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Cache Apparels. Philippine finery: Ditta Sandico’s handbags


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


Cache Apparels. Philippine finery: Ditta Sandico’s handbags

Ditta Sandico Channel

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.