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Article: Keeping Up With Kaftan One

Keeping Up With Kaftan One

Keeping Up With Kaftan One

A symbol of exoticism and a bohemian lifestyle, over the years, kaftan has become the catchall term in fashion for any kind of loose-fitting robe or tunic—often used to describe a number of different garments of Middle Eastern and North African origination. While it may have its roots in the ancient lands of Fertile Crescent, this multitasking garment remains relevant to this day. Doing triple duty as a beach coverup, a party dress, and everything in between, the kaftan is a perfect travel partner.

Former Philippine senator turned fabric collector and designer: Nikki Coseteng makes kaftans collected during her trips from around the world

This is exactly why Nikki Coseteng started Kaftan One, a passion she began during the beginning of the pandemic, which became a productive hobby.

During the beginning of the lockdown, the former senator and congresswoman started desiging all the fabrics she has collected from her many previous travels. She once said in an interview, "I remembered my two longtime seamstresses who had no clients because of COVID. I designed my fabrics into kaftans and felt happy giving them incomes. I thought that since we were in a lockdown and imprisoned at home, we might as well look not shabby every day. I had several new kaftans for myself, I discarded my old dusters and house dresses, which looked pretty depressing!"

L-R: Delphine, P16,000; Sam, P12,000; Shakira, P10,000; Kaylani, P8,000

Before she knew it, she had created numerous kaftans. When asked why she opted to design this type of garment, she pointed out, "Kaftans are so comfortable and so liberating—they hide what you need to hide. Kaftans can be used for casual or elegant events. Perfect for resort wear, too."

And it is indeed as versatile as it can be. Pair it with strappy sandals to make a beautiful beach kaftans outfit. Wear it with a pair of stilettos or high-heeled boots to get a date-night ensemble. Pack a kaftan, style it your way, and voila! You've got yourself a multi-purpose fit. Even for a staycation, it seems perfect as it caters to all your dressing moods and different styles.

L-R: Poppy, P28,000; Kata, P8,000

The kaftans that Nikki designs go well with her collection of beads, which she has been transforming into neckpieces. So she gave her kaftans a brand name: Kaftan One, with a butterfly logo.

When asked why a butterfly, she simply said, "When I see a butterfly appearing, especially when I go to a new place, I feel my mother’s presence. I feel she is with me when I am alone. The butterfly assures me that I am taken care of. I chose it as my logo because the butterfly is graceful, and it has many colors and patterns, just like kaftans. It also symbolizes freedom."

L-R: Charisse, P5,800; Jessica, P11,000; Eloise, P6,000

Nikki believes that the garment is timeless. Kaftan One's design strength lies in the beautiful textiles, more than the tailoring and fits. The politician-turned-designer wanted to make sure that she doesn't just use the right kind of fabric, but also fabrics with designs that tell the culture of the places she's traveled. "Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam have their share of beautiful ikat in woven silk," Nikki explained. "It was my habit to come home with one suitcase of fabrics, aside from my suitcase of personal belongings."

Combine these imported fabrics with her Philippine collection of piña, pinilian, and T’nalak, Kaftan One started to flutter and fly.

Kaftan One is currently available in-stores at Rustan's Makati and Shangri-La Plaza

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