Photo by SHERWIN MARION T. VARDELEONNATIONAL Artist for Literature Francisco Sionil Jose is the fifth addition to Freeway’s National Artist Collection Series (Nacs). The clothing company launched the F. Sionil Jose line at The Row in Glorietta 5, Makati City, last May 31.

Included in the F. Sionil Jose collection are shirts, office wear, and semi-formal dresses that bear excerpts from some of Jose’s prose works. Artworks visualizing his famous fiction also appear on casual tees, blouses, polos and skirts.

“Now, I can say that I’m fashionable,” Jose said.

The launching kicked off with an introduction of his life and works and was followed by a Tertulia, a traditional ceremony where people gather around a storyteller while live music is played in the background.

The tribute also included a reading of Jose’s pieces by actress Cherie Gil and TV host and former Varsitarian writer Lourd de Veyra.

After complimenting Freeway’s efforts to instill a sense of nationalism among the youth, Jose concluded the program’s question and answer portion with a simple but striking statement.

“First, we have to be proud that we are Filipinos,” Jose said.

Inaugurated in 2009 with the launch of the fashion line of Thomasian writer and National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin, another Thomasian National Artist, visual artist Ang Kiukok, also has a Freeway line.

Sherry Gotuaco, the woman behind Freeway, opened the store in 1997 to entice young adults to both trendy and classic clothing. After establishing Freeway’s name, Gotuaco ventured out of the usual “celebrity” label by launching Nacs, which is released semi-annually. Other National Artists that have been spotlighted by Freeway are National Artist for Literature Jose Garcia Villa and National Artist for Fashion Design Ramon Oswald Valera.

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It is through Nacs that Freeway is giving people the chance to proudly display Philippine culture and art on a day-to-day basis. ALEXANDRA A. DIMATERA. Photos courtesy of FREEWAY

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