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ANCX: Men can be ‘arte’ too: Why guys need to explore shopping at ongoing Artefino

ANCX: Men can be ‘arte’ too: Why guys need to explore shopping at ongoing Artefino

There’s no denying the yearly all-Filipino bazaar Artefino is made for female shoppers, but this hasn’t stopped its organizers from giving space to menswear via The Barracks, a special curated space that showcases clothes and accessories for men. 

Put together by the always dapper Monchet Olives—no, the pandemic has not discouraged the guy from being his creative, stylish self—The Barracks gives the occasional Artefino male guest who happened to tag along with wifey or mommy a reason to whip out his credit card, too. There are nice polos here, hats, shoes, bags, even rings and cuff links, not to mention incredibly roguish furniture from Prizmic and Brill. 

And the #PinoyPride aspect of it all is always kept fashionably subtle. 

This year’s Barracks set-up is a little bigger than in previous Artefinos, and filled with decidedly more items to choose from. The theme, says Monchet, is “BoBo chic.” BoBo, short for bourgeois and Bohemian, is a term coined at the dawn of the millennium by the American writer David Brooks to pertain to a rising Western social figure who works hard, plays hard but also thinks about the two essential Es—enlightenment and the environment. 

But don’t worry, we’re only talking clothes here, plus a few really cool accessories from 13 Lucky Monkey, funky hand painted vintage furniture pieces from Travefund by Siriusdan, and an intriguing notebook or two from Manila Paper Trail so the BoBo can have something to write his deep thoughts in. 

Monchet says there’s a very strong laidback feel to his selections this time—“I didn’t wanna do anything formal,” he tells ANCX in an interview while he simultaneously oversees a shoot— beginning with Orias’ cool eyelet polos, and Rhett Eala’s easy embroidered tops. 

Even his bottoms are exclusively short pants, as can be seen in his collaboration with local brand Guppy. The collab gave birth to two toile-de-jouy-style prints which Monchet calls Los Rancheros (showing a Masbate cowboy image) and Sa Kabukiran (depicting an Amorsolo-type harvest scene). The resulting printed textiles have been translated into a six-piece collection of shorts, collared beach shirts, and sarongs that could also work for women. 

Another collaboration, this time with Patty Go of The Shape Shop, has produced some pretty interesting activewear pieces that come in a largely neutral palette. And a meeting of minds with a niece from Ash & Muff has given birth to a throw-in-anything bag that puts a much-appreciated sheen to utilitarian chic. 

The wealth of bag options in this edition of The Barracks—there’s also a “boater” bag inspired by the L.L. Bean everyday tote—is Monchet’s reaction to the proliferation of men wanting to bring their work, regimen, and obsessions with them everywhere they go these days. The bag has indeed become a necessary aspect of the modern, pandemic-scarred, young man’s wardrobe. After all, who knows where we will get locked down next? 

Monchet’s friend Ton Lao, stylist to stars like Piolo Pascual, has also ventured into making clothes, apparently, and counts his Ten MVN embroidered tops—one of a kind numbers bearing Philippine flower designs on the pockets—as part of the items guys must check out at The Barracks. We can totally see Harry Styles putting on one of Ton’s bejeweled lace shirts on top of a white tank—which, as everyone from Refinery29 to Vogue to the Wall Street Journal is saying, is 2022’s biggest fashion statement. 

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