me. You wrote an article about me and my jewelry in 2005 and I just want you to know that it changed my life forever.”

Jewelry designer Farah Abu sent us this note on Messenger in 2017. She continued, “I am in LA right now about to have my very first fashion week show in a few hours but I just wanted to take a moment and thank you.”

Back when she was first featured in Inquirer, Abu was creating one-of-a-kind bracelets that she was selling to friends. Her creations were selling well both in Manila and her hometown Iligan.

Farah Abu has been creating beautiful things since 2003.

“I can’t wear them all, you know, and they need to be worn,” she told us then. “I just love to make things beautiful and I love to make beautiful things.”

Eighteen years later, Abu continues to create beautiful things.

The Architecture graduate’s pieces can be found in different parts of the globe including Paris, Singapore, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Hollywood. It gives her pride to be able to bring Filipino craftsmanship to the rest of the world.

She designs jewelry, clutches, belts, bags, headpieces and even corsets, and uses semiprecious stones, gems, corals and surprising elements. Her creations are big, bold statement pieces. “My work have evolved so much but I can never forget where it started,” she said.

—Pam Pastor