Every year I would spend my school summer holiday in the Philippines with my family. It was just the best and was such an exciting place to be. The unpredictable heavy monsoon rain and the farming lifestyle meant that animals who were your friends one day were on your plate the next. I loved absorbing it all: the resourcefulness of the Filipino people - sitting by the roadsides weaving baskets from leaves and tying straw together to make brooms; the flamboyant and musical jeepneys picking up passengers and navigating the busy roads; the vibrantly painted and nippy tuc tucs; the shameless karaoke singing (wow Filipinos can sing!); the loud chattering of locals and the stunning colours of the tropical landscape.
The family jeep.
Having grown up as one of thirteen children in a farming family (which is no mean feat), my mum moved to the UK in search of better opportunities. Since moving to London in the 70's she has worked as a nurse while raising four kids (with my wonderful dad) and is now a grandmother to three chuckling boys.
The experience and memories of my summers in the Philippines, coupled with growing up as the daughter of an immigrant, have had a huge influence on my work and ambitions as a designer. My appreciation of environment and colour, influenced by the vibrant culture of the Philippines, is reflected in the style of my print designs. The practicality of my products is influenced by those talented craftspeople working by the roadsides. The desire to build my own brand, and the work ethic required to do so, come from watching my mother navigate her life as a hard-working woman.
Where my mum grew up.
Writing this post, I've realised how much my mum has shaped not only me as a person but also my business. I think it's interesting for us all to reflect upon how much our mothers have shaped our lives, which is certainly something worth celebrating.
Here's to all the mums out there. Happy Mother's Day.
Thank you for everything, Marcelina.
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