Creatively Crafted and Curated Clothing that Takes You from the City to the Beach

story by Margaret Joel


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Photo Credit: Anna Cotton

“My thought process is focused on making clothing that can be worn seaside or in the city — or going on and off the island.


Thanks to frequent travels back and forth between San Francisco and the Philippines during her youth, Angela Sison knows a thing or two about transitioning amongst urban and coastal areas. That explains why her clothing line, Conrado, is a true reflection of her character, her roots, and her new life on Martha’s Vineyard.

Page 16 150With an emphasis on clothing that can be worn from the city to the beach, Angela garners inspiration from her treasured Philippines origins. She combines that with similarities she sees on the island and morphs the two together to create the simple, sophisticated, and seamless pieces. Conrado’s collection features clothing that is both functional and fashion forward.

Growing up, Angela’s mother owned a garment factory. That sparked an interest in sewing when Angela was just a young girl. She went on to study fashion merchandising in college, yet later identified her passion for design and switched fields.

“During my junior year while still enrolled at the Academy of Art University in SF, I was inspired by one of my teacher’s experiences of working in New York City. I immediately started sending my resume to brands that I looked up to. I was accepted as an intern at Jason Wu and on a whim, I moved to New York City for the year.”

After finishing college, Angela dreamt of living in Paris and moved there to study French at the Sorbonne. “I really wanted to experience the fashion lifestyle of Paris. Shortly after I met a couple who owns Monsieur Lacenaire, a men’s knitwear brand, and helped them start up the men’s wovens line. In that year, I learned a lot from them- how they started a small brand and ran their business.”

After Paris, Angela landed a steady job designing for Old Navy. While working there and moving amongst the company’s departments, Angela noticed that every season there was one sample for each item and that would be almost 1,000 pieces for each season. These would eventually all be thrown away. “I was mind blown with the amount that was wasted,” Angela recalled.

CONRADO 1.8 test print [Recovered]

Angela also felt that her artistic mind and talents were being wasted in the position. Overworked and unhappy with the lack of personal creativity in the job, she started creating ideas for her own brand. Weekends and after work, Angela labored at home over samples and patterns while dreaming of her future collection.

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Photo Credit: Anna Cotton

When Angela started designing on her own, she found it a challenge as a new designer to find the contacts from textile companies to start her brand. She began partnering with small fabric stores in San Francisco. Angela discovered these boutique stores aligned themselves with jobbers who collected fabrics from other brands and factories. That was when she started connecting with some jobbers her mother knew from the Philippines and began collecting dead stock fabric for her own designs.

“It’s actually a movement now,” Angela explained. “A bunch of designers in New York and LA are using dead stock fabric. I’m proud to be a part of that movement.”

When her boyfriend moved back to Martha’s Vineyard in January 2016, Angela already had a collection that she was waiting to produce. Named after her grandfather, who was a traveler and her inspiration, Conrado was born. It took just one visit for Angela to fall in love with the Vineyard. “I didn’t tell anyone, but I knew one day I was going to move here,” she said with a laugh. “Before I moved to MV, I was already thinking what I could do here,” Angela shared. “I kind of planned it and was contemplating how to build my brand on the island.”

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Photo provided by Conrado

After visiting the Chilmark Flea Market, the Artisans Fair, and Featherstone, Angela knew there was a real opportunity for her clothing brand to flourish on this island. She gave herself six months to make a go of it on the Vineyard, based on the acceptance into the Chilmark Flea Market. She decided to spend a summer on The Vineyard and if it didn’t work out, she would find a job in New York or Boston.

Around April 2016, Angela received word that she was accepted into the Chilmark Flea Market. By the end of May, all her inventory was produced. Angela quit her Old Navy job on June 15 and moved to the island the following week. Five days later, Angela started at the Chilmark Flea Market.

The Chilmark Flea Market vendors welcomed and supported Angela with open arms. Customers, meanwhile, responded positively to her products. Her jumpsuit design dubbed The Wynn sold out all summer long and Angela knew she was in the right place.

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Photo Credit: Anna Cotton

Along with her grandfather’s travel experiences and some cuts that she takes from old photographs, Angela credits The Vineyard as one of her greatest inspirations for Conrado. “I lived in the city in the Philippines, Angela remembered. “The beach was an hour or two away. So, my thought process was making clothing that could be worn seaside or in the city. Living on MV now, it is kind of the same–going on and off the island.”

Angela’s aim is to make her clothing comfortable and functional, but also put together. Conrado styles are all limited in quantity due to the use of dead stock fabric. They are also completely unique due to their interesting silhouettes and fashion-forward architecture. “I think one reason why I transitioned here so easily was my upbringing in two places. I was so used to that back-and-forth switch. That’s me. I can go from whatever to whatever easily. I want people to feel the same way when they wear my clothes.”

Angela’s pieces are still produced at her mother’s workshop in the Philippines, where three to five artisans cut, sew, and package Angela’s pieces. “I grew up with these people. I’m just so happy that I can support them, support myself, and do what I am passionate about.” Angela’s future goals include getting Conrado featured in more stores, to grow the brand’s wholesale presence, and to expand from a primarily seasonal business to a year round one.

The brand currently appears online on Garmentory, as well as in boutiques in Hawaii, California, Utah, Montana, and elsewhere in Massachusetts. Here on MV, Conrado is featured at Citrine in Vineyard Haven, the Chilmark Flea Market, The Annex, and online at Follow the brand on Instagram @shopconrado.