The Mei Clutch features a vivid fish motif that complements a dark blue background

By Ryanne Co

By Ryanne Co

February 25, 2021

GustoKo, Paula Figueras’ brand of enchanting minaudières, sets a precedent for locally-inspired fashion that’s as beautiful as the country by which it was inspired

The line of clutch bags by Portugal-based Filipino designer Paula Figueras is an ode to longing. Inspired by her saudades (or longing in Portuguese) for her native land, Figueras’s creations showcase some of the best local talents, achieving the brand’s vision to focus on Filipino artistry. To push its love local agenda onto the global market, the global brand uses the hashtag #MadeWithLoveForTheWorld.

Her brand, aptly named GUSTOKO, is a nod to the Filipino term, which means “I like”. Coincidentally, GUSTOKO, is also homophonous to the Portuguese eu gusto, which means the same thing.

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The brightly coloured Candy Clutch is a playful minaudière that comes with
a detachable orange strap
The brightly coloured Candy Clutch is a playful minaudière that comes with
a detachable orange strap
The Mei Clutch features a vivid fish motif that complements a dark blue background
The Mei Clutch features a vivid fish motif that complements a dark blue background

“I fly home to the Philippines several times a year to source and choose the primary materials used in the manufacturing of our handbags,” Figueras says. All of her bags, which are sustainably made in the Philippines, are handmade by a close-knit community of talented embroiderers and bagmakers. The materials used are also often indigenous to the Philippines and are artfully interwoven with straw and beads using innovative embroidery techniques that add a touch of authenticity to each unique piece.

In fact, the country’s wondrous tropical beaches inspired one of GUSTOKO’s recently launched capsule collections. The Boracay Pochette features beautiful silhouettes of palm trees contrasted with varied background colours. The Coron Bag is a rounded handbag designed with artful wooden spikes that give the piece a creative edge. The El Nido Bag, a delightful bucket bag that features silhouetted palm trees much like the Boracay Pochette, is a beautiful shoulder bag that will always be a welcome addition to a woman’s wardrobe.

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Aquilino Managbanag

By Aquilino Managbanag

Aquilino Managbanag EXPERIENCE: Four years at The Asian Pacific Post, a weekly Canadian newspaper founded in 1993 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The newspaper specialized in reporting Asian issues, and has a readership of 160,000. It has a sister publication in The South Asian Post. EDUCATION: University of Santo Tomas – Manila -- The private Roman Catholic research university is Asia’s oldest existing university. The university takes pride in keeping the Catholic faith and beliefs prominent while holding true to its centuries-old tradition of academic excellence.