If accessories could talk, Island Girl’s pieces would definitely speak Cebuana. Well put together, imaginative, and vibrant, the line encapsulates southern style and craftsmanship. Island Girl owner and designer Janice Chua said that her family has been in the fashion accessories export industry for more than 20 years, and first set up shop locally in Boracay in 2005.
You must be wondering the same thing: what made her decide to take Island Girl back to its hometown Cebu in 2011?
“We were very apprehensive at first as to how the urbanites would react to our all-natural, hand-made line. We feared that they’d be seen as too beachy. We were pleasantly surprised that this was not the case,” Janice shared.
In fact, the response has been more than enthusiastic–women of all ages simply covet their items, and with good reason. Island Girl’s products are made of natural materials like coconut rings and seeds, puka shells, and fish scales that come in eye catching designs. And all these are fueled by a cycle of good will.
Janice quipped: “My mom always says that to be a producer of natural material fashion accessories is a very noble thing because our efforts allow wealth to trickle down to the grass root communities. Raw coconut had to be gathered, sliced, shaped, dyed before we could turn them into ‘Meshed Up’ and ‘Dreamweaver’ (probably now our signature collections), and it means that the material passes through the hands of many in the process of its transformation.”
“The uneducated and unemployable in remote provinces are our gatherers. Our subcontractors are mainly women….housewives who are able to contribute to the family income by way of stringing up accessories or assembling uppers for our sandals while still taking care of their children at home,” she added.
So every time you’re wearing any of Island Girl’s pieces, you’re wearing positivity and helping someone in need.
Janice, who lives out the Island Girl brand, gave useful advice: “Never stop innovating, never stop learning, and never be complacent. Just because you do well now doesn’t mean you’ve got it made already. There’s always room for improvement. And if you do well now, you should make it a challenge to beat yourself next time.”
You can get your own Island Girl items from their showrooms in Lahug (Cebu), Libis (Manila), and Boracay, or online at https://www.facebook.com/Islandgirlphilippines.