May 22, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Minimalist style

A MINIMALIST aesthetic is an announcement to the world that one lives a life that focuses only on what is essential. Any unnecessary details are softly erased, as one wishes to cut off the little details that add to the burden of life. Minimalism says freedom, as if while wearing a subtle shift dress, one could dash off out the door and hope from one adventure to another, unencumbered by rules and dress codes.


Selling minimalist clothes online seems to be a perfect fit: one can shop when one sees fit, and the customer is undisturbed by pushy sales people, the crowds of the mall, and the ping of the cash register. That’s great, but no person ever had it all, and the freedom of online shopping comes with the price of uncertainty. Weave, a Filipino brand, tries to bridge the gap between the convenience of online shopping and the bliss of physical shopping with the opening of its physical store in Uptown Mall in BGC on May 8.

“We decided to go physical because we wanted to expand our reach. I know online has a lot of opportunities, but iba pa din ’pag physical eh (It’s still different when the store is physical),” said Thias Tanbonliong, managing director of Weave. “People get to try [on] the clothes, feel the fabrics, and it makes it easier for customers to decide whether to buy it or not.” Humans are, after all, creatures dependent on their senses, and if it’s going near the skin, why should the eyes alone do the picking?

He notes, however, the disadvantages of having a physical store, such as being constrained by mall hours. The online store is still up and running (http://weave.com.ph), and citing an advantage of online shopping, yes, they do deliver.

Weave began as an online store in 2015, co-founded by Mr. Tanbonliong and his partner, Weave Creative Director Brit Romero. The designs are made by three designers, who, according to Mr. Tanbonliong, would rather remain anonymous, and their collective forays into minimalism are approved and made into cohesive collections by Ms. Romero.

The clothes come in basic colors, and have a certain flow that suggests breathiness and lightness, and come in neutrals (in this world, navy blue should also be a neutral), splashed with some pastels like blush and sky blue. The fabrics are imported from Japan and Korea, favored for the way they fall and drape over the body, while an all in-house production system keeps prices down from P795 to P4,000.

The brand creates demand by releasing items in very limited numbers: think 15 pieces per design, and as soon as the item runs out, the game is over, and a new design replaces it. As well, the brand aims to replace items in the store every two weeks -- it’s sort of like Buddhist detachment, but for material goods. This adds to the store’s appeal, as one complaint of their customers is seeing the same outfit on another person, especially when they bought the piece from more well-known brands.

Minimalist clothing can have the effect of making a person shine, by becoming a blank canvas in which a person can use accessories, or, better yet, an personality, to better express themselves. Mr. Tanbonliong, meanwhile, extols their practical side. “When you go minimalist, your items are more wearable, anytime, any day,” he said. “If you ever want to wear it again, people won’t really notice is, because it’s very basic.” -- Joseph L. Garcia