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TOFA recipient champions Filipino artisans

Maria Victoria Santos Mejia, a resident of Marikina who moved to California, humbly accepted her award at the latest edition of The Outstanding Filipino Awards (TOFA) recently held at the Zipper Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. She was named an awardee for fashion and style, particularly for her Viktorya Minaudière bag collection “featuring shell craftsmanship by Cebu Artisans,” or as host Boy Abunda mentioned before she took the stage for a few words.

Minaudière is a jeweled evening bag for women of high taste.

Maria Victoria’s inclusion in this year’s list of TOFA recipients is largely attributed to the classy creations being produced by her accessory designing Victoria’s Craft which she founded, and already won awards for novelty bags that attracted socialites and notable people in Hollywood. The Philippines’ King of Talk himself stated that she “aims to export her products globally through handcrafted earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.”

The 2023 TOFA awardee for fashion and style Maria Victoria Santos Mejia (left) with singer-actress Anna Maria Perez de Tagle

“I’m truly humbled and grateful to receive this prestigious award. Thank you TOFA board members for giving me this opportunity to be acknowledged in such a meaningful way,” she said in her acceptance speech during the 13th staging of the highly anticipated annual Fil-Am special held on the West Coast for the first time.

According to Hollywood journalist Janet Susan R. Nepales, Maria Victoria has been getting accolades for her “one-of-a-kind designs.” She wrote on goldenglobes.com that the rising fashion figure had launched her bag collection at the Philippine Fashion and Cultural Expo in L.A. just late last year. The latter also showcased her creations at the Musa fashion show in New York.

The TOFA awardee expressed pride in saying that her products are “proudly Filipino and handmade.” She has collaborated with artisans who in return benefit from the livelihood opportunities that come with it.

She noted on the site www.viktorya-minaudiere.com that “each item is passed on from the skilled hands of Filipino artisans to the generous customer who becomes the proud owner of a masterfully crafted minaudière.”

Maria Victoria added, “This recognition holds a very special place in my heart as it acknowledges the incredible skills and talents of Filipino artisans to bring life to my brand.”

She mused that her daughter Gabrielle’s debut party, wherein fashion was definitely a strong statement, led to the birth of the Viktorya Minaudière brand which she likes to describe as “a testament to the power of creativity that pushes the boundaries of fashion and design.”

Back in the Philippines, the family woman studied medical technology and worked as a medical representative. Now in California, she works as a laboratory assistant at a hospital while pursuing her love for design that made her presence in the Fil-Am community significantly felt.

It should be no surprise if the brand literally handcrafted by Victoria’s Craft, and manifested through Viktorya Minaudière, will become a household name in her beloved country of origin.

“TOFA has not only recognized my American Dream but also validated the dream of Victoria’s Craft artisans from the Philippines,” she noted, “This recognition has provided a platform for us to showcase Viktorya Minaudière’s unique style and creativity.” — Yugel Losorata

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Credit belongs to: www.manilastandard.net

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