by Katrina A. Holigores ((The Philippine Star) Updated August 19, 2011
A well-tailored shirt is a staple piece in any fashionista’s closet. Crisp lines, a good design structure, lovely fabric and you’ve got a veritable “top” that can be worn with anything and almost anywhere. I have a weakness for men’s shirts because I’ve found that if they fit well; I can wear them for a meeting or pack them for a trip abroad where dress codes can sometimes be misinterpreted. There is, in my opinion, a still limited selection of more playful designs in men’s shirts here in the country — I can go from rack to rack and just be flooded with a sea of blues, greens and whites that have the standard stripes, dots and occasional “edgy” detail, which leads to a rather ho-hum gift for myself or the man in my life. This is the same predicament that design and business partners Juana Yupangco and Hanniel Fernandez found themselves in when scouring retail stores in the metro. “The selection of menswear is so limited here that everyone ends up looking the same,” explains Yupangco. “This is an issue for men who want to express their uniqueness through their wardrobe, but don’t want to pay through the nose for it.” This same sentiment was shared by Fernandez (the pair spent a number of years studying in the UK) and thus they decided to collaborate on their own men’s line, called John and Peregrine, an anglicized play on their respective father’s first names.
I first came across their creations when I met Fernandez at an art exhibit. I admired the print and design of his shirt and was surprised when he said he had designed it, even though his background was in law. I was sent a sample to fit, and I loved the feel also; even if I didn’t have the lithe silhouette of menswear-wearing style icon Joan Bitagcol, it still flattered my shape and was so soft to the touch. “We use cottons, oxfords and linens,” shares Yupangco. “We choose fabrics that are comfortable for the weather here in the Philippines. Most international brands have the same stuff all over the world… one man in Hong Kong can have the exact same shirt in London. Our shirts are limited, so it’s special for the customer,” she concludes.
Although the two do not possess a formal design background, Yupangco (who also started Capolino, a clothing line for boys) took private classes on men’s patternmaking and sewing; while Fernandez, although trained as a lawyer, is a talented painter and artist. It is their combined talents plus mutual love for clothes that allowed them to create shirts with a strong aesthetic sensibility that are still wearable yet not easily found or copied.
The two also credit their years living in London as part of their design influence, admiring the shirt makers of Saville Row and Jermyn Street. They also personally hunt for fabric in different parts of the globe: cotton fabrics sourced from Japan, the United States and France. Their fathers’ dress sense also made an impact on them. Yupangco’s father had a wardrobe that ranged from colorful Hawaiian and Pucci printed shirts to bespoke Italian suits. Hernandez’s father, on the other hand, was more attened to British influences, having as his wardrobe staple custom-made suits from Saville Row and Jermyn Street. Even if John and Peregrine shirts are limited in their availability, they are still reasonably priced as the design partners wanted to create one-of-a-kind shirts that were still affordable. The shirts range from P3,000 to P5,000 depending on the material used, which is a steal when you consider the prices of imported brands that are not necessarily limited in production.
Looking at a John and Peregrine shirt is not enough. Although the unique pattern and detail may already be attractive to the eye, it’s how the shirt fits and feels that will turn even the more conservative dresser into a
convert. Fernandez shares his own experience: “I like the Liam, which is flesh-colored background and geometric patterns. I don’t normally wear prints, but I tried it on and it looked great.” Truth be told, I ended up getting Fernandez’s favorite and I’m taking it with me on holiday because it will go with almost everything else I’ve stuffed in my suitcase. With the advent of this new menswear line, you can now give the man in your life more style options — or, better yet, you can go and share a shirt.
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In order to view the collection or to make orders or inquiries call 0917-698-3829 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org