Designer Spotlight- Susanne Verello
Milano-trained designer Susanne Verallo takes creative inspiration from the rich culture of the Philippines and the glamour of Italy's fashion capital. Her eponymous accessory label aims to take Filipino craftsmanship to the forefront with creations that are built on heritage, but with a modern and mindful twist.
Local artisans from Cebu, using a technique of traditional shell inlay, meticulously handcraft Susanne’s Collection. Susanne partners with these artisans to support their livelihood and to showcase the unique beauty of Philippine artistry. It’s a tale of sea, style and sustainability.
Cebu is an island right in the middle of the Philippine Archipelago. Its location has given it an abundance of diverse aquatic resources, which has made Cebu home to the country’s shell-craft industry. From its humble beginnings with ‘puka’ shells in the 1980s, Cebu’s seashell handicraft has since evolved to today’s innovative designs used in the fashion, furniture, and home decor industries that are in demand all around the world.
But this steady rise in demand has taken a toll on their seas. Illegal trawling and overfishing have become serious problems, resulting in many seashell species being declared threatened or endangered. Susanne thoughtfully uses reclaimed and repurposed shell, sourcing her materials from the overruns of the furniture and fashion industries.
All Susanne’s jewelry is individually crafted by hand using traditional techniques, with meticulous attention to detail. The process of shell selection, cleaning, polishing, carving, and inlaying may take up to a week for a single piece— the reason her collections are produced in limited numbers. The result is a unique and beautiful piece that helps support artisans and continues to preserve a truly Cebuano craft.
A short video shows more details of the fascinating process of creating these cherished pieces of jewelry.