Serendipitous Meeting with Kababayan Lala Dudley

Arts District Co-op

Not all weekends are spent with Ericke, but when she’s not attending festivals or out on camping trips, we go to places we both enjoy like dessert shops and flea markets. LA is big, but on our first stop last Saturday, the Arts District Co-op in DTLA, we found Laoagueña Lala Dudley, daughter of fashion designer Lulu Raval and granddaughter of former Ilocos Norte OIC-Governor Castor Raval. There she was at her own space in the warehouse turned flea market that’s actually cozier than a Sunday flea market. I just knew it was her when I saw the very current kimono robes on display. Call it intuition.

Lala Dudley

After hearing about the designing family when I was still in Laoag, I tried googling them once and their flowy kimono robes stuck in my head.

The meeting was kinda funny. She looked surprised when I started talking in Ilocano.

Lala’s one-of-a-kind creations range from vintagey with lace inserts to embroidered gauzy cover ups, tasseled bohemian prints, and heavy poncho coats. I had to have two (a maroon with leaf embroidery and the blue in photo below). Ericke bought a sweet number in antique white and another in summery washed out pastel.

Lala Dudley @ Arts District Co-op

A sewing machine stands atop her desk. She says she’s been stationed at the Arts District Co-op for a year now. “How many kimono robes have you sold? 500?” I asked.  “More. I’ve sent to countries like the Middle East.”

“Would you believe I started with zero? I first sold my own things,” she tells about her humble beginnings. In my head — #inspiring #lifegoal.

The meeting was serendipity at its finest. I felt pride for a kababayan.

SalvagedArts District Co-opUsed tarps

The vegan bags at the other store are made with vinyl tarps. I’m not sure if they were repurposed from used tarps. Independent and local are accurate words for the vendors.

Untitledwall art

In the block…

Architecture and Design Museum Los AngelesLA StreetDSC_0443-2
Photographed by Tina and Ericke Tan
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2015

Arwat by Jaynny Lao opens shop in Laoag

Jaynny Lao Creations

Much sought after fashion designer Jaynny Lao is now the proud shopkeeper of Arwat. In the vernacular, the term fashionably means garb. She’s the best model for her fatally feminine designs.

There is a story behind the creation of the black dress in ruffled fabric (in photo above). It was made in 25 minutes flat for her sister-in law who needed something new to wear to an event. That’s how passionate and creative she can be with her craft

I was pretty late for the party. As always, the lovely family of Jaynny were there to celebrate with her.

Congrats, Jaynny!

Jaynny LaoArwatVince, Jaynny and KenArwatwith HandyFoneAlvin and BrandonArwat Opening
Photographed by Brandon and Blauearth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Style File: Jaynny Lao, fashion designer

Lovely fashion designer Jaynny Lao.

Laoag has become its own adjective. The city shines brighter with local talents such as Jaynny Lao. She’s a legit Ilocano celebrity and I can certify her popularity. My first feature about her designs is a most-read story on this blog and she’s been on the front page of, thanks to’s feature story on her.

Caught up with her just a while back.

How many friends do you have on Facebook?
15 thousand. I have 5,000 friends on each of my 3 accounts.

What is the one thing you will never wear?
A skimpy skirt, ‘yon sobrang iksi.

If you were left with only two things in the world, what would those two things be?
Lipstick and fabrics.

What are your three favorite beauty products?
Concealer, lipstick and MAC Fluidline Eyeliner Gel.

I’ve always liked your nice and luscious lips. I’m curious, what’s your favorite lip product?
San San #5 Sheener.

Hi-heels or flats?
Flats ‘coz I’m already tall.

What’s your least favorite color?
Girl Scout green.

Is your multi-way dress an original design?
Yes. I saw this dress worn by Regine Velasquez and I was figuring out how it was done, but then I came up with the Convertible Wrap Dress after several experiments.

How much would it cost me to have one customized?
P2500.00 only.

The convertible wrap dress, with lavish draping, at Jaynny’s fashion show for the Nokia Night. (Photo by Xian Vaughn)

What’s your fashion philosophy?
I love Vera Wang’s fashion outlook that she loves the idea that something is practical and still looks good and that a design should be something a woman can dance in.

Who’s your fashion/style icon?
Regine Velasquez because she looks good in everything she wears.

What’s on your iPod?
Regine Velasquez. I am corny; I love OPM.

There you have it, Jaynny Lao fans:) Hope you enjoyed our little talk as much as I enjoyed firing away at her.

You can reach Jaynny Lao at the Vertext Main Office, ground floor of the JBL Bldg.,  M.H. Del Pilar St., Brgy. 18, Laoag City.

Photos of white and tan convertible wrap dresses by Blauearth. Additional photos courtesy of Jaynny Lao.
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012