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A collection of articles featuring the journeys of Ditta Sandico in her fashion career. 


The ANNUAL SALE 2019: Sexy at Sixty!

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Its that time of the year again!

Ditta Sandico’s Annual Sale is happening on May 25 to June 2, 2019 at the Balete Gallery. Get as much as 50% off your favorite #DittaWraps, as well as other creations on special discounted prices.

Sexy at 60 Com 4.jpg

Stocks are limited, items are on a first come first served basis. The gallery will be open from 9am to 7pm at No. 5 Mabolo st. corner Balete Drive, New Manila, Quezon City.

Come and join Ditta’s special celebration. See you there!

Ditta Illuminata

Ditta Sandico Channel

Following the success of the signature line Star Gazing Ditta, visionary wrap artiste Ditta Sandico will unveil her new masterpiece at the upcoming collaboration show at Shangri-La at the Fort.

Ditta Illuminata is inspired by the illumination of light in a very dark setting.  Stunning designs in contemporary Filipiniana dominated by black and white is the vision of the new artisan creation.

Ditta Sandico not only reinvented the Filipianana through her world renown Ditta Wraps, she made use of sustainable and indigenous banaca fabric in all her creations. This was made possible through her childhood immersion to the mountains of Bulalacao in Oriental Mindoro where the indigenous Hanunuo Mangyan weavers lived. Since then Ditta Sandico was inspired to gain deeper knowledge of the art of weaving.

Ditta believes in the responsible use of raw materials for all her creations, transforming the use of abaca fibers into eco-textile. These raw abaca fibers are the driving force behind the signature banaca fabric that illuminates elegance in every Ditta Wrap. 

Ditta Illuminata will be unveiled on November 8, 2018 at the fashion show, “Illuminata”: a historical collaboration of luxe jewelry brand Hoseki, fashion visionary Ditta Sandico, and Neo-genre master Dominic Rubio that will be held at Shangri-La at the Fort.

The event is presented by Art+, in celebration of their 10th year chronicling the Philippine art landscape. The show will be directed by Marex Gaba.

Ditta Sandico receives an award at the 2016 Agora Awards

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Ditta Sandico was awarded for her Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship - Small Scale Winner at the 37th Agora Awards held last October 27 at the PICC.

We look forward to your continued support to our local and award winning #banaca industry!

Considered as the “The Oscars of Philippine Marketing,” Agora is a highly regarded and prestigious award in the marketing field. According to Ms. Alpha Allanigui, Director-in-Charge of Agora, “The Agora Awards are a testament to the passion, dedication, brilliance and commitment of excellent individuals and companies in the marketing industry.” 

#Marekting #Excellence #EcoCouture #EcoFabulous #Banaca #DittaWraps#Awards #ProudlyPinoy #DittaChannel #Fashion

Ditta Sandico Wins Global Inspiring Women Worldwide Award 2016

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Ditta Sandico Wins Global Inspiring Women Worldwide Award 2016
By: Melo Albert

Internationally acclaimed Filipina designer Ditta Sandico yet again brings pride to our country as she wins the prestigious Global Inspiring Women Worldwide Award in Rome. Ditta Sandico is recognized for her outstanding contributions to the fashion industry and moreover, for her aspirations of empowering women across the globe.

Every year, the selection of awardees is decided by an association named WIN – Women’s International Networking – basing it on the candidates’ capability to embody femininity, authenticity and global perspective in their respective careers. This year, the award-giving body chooses to recognize three competitive ladies: two of which who excel in the consultancy and entrepreneurial fields and the last being our very own Ditta Sandico for her clothing line which combines sustainability for the environment and for the local community while being extremely feminine and playful in fashion.

Ditta Sandico is known for mixing typologies of indigenous fabrics and infusing them in her masterpieces. The versatile designer has in recent years been developing fabrics that are identifiably Filipino. Among these are Piña-lino, Banaca, Abel-iloco, Banana rayon, the Mangyan Habol and currently fresh from her cooking lab the Seda-lino, which she incorporates in her collections. But what makes the designer recognizable is her modest aim of creating sustainable livelihood projects for women which in fact has contributed greatly in the socio-economic status of a fishing village in Catanduanes.

The winners have received a crystal star-shaped trophy from Swarovski, as witnessed by more than 700 delegates from different parts of the world.

Cache Apparels. Philippine finery: Ditta Sandico’s handbags

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Amsterdam, from November 4, 2014 through to January 25, 2015

Colourful, stylish and subtly exotic with a worldwide appeal: that would be the best way to describe the work of Philippine fashion designer Ditta Sandico. Her handbags are handcrafted and woven from indigenous Philippine materials. Ditta Sandico’s designs prove how well elegance and refinement may go hand in hand with eco-friendliness and social responsibility. In ‘Cache Apparels’, the Museum of Bags and Purse exhibits a selection of Ditta Sandico’s loveliest bags.

Bags for women all over the world
Cache Apparels’ collection consists of clutches, evening bags and wrist bags in glowing, rich colours. The designs are stylish and finely detailed and while the use of wood, mother-of-pearl and elements such as plaited ethnic motifs may betray their Philippine origins, the collection is anything but culturally restrictive. Ditta Sandico: “The items are catered towards diverse women from different parts of the world. We grow and adapt along with the times, modifying certain traditional concepts to fit the needs and lifestyles of today’s women.”

Exotic, sustainable materials
Buying one of Ditta Sandico’s handbags means you are assured that you’re buying a sustainable, eco-friendly product. In co-operation with local craftspeople, she developed new fabrics from indigenous Philippine materials, like ‘banaca’, as Ditta Sandico calls her fabrics made of Manila hemp, a plant belonging to the banana family. For the labour-intensive and sustainable production of the materials and fabrics, she trains weavers and dyers in Philippine villages, structurally improving employment and boosting local communities. The use of the original fabrics adds to the identity of the handbags. Banaca, for instance, has the special quality of being flexible, yet retaining its shape and while Manila hemp is a rough material in itself, traditionally used for rope and slippers, it gains a soft finish and a deep sheen in Ditta Sandico’s fabrics. This results in handbags that are quite unique.

Ditta Sandico
After getting her Fine Arts Degree from the University of the Philippines, Ditta Sandico studied Fashion Merchandising in Tobe-Coburn School in New York and worked for some years in New York stores. For 29 years now, she has worked as a fashion designer, developing fabrics that are identifiably Philippine, which she incorporates in her collections. At present, she is the president and designer of her own fashion company Cache Apparels. She is also the president of Earthhaven, a foundation that caters to a Philippine eco-village dedicated to the preservation of traditional values and the protection of the environment.

Tassenmuseum Hendrikje / The Museum of Bags and Purses
The Tassenmuseum or Museum of Bags and Purses is the largest of its kind in the world. With its collection of over 4.000 handbags, the museum provides a survey of this utilitarian object’s history. Included in the collection are bridal purses, chatelaines, charity bags, reticules, school bags, evening clutches and designer handbags from fashion houses such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès. The museum has about 80.000 visitors on a yearly basis.

Asia Store Ditta Sandico Profile

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“Fashion is always evolving, changing, moving forward… back to our roots.”

Known as the “Wrap Artiste” of the Philippines, Ditta Sandico had the vision to embrace an ecologically-friendly design and production process, creatively transforming indigenous fibers, such as banana, pineapple and abacca into a fashion art form, designing wraps that follow the movements of the body, and recycling the scraps into accessories. Her designs are simple, elegant and timeless. An ethical designer, Dita continues to carry the Filipino identity through her collection, revolutionizing the Philippine natural fiber industry by working with a cooperative in Baras, Catanduanes, training them in natural dye extraction and advanced weaving techniques, providing a sustainable income and giving life to a struggling cultural heritage.

Ditta Sandico: The Queen of Wraps wraps up 30 years of trailblazing fashion

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Designer Fernandina “Ditta” Sandico celebrates three decades of eco-chic, the innovative use of indigenous, natural fabrics.

Along the way, she has persuaded women to wrap themselves in abaca as a radical but easy-fitting alternative Filipiniana attire. After years of perseverance and promotion, Sandico’s wraps under her eponymous label have become mainstream.

A graduate of Wood Tobe Coburn fashion school in New York, she pioneered in transforming the lowly abel, the blanket fabric sold in the Ilocos markets, into fashionable daytime and evening wear. She collaborated with weavers from Santiago, Ilocos Sur, to produce blue and white printed abel and later developed plaids, stripes and geometric patterns.

Sandico says it has taken 30 years for the abel fabric to become a luxury item. From a P350 blanket, abel now easily fetches five figures. Aside from clothes, it is also used for home accessories and upholstery.

Collaborating with weaver Elisa Reyes in the late ’80s,  Sandico diversified into dressy clothes and barong Tagalog, using piñalino, a combination of delicate piña and linen.

Turning point

A turning point came when she met a weaver from Catanduanes, Virgilio Apanti, who showed her rough samples of abaca weaving. Although the fabric was dirty, stiff and knotty, Sandico saw the potential. Working with artisans from Baras, she made the fabric silkier, more pliable and colorful.

Sandico coined the term “banaca,” a combination of banana and abaca, for branding purposes. She explains that the abaca, whose scientific name is musa textilis, is a member of the banana family, the Musaceae. The hemp plant looks like wild bananas. When the Spaniards came to the Philippines, they discovered that the natives produced soft and silky fabrics from abaca and traded it with other countries.

Sandico’s first products were voluminous wraps in dramatic colors, hand-painted or spray-painted for effect.

“They were overwhelming. A strong, confident personality can get away with those wraps,” she says.

When women requested easy-fitting wraps that didn’t need too much styling, Sandico added slits for armholes and loops for belts. Called the Mariposa, the wrap was basically a bodice that crossed around the body and was tied by a matching belt. Because of its tautness, the collar could either stand up to lengthen the neck, or flap down to cover a flat or heavy bosom. The Mariposa also came in color-blocked versions and metallic colors.

Younger designers who use abaca

fabrics have paid homage to Sandico’s Mariposa.

“At first, women were resistant, but after several decades, the Mariposa has become mainstream,” says Sandico.

The other styles care called the Hikina, which is inspired by the native pañuelo; the Lucrezia, the three-tiered collar; the Mori, a kimono-inspired silhouette; and the Mira Lukot, made of mushroom pleats which gives the wrap a linear quality.


Versatile wraps can be worn in various ways with just a play of knotting, twisting, puffing and fluffing. It can either be geometric and edgy or be a romantic frou-frou. The woman can look like a flower in bloom in a flounced wrap, or a rock chick with angled flaps.

Constantly evolving, Sandico recently came outwith sculptural, show-stopping wraps for red-carpet events in her fashion show titled, “Dolce Ditta.” A basic jersey dress or pantsuit became dramatic with an additional wrap or a bolero top with banaca sleeves.

The structured wraps can emphasize the shoulders, the neck and the face while hiding unflattering curves.

“Wear them with a tube dress, and you’ll instantly look slimmer,” says Sandico.

The wraps come in warm tones of red, orange, gold and rust; cool greens and turquoise and the classic black and white stripes.

For an instant terno, Sandico developed a bolero with butterfly sleeves, with open weaves, inspired by native baskets. The formal wraps are embellished with hand-painted flowers and delicate beadwork. The edgier boleros feature zippers hidden under the bouffant for a boxy look.

For women on the go

Clearly, Sandico has fun with wraps. Some of the shorter wraps can work as instant scarves, structured sleeves, a neckpiece with a flower, visors, slippers and cowl necks. The excess banaca are shaped into earrings, wrist cuffs and evening purses.

Sandico adds that the wraps are designed for the woman on the go. They don’t wrinkle, and always stay in shape.

“It travels well because it’s flat. You don’t need to iron,” she says.

The wraps are worn by influential women such as Korina Sanchez, Christine Bersola, Cherie Mercado, socialites and diplomatic spouses.

While Sandico’s collection is thriving at Rustan’s Makati and Resorts World, she prefers to meet clients at her atelier in Quezon City. She started her business in the same neighborhood and, after 30 years, she’s back in her mother’s home, working in her newly renovated atelier.

Between those years, she raised a family, opened shops in different locations, and broke free from a relationship.

“Regardless of the venue, people will look for these wraps. The banacahas life because I put a lot of work into it. I bring out the soul of fabric,” she says.

Ditta Sandico’s store is located at 5 Mabolo St. corner Balete and E. Rodriguez, New Manila, Quezon City. Visit the website


Tahanan ng International Designer na si Ditta Sandico, tampok sa 'Powerhouse'

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Tatlumpung taon na sa fashion industry ang designer na si Ditta Sandico at kahit anak siya ng may-ari ng isa sa pinakasikat na department store noong 70s at 80s, hindi naging madali ang landas na kaniyang tinahak bago makamit ang tagumpay. Palibhasa’y kakaiba para sa panahong iyon ang kanyang adbokasiya na pasikatin ang indigenous Filipino fabrics. Pero paano nga ba niya nalampasan ang pangmamaliit sa gawang Pinoy hanggang siya’y respetuhin bilang designer hindi lang sa ating bansa kungdi sa buong mundo?

Bata pa lang si Ditta ay may interes na siya sa fashion design. Labing-isang taong gulang siya nang magpunta sa Mindoro at nasaksihan ang paghahabi ng tela ng mga katutubo. Ang kaniyang paghanga raw sa mga ito ang naging inspirasyon niya para gawing materyales ang mga lokal na produkto sa kaniyang mga disenyo. Hindi lang daw sa ganda kundi pati sa tibay ay nakikipagsabayan ang mga telang gawa natin.

Ipinakilala ni Ditta sa mundo ang galing ng Pilipino sa pamamagitan ng kanyang “Mariposa” at “Lukot Wrap” na gawa sa “banaca” o banana-abaca fabric.  Ipapakita ni Ditta kay Kara kung paanong ang simpleng balabal ay nagmumukhangelegante at pwede nang ipang-rampa sa engrandeng mga event. Sa isang wrap lang daw ay maraming looks nang pwedeng gawin kaya hindi mo na kailangan ng napakaraming bestida.

Kapansin-pansin ang mga inukit na kahoy sa mga upuan, lamesa at pintuan ng bahay na likha raw ng mga iskultor mula sa Betis, Pampanga. Ang larawan ngkanyang ina, obra ng national artist na si FredericoAguilar Alcuaz.  May ilang paintings din si Ditta na siya mismo ang gumawa at ipininta sa pineapple fabric. May showroom din ng kanyang koleksyonpara naman sa kaniyang mga kliyente. Sadya raw na hindi pinuno ng muwebles ang loob para mas maging maaliwalas.


It’s A Wrap! (A Dita Sandico Wrap)

Ditta Sandico Channel

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, one of the things I like to do is to check out the Filipiniana section of department stores. Seeing all the new ways they use our local material never fails to excite and inspire me.

In Rustan’s, I always enjoy checking out Dita Sandico’s items. The concept of her designs are simple and easy to wear but the details of her pieces are what truly make a difference. As designer Charles Eames once said, “the details are not the details, they make the design”. Her signature piece is the wrap, which she has been making for over 15 years and now comes in several styles. The wraps are made from banana abaca fiber.

They already look great in plain colors, but if you want even more oomph to your outfit, they also offer wraps with patterns and embellishments. What I find really cool about this piece is that it can be worn several ways, so you have the option of changing things up whenever you feel like it.

Another versatile piece she makes is the visor. I’ve always had a thing for hats and, like the wrap, this makes local material look really chic. Some might think the design is weird but it’s really quite clever. You can bunch the folds up together or spread them out, depending on the amount of coverage you need.


Textifood: food for clothing

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The Milan 2015 exposition, which has been running for the last six months, has seen 140 countries showcasing its most innovative and effective technologies that could provide solutions to one of the biggest global problems – guaranteeing everyone healthy, safe and sufficient food without harming the balance of the planet.

But it wasn’t the solution to this problem that really caught the attention of so many people.  And it wasn’t just one problem that was solved but two.

Fashion, as with all industry, has a responsibility to give back what it takes. And what does the industry take most of? Natural fibres – used to create the clothing we wear. With companies now pouring money into research and development schemes, it seems we have found a solution – clothes made from food.

This may sound like something only Lady Gaga could pull off, but this is slightly more innovative than the infamous meat dress. Within the expo, Pavilion France together with Lille Europe put on the incredibly successful exhibition entitled Textifood, with the objective to demonstrate the different possibilities of creating textiles from the food waste industry.

Roughly one third (approximately 1.3bn tonnes) of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets wasted. And with it taking approximately 7,000L of water to produce a single pair of jeans and 2,700L to produce one shirt, not to mention the long process of dying the fibres, this innovative way of creating textiles could be the answer to two major sustainability problems the world has.

Lille3000, a cultural programme within the city of Lille, sought out designers and stylists to produce designs using fibres that have been harvested in part or solely from food residues. Such tasty fibres included orange, lemon, pineapple, banana, coconut, nettles, algae, mushroom, coffee, rice, soya, maize, beet, wine, beer, fish and shellfish.

“These textile fibres come from all continents,” said a Lille3000 spokesperson. “They are studied by researchers around the world to meet the needs of an increasingly responsible world.”

Designers such as Em Riem and Ditta Sandico created dresses made from banana silk fibre. The produced fabric has a silky finish, is flexible and waterproof, and is already in use in Japan, Nepal and the Philippines.

Other designers such as Christine Phung and Moragne Baroghel-Crucq collaborated to create an organic dress made from metal thread, flax yarns and fish collagen. While eco clothing brand, L’Herbe Rouge, made clothing created entirely from coffee – weaved, dyed and finished in a coffee bath.

This kind of technology is still in the early stages of development but it does give us a hopeful insight into the types of alternative textiles available. Sustainability in many industries through collaboration is now a reality and effectively provides us with many solutions to the world’s problems. The future suddenly looks (and tastes) a little bit better now.