From selling in Manila bazaars to having an international brand presence, Farah Abu has stood out in the fashion world as a designer and entrepreneur.
Going global is something every fashion designer dreams of, not only does it solidify their talents, but it is also a major sign of success for something that is founded only by passion. This dream was fulfilled in the case of Filipino fashion accessory designer Farah Abu. But getting there wasn’t easy, and with the current pandemic climate, her journey to take her eponymous brand abroad was as complex as her bespoke creations.
His passion for jewelry design began at an early age with the manufacture of charm bracelets sold for P250. Although many saw it as just a hobby, she changed her career path from an architect to designing accessories.
“Unlike the restrictions I felt with architecture, I felt so free with the endless possibilities of prop design,” she says. “I could do whatever I wanted and it made me really happy. I finally found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Farah’s first step as a fashion entrepreneur was to open a small boutique in Iligan City, Mindanao, reselling clothes, bags, shoes and her jewelry. Although it didn’t turn out the way she had hoped, she braved Manila in 2009 and ventured out selling her handmade accessories in bazaars. This ultimately put her on the right track, allowing her to build relationships with clients, establish business contacts and allow her to break into the industry.
In 2017, Farah showcased her handmade pieces at Los Angeles Fashion Week and Phoenix Fashion Week. It has also allowed his works to be seen in different parts of the world including Paris, Singapore, Switzerland, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong. Currently, she joins a roster of select Filipino designers whose designs are featured in the fashion house For The Stars, a unique and upscale style center run by creative director and fashion icon Jacob Meir based in Hollywood, in. California.
But when the pandemic hit, things turned different in the retail industry and its brand. To stay relevant, she designed a product, a face mask, comfortable, fitted, safe and fashionable.
“Coming from the retail industry where our products are considered non-essential, we have come up with a product suitable for the present day,” she says. “This is how the Stella mask was born. This month, a year later, we released another designer mask called Lily Mask, another bold and essential piece. Right from its conception and creation, I make sure that both masks are comfortable, snug, safe but fashionable for my clients.
Maintaining his online presence has also allowed him to continue the operations of his brand. With the logistics partner FedEx, his creations were able to be implemented across borders, allowing people from different continents to wear them.
“It’s a new era,” she thinks. “The good thing about e-commerce is low operating expenses, not rent. When you sell online, you already have a catalog of your designs that your buyers can easily choose from.
Today, Farah continues to inspire her clients to celebrate life and beauty through her masterpieces. Her journey may not have been easy, but her persistence and determination have paid off as she has carved out a solid and desirable reputation for herself in the fashion industry.
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