BY THE EDITION
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JL JAVIER
Found in a nondescript building along one of Legazpi Village’s alternately bustling and quiet streets, Tropa purveys a carefully curated selection of pieces from a number of local brands. According to Carla Sison, its striking, willowy co-owner, the mixed-label store’s curious name came about organically. “When we began making plans for the store, we realized that we were able to create almost everything we needed through our network of friends,” she explains. “Using the name tropa felt like the best way to convey that. We wouldn’t be here without the amazing people we work with.”
The airy, spacious boutique—all white walls and strategically placed tropical plants—houses jewelry from independent labels like Nami and Pranca, clothing from Carl Jan Cruz and Eairth by Vivien Ramsay, and a small range of homeware, with a few other brands coming in within the year. “We wanted to create a platform that could showcase contemporary Filipino products, because the current retail environment doesn’t make it easy for young new brands to find brick-and-mortar distribution,” Sison says. “As much as [shopping] online has added a great new avenue, there is still so much in the experience that is lost without any real-life interaction.” There’s also a line of rattan body bags and small capiz shell handbags that might have looked dated just a few years ago but have now become the height of cool. “We try to find products that represent the tension between the old traditions and the modern world.”
“As much as [shopping] online has added a great new avenue, there is still so much in the experience that is lost without any real-life interaction.” —Carla Sison
In late 2016, Sison also started her own clothing line called Araw, a vintage-inspired brand of basic pieces in interesting cuts. To suit the tropical climate, every single piece is crafted in linen, which has become the signature of Araw. Sison’s partner and co-owner Borgy Manotoc works with her on Tropa’s in-house label of wardrobe staples made with conscientiously sourced fabrics. A recent introduction from Sison is the sustainable fashion line two point o, conceived specifically to “utilize our access to wonderful, dead stock fabrics.”
Says Sison, “There are lots of great lifestyle stores in the world, but we just wanted to make sure we represented our unique perspective of the tropical paradise we live in.”
Tropa is located at 117 Aguirre Street, Legazpi Village, Makati.