Sometimes, shopping for new clothes or accessories can be a major snoozefest, especially when there’s an ultra-trendy item making the rounds. Whenever that happens, there’s nothing else you’ll see at the mall except for that hot item.
Thankfully, there are events such as Manila Wear at the Manila FAME design exposition. At the recent installment held at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, last month, some of the country’s leading fashion designers showed plenty of alternatives to modern tropical wear with a distinctive Filipino twist.
The Manila Wear Pavilion at the trade show venue truly reflected what Philippine fashion is all about: pieces made for the tropics that are relaxed and unstructured in rich, vibrant colors. The 18 designers turned to the power of Filipino artisanship in crafting their collections, marked by contemporary silhouettes and forward-thinking perspectives, bringing attention to traditional local and regional craftsmanship and production techniques.
Adante Leyesa boasted a collection of innovative, handcrafted accessory pieces made with beads, capiz shells, local weaves and semi-precious stones. His neckpieces reflect artistry, audacity and excitement, scaled and edited with sophisticated.
Amina Aranaz Alunan utilized straw, leather and wooden beads to come up with bags for all occasions in contemporary shapes and sizes. The aesthetic is undeniably Filipino with a lot of flair, ingenuity and color. Meanwhile, Anne Marie Saguil’s structural handbags and purses demonstrate how indigenous materials can be polished and refined to look and feel expensive and luxurious.
Carissa Cruz Evangelista, for her part, showed an array of delicate arts-and-crafts-inspired creations, including clutches, cuffs, pendants and bracelets. Her collection makes generous use of hammered brass dipped in gold and adorned with stones.
Not one to shy away from big and bold designs, Joyce Makitalo’s pieces are dubbed Oriental bohemian due to their talisman-recalling appearance. On the other hand, Ken Samudio fills the void in the local headpiece industry with eccentric and quirky fascinators.
Incorporating plenty of traditional elements into her garments, Len Cabili doesn’t stray too far from her inspiration—Filipiniana—and creates delicate dresses, tunics and other apparel items using the most opulent regional fabrics.
Lulu Tan-Gan’s “Indigenous Couture” collection of local textiles and weaves are made modern with streamlined silhouettes while Maco Custodio’s footwear are daring in terms of being artistic and architectural, yet organic due to their nature-inspired prints and use of natural materials.
Sticking to 100 percent local, Natalya Lagdameo’s luxuriously understated metallic accessories all come from materials sourced within the Philippines, such as brass, bronze, silver, gold, shells, pearls, stones and weaves.
Adding some environmental consciousness to fashion is Twinkle Ferraren, whose island wear are all-natural and organic at heart. Pina, abaca and cotton blends are the choice materials for her light and breezy creations embellished with wooden and coco beads and T’boli bell accents.
With the help of Manila FAME creative director Budji Layug, Manila Wear creative director Josie Natori was indeed successful in continuing to position the Philippines as a destination for unique fashion pieces. Manila FAME, together with its Manila Wear component, is organized by the Trade Department’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, along with the Garments and Textile Industry Development Office.
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