Moms and Dads

Switz It Up With “Glamma” Pamela Gotangco Hupp

Switzerland-based fashion designer, Pamela Gotangco Hupp, spreads the spirit of a “glamma” with her family through her brand, PamPinay.

“If not now, when?” says PamPinay’s Founder, Pamela Gotangco Hupp with a challenging smile, while stashing away her favored Tom Ford lipstick. “Glamming up empowers us women to find ways we can express ourselves boldly.”

Glamming up implies an “entire fashion overhaul,” which can be paralyzing. But that’s not the case. Some of these small changes can include adding an exciting statement accessory, piece, or even both. And according to the Philippine LEAF Awardee, the courage to slowly make these changes is part of the process for any woman who wishes to find their unique style.

“There’s a joy in defying the traditional fashion for a woman her age,” she interjects.

As a glamma (short for “glamorous grandma”), it’s more than wearing clothes that showcase her vibrant personality. There’s that conscious decision to set a dynamic that transcends family and love, she says. Especially with her 4-year-old granddaughter, Aryana Grace, who had proudly opened PamPinay’s mini-fashion shows in one of her bespoke creations.

“A glamma is a woman who embraces her uniqueness as a grandmother,” she adds. “Someone who is able to express individuality and personality while fostering close and meaningful relationships with their grandchildren,” Pamela says. “We won’t be simply someone our grandchildren will remember as the old person that they mano to.”

Source: Pamela Gotangco Hupp

Before the glamma, there was a mama

But when she’s not attending to her “glamma duties,” Pamela enjoys the rewarding experience of marrying two cultures when it came to raising her family in Switzerland. After her German husband received an employment offer from a big consulting firm, they agreed that their family would thrive best in Switzerland—the country that is home to the Swiss Alps, one of the highest mountain ranges in Europe.

“Switzerland has always been on the top of the list for many compelling reasons,” the mom of three shares. “From having a high quality of living to the fantastic educational system, safe environment, rich culture, and heritage, it also has a fantastic landscape for outdoor sports for the entire family.”

At first sight, the wintry country’s culture may look starkly different from what is familiar—especially for those who are accustomed to the welcoming tropical warmth offered by the Philippines.

But there are striking similarities, says Pamela. “Especially the shared emphasis on family values, the importance of familial bonds, and a dedication to hard work and family time—the difference may be more on how schedules are set and organized.”

These similarities help curb the longing for home besides attending the Filipino-organized communities, Pamela believes. “The kapwa tao culture is very much present in our community in Switzerland. During summertime, our neighbors would drop a basket of their harvest of cherries and figs on our doorstep and I would reciprocate. Even with the strong sense of kapwa, they respect our privacy.”

While they have more diverse traditions, perspectives, and beliefs than one family, it’s their family core values that ultimately remain regardless of culture. “This includes respect for elders, honesty, integrity, love one another, and faith in God,” Pamela enumerates. “And although I had my fair share of challenges, there is nothing so big that love, patience, and understanding cannot resolve.”

Even the Filipino values of pakikisama, malasakit sa kapwa, and pagkapakumbaba have a place in their small town home. “That’s how my parents raised my four sisters and me,” Pamela intimates. “These are the values that set us up for life to be socially responsible and caring individuals.”

Source: Pamela Gotangco Hupp

Pamela Gotangco Hupp: Switz-ing it up at home

Just as close family ties are the norm in the Philippines, their family life in Switzerland revolves around the home.

“It’s where our hearts find comfort in one another,” Pamela explains. “We spend most of our free time at home, but we love having family and friends come over to visit us. Our home is the place we can create the most memories with one another.”

Pamela recounts the many times her family has hosted BBQ parties during the summer in their garden, which overlooks the Swiss Alps. During the harsh winters, however, it’s raclette or fondue on the table.

And while she jokes that although the family can’t sing karaoke during Christmas parties, she’s sure everyone is enjoying themselves—including her youngest son, who partly became the reason why she and her husband love hosting parties.

“Our youngest has autism so, he’s most comfortable mingling with our family and friends in the comfort of our home,” Pamela reveals. “My two older kids join, too! My daughter, who lives with her own family about 15 kilometers away from us…she always spends weekend lunches with us. [Meanwhile], my son and I are both art enthusiasts—sharing an atelier and supporting each other’s galleries and exhibits.”

When parties are not in full swing, however, Pamela and her family enjoy the seasonal sights Switzerland’s natural landscape offers. Winter offers her family some skiing season fun in the mountains. During the summer, it’s strolling through the rivers and forests surrounding their little town. Harvesting from her garden has also become one of her sources of joy – one that she also shares with her granddaughter.

“Besides the artichoke and small apple tree, I have my pinakbet patch where I grew my tomatoes, okra, aubergine (a plumper version of the native eggplant or talong), and ampalaya. Though I haven’t been successful with my ampalaya,” Pamela laments. “But the other ingredients grew well during summer time. I have a few vines of grapes that are always bountiful. My granddaughter, Ary, loves to harvest the tomatoes and grapes.”

But even she didn’t know that her little craving for pinakbet would lead to the creation of PamPinay.

Source: Pamela Gotangco Hupp

PamPinay: Elevating Modern Filipiniana to the Global Stage

As the home to many renowned fashion brands, one would think that Europe wouldn’t accept the Modern Filipiniana. Yet its inherent style, timeless elegance, and universal appeal in terms of aesthetic and wearability—coupled with sustainability—has turned many heads in many functions.

“Especially if it’s following sustainable practices like up-cycling, Europeans are mindful of how their consumption habits affect the environment,” Pamela explains.

Exclusivity, individuality, and sustainability—these three principles are woven into the intricate and colorful indigenous textiles that adorn the many PamPinay’s interpretations of traditional Filipiniana pieces. But it’s different for women with Filipino roots, Pamela points out.

“PamPinay calls also every Filipina who proudly showcases her heritage,” she says proudly. “She does so through our contemporary interpretations of Filipiniana adorned with our original art prints and celebrates Filipino culture in all its vibrancy and diversity. She is a proud advocate for cultural appreciation and diversity.”

And to think that all this started with a craving for pinakbet! “It was a visual rant,” she admits, laughing. “I had the urge to be reckless, to be free, and to be playful when I started painting it. The amazing part was that my family and friends loved it after I shared it on social media! That painting, after some encouragement from my partner in PamPinay, Christian Belaro, eventually birthed the three brands.”

She adds, “I must say—not bad for being honest about wanting pinakbet!”

Empowering ladies in fashion

Four major fashion shows, 112 yards of fabric, and 28 product lines later, Pamela happily celebrates PamPinay’s third anniversary. Each collection—from the the PamPinay Collection to the PamPinay Curated Treasures, and the PamPinay Collaboration Couture—has a way of empowering women.

She declares, “PamPinay hopes to give women at home and artisan weavers opportunities to earn money while paying tribute to sustainability. But this is just the beginning!”

Out of all her shows, however, the Lumiere show holds a special place in Pamela’s heart. “It was illuminating for us at PamPinay,” she recalls fondly. “When Ambassador Alain Gaschen of [the] Swiss Embassy Manila offered to showcase PamPinay during the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Swiss and Filipino Diplomatic Relations in 2022, I wanted the collection to reflect the influence of Switzerland to me as a Filipina artist slash designer living in Switzerland.”

Creating a Modern Filipiniana collection composed of up-cycled and deconstructed pieces was quite the challenge for the emerging fashion designer. But it was fascinating, Pamela reveals.

“Modern Filipiniana has many beautiful aspects. It transcends fleeting fads and trends, embodying a timeless allure that remains relevant across generations and captivating Filipinos of all ages all over the world,” she says. “Regardless of age, body type, or personal style, it has a transformative effect and enhances the natural beauty of the wearer.”

Her children and granddaughter seem to think so, too! “My son and daughter are PamPinay’s ambassadors and have walked the brand. Just recently, Ary also opened our small Christmas fashion show in Zurich for PamPinay family and friends.”

Source: Pamela Gotangco Hupp

What’s next for PamPinay?

As PamPinay continues to grow and elevate the Modern Filipiniana style, glamma Pam offers sage advice for those starting out. Trust and mindfulness are her needle and thread or the pencil and paper to any of her bespoke designs. “Embrace the feedback and constructive criticism but never forget your unique voice,” she advises. “These will help you navigate and rejoice in your design choices.”

She adds, “Also never forget: be proud of your accomplishments. Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments as a designer, no matter how big or small. Each design, collection, or runway show represents a milestone in your journey as a creative professional. Your hard work, dedication, and passion birthed these designs. Let those pieces fuel your future inspirations and creations!”

More fashion moms?

Rosanna Ocampo-Rodriguez: 15 Years of Fashion
Dona Lim: Designing a Balancing Act Between Fashion and Family
Making Mom Style Easy, Fun, and Empowering

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