The Collaboration of RIIR and Oliver Tolentino For MaKULAY Collection

 RIIR designer line ups the fashion ante with therecent unveiling of its latest collection, an awe-inspiring collaboration with no less than internationally-acclaimed Filipino couture designer Oliver Tolentino last May 17, 2011.The MaKULAY, as a wordplay of  "ma” means mother and "kulay” as color, the collection aims to pay tribute to the remarkable mothers in Philippine history through the exquisite splash of colour in Tolentino’s design. 

Tolentino, one of the most celebrated international haute designers today is a homegrown talent whose slew of recognitions include being named Designer of the Week in March, 2011 at the prestigious Fashion Week El Paseo in Palm Springs, California, USA; winner of the Sustainable Eco Fashion Award in 2010 at the Islands of the World Fashion Week in the Bahamas and one of the finalists at the Oscars Designer Challenge in 2010, among others. 

His collections have been regularly featured in international glossy titles like Beverly Hills Lifestyle, Serendipity, and Hong Kong Tatler. His creations have been worn by three Grammy winners, two Emmy winners, an Oscar nominee, an NAACP Image Award winner, and by attendees at the esteemed Oscars and the Golden Globes Awards. Hollywood celebrities Cee Lo Green, Amber Riley, Jenna Ushkowitz, Sophia Bush, Kimora Lee Simmons, Vivica Fox, Patty Austin, Macy Gray, Arnel Pineda, Lea Salonga, Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Camille Grammer, Niecy Nash, Tatyana Ali, Eva La Rue, Wendy Davis, and Aly Michalka have all worn his designs.

Tolentino is known for promoting local fabrics and Filipino culture through his pieces. He is a staunch advocate of eco-ethical style, a coalescence of fashion, social responsibility and preservation of the environment.

An interview with Oliver Tolentino as a RIIR Partner Designer for MaKULAY Collection;

Q: What was the inspiration behind your collection?

A: My inspiration was joy and hope.  I wanted the women making the bags, who may feel they live in a grey world, to work with beautiful, cheerful colors and see the possibilities of a vibrant future.

I designed with texture in mind and created different shapes so each bag would be interesting and I wanted them to stand out from the typical brown, tan, black handbags.  I hope they will be conversation starters and confident women will happily and proudly share the RIIR story behind the bags.  Considering that each bag also creates positive impact for communities and the environment, I wanted to create bags where a woman might want to collect all of them since different size bags are paired with different outfits and moods.

Q. How did the partnership with RIIR come about? What made you decide to partner with RIIR for this particular collection?

A: RIIR contacted me and asked me to consider being their featured designer.  My business advisor researched them and started the initial discussions.  He and I are big believers in the "Teach them to fish" philosophy of the Bible.  Don't just give someone fish or money, teach them how to fish or make money. That's what RIIR is all about.

Q: What are your insights on eco-ethical design (in the Philippines and abroad)?

A: Eco fashion / sustainable fashion is the hottest thing right now and wherever I go I promote our native fabrics.  I personally have introduced them to the fashion dean of Parsons in New York, the owners of Paul Mitchell, an eco fabric charity in Hong Kong, the crowd at the Ronald Reagan 100th birthday gala, and my fashion shows in the Bahamas and Palm Springs.  I get a lot of pride out of exposing what we Filipinos can create to people who have never seen our indigenous fabrics.

Q: Who has greatly influenced you as a designer? Why?

A: My mother.  She was a very creative woman in the province.  She opened my mind to colors because she loved flowers.  We once had a garden full of thousands of different species and colors of roses.

Q: What do you think is the international market's take on your designs? Why?

A: They have been very well received.  I combine the colors and intricate  inishings of the East with the simple luxurious fabric and elegant cut of the West.   It's so hard to find special dresses and gowns with intricate little touches with the quality that goes into hand-made clothes.  Los Angeles has welcomed me with open arms in less than 2 years of business there, and I couldn’t be more proud and thankful.

RIIR is an emerging global designer line that was initially established as a social business enterprise armed with a vision to uplift the poor community of Payatas. Now a global Filipino brand, RIIR is one of the most successful designer lines in the Philippines and Asia that promote eco-ethical lifestyle through its products and business philosophy. To know more about RIIR’s social statement and latest designer collections, log on to

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