This Homegrown Brand Will Change the Way You Look at Filipiniana
Let Tygie change the way you dress!
In a highly westernized local society, Filipinianas seem to be only reserved for "big Filipino-themed ceremonies such as nuptials, centennial events, Linggo ng Wika, or graduation," Teodora "Tygie" Gonzales points out. She notes how unfortunate it is to "use this culture-defining attire for only three to five times in a lifetime" when these garments certainly have a huge sartorial potential.
Enter Tygie. Founded by Gonzales, her namesake Filipiniana brand aims to elevate the traditional Filipiniana outfit to more than just a costume. With a passion for Filipino culture, Gonzales endeavors to integrate the Filipiniana in the modern Filipina’s closet, enabling her to wear it for even casual everyday affairs such as office attire, dates, gimmicks, walking-in-the-mall outfit, or any day-to-day activity she desires.
Tygie offers two categories: Filipina Wear, which breaks down the traditional Filipiniana terno into pieces that you can integrate with your everyday wear, and Heirloom, which honors the traditional blouse and skirt terno with pieces that you can use for life’s milestones and be passed on to your loved ones or to the next generation.
For Gonzales, the Filipiniana, in its modern and traditional forms, gives dignity and respect to whoever wears it. Whether you’re young or old, defeated or victorious, working your way up or redefining a new life, wherever you’re from, whatever race or gender—you can have dignity and respect. Whether you’re wearing micro jean shorts or going to the office wearing a sleeveless polo, mix in Filipina Wear and you elevate your look to more than just a skimpy or dull outfit.
Tygie was founded by Gonzales in 1970, marking their 50th year in 2020. When she was younger, she always hung out at her uncle’s patahian. She’d sometimes get the scraps sew the pieces together, and from time to time try on the machine pedal until she was asked if she wanted to learn how to sew. Her uncle’s business started as a tailoring shop for office uniforms, while a young Gonzales would offer her own Filipiniana pieces on the side, introducing intricate floral embroideries onto the regular Filipiniana design. More and more people clamored for her Filipiniana, and the brand grew to what is now.
Gonzales leads a team in the designing of Heirloom Tygie pieces, with designer Ivy Nario coming up with new designs. Tygie’s overall aesthetic is inspired by the traditional Filipiniana, which is generally clean and delicate with intricate details (hand embroidery, callado, machine embroidery, beadwork, floral and traditional Filipino tattoo arts) or hand-painted prints applied to modern cuts and silhouettes.
Tygie uses various fabrics and textiles for different items like natural fibres which include piña, hinabue, cocoon, and jusi; ethnic textiles like T’nalak, Hablon, Inabel, and Abel Iloco; as well as other fabrics like organza, shantung, and chiffon. "We believe that using local textiles and fabrics is one way of showing and putting our local products and talents to the front of the fashion industry," explains Gonzales. "By supporting this, we empower our local artisans and community to keep the craft traditions and the local textile industry alive."
For Gonzales, the Tygie lady embraces diversity: "She’s accepting of anyone no matter what age, size, race, color or religion. She’s the regular modern girl with responsibilities, fears, and struggles, yet prevails with her confidence rooted in her values and strong sense of self. Every day is a chance for her to make the most of her life instead of waiting for big days to make great impressions," she shares. "In all her endeavors, she wears what is comfortable yet clothes herself with dignity and respect, knowing that however and wherever she presents herself, she epitomizes the beauty of what a true Filipina is inside and out."
"We can say that as a brand for almost 50 years, we have been the go-to brand for Filipiniana and by then we have cultured a bond with our customers who seek to know more about their heritage and culture through Filipino fashion," she adds. "We have clothed our customers with dignity and respect but without compromising the fit, style, and the heritage that go along with it; our consistency in terms of relationships with our customers; and the good mix of tradition and modernity—those are our strengths and what have made Tygie what it is now."
Gonzales acknowledges that challenges are always part of any endeavor, including Tygie. "We’ve always been humbled by having our own. Any Filipiniana—modern or traditional—needs to maintain a certain look and feel with respect to its heritage, and meeting this qualification has its demands. For one, compared to other local ready-to-wear brands, Filipinanas can neither be made overnight nor mass-produced by machines. Some natural fabrics and handmade textiles moreover may not always be readily available, or that they take time to produce. To meet our clients’ demands, we address this with efficient production management and personal customer care relations. "
The fast-paced changes in the local industry, such as online shopping and the entry of international retail giants, posed as challenges to Tygie. But this has only led them to find ways on how to make the Filipiniana not just a "costume, but part of their wardrobe staple." Through social media, Tygie shares styling ideas on how to integrate their items to your existing wardrobe, so you know which pieces would work, whether it's for work or for date night.
Tygie is currently available at SM Kultura, but Gonzales shares that the brand will be opening up a flagship store soon. "We are so excited for this new concept and this will totally mark that the Filipiniana can be global and can be worn by all woman locally and internationally—rooted on the core values of Filipino ingenuity and women deserving of respect and dignity. Tygie is constantly evolving with the times. The local fashion industry is booming and that’s an opportunity we can’t dare miss. More designs, partnerships and who knows maybe a store abroad? We'll see."
Philippine fashion continues to evolve, but the beauty of Filipiniana nevertheless gives a woman dignity and respect like no other. Tygie continues to evolve with women’s needs, innovating styles and silhouettes without losing the essence of the Filipiniana tradition.
Tygie is available in SM Kultura stores nationwide. For inquiries, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared on Preview.ph. Minor edits have been made by the editors.