Manila Fashion Festival: Not just about beading and couture
Chonx Tibajia (The Philippine Star) - November 5, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - As close as we are to all the international brands these days, there remains a vast disconnect between consumers and the local fashion industry. It seems only the insiders, the friends of friends of friends, have a true and tangible link to our own designers. Is it only really a misconception that Filipino designs are reserved for the runway, pageants, and exotic royalty? Or that, in order to earn a place here, our designers must first be recognized for their talent someplace else?

Right on time — just as our favorite brands from abroad begin to invade us (P.S., nobody is complaining here) — artist management group Art Personas is rousing a blitzkrieg of sorts through the Manila Fashion Festival. The objective: to make local fashion accessible again and bridge the gap between designers and consumers here and abroad.

Of course, the first question that comes to mind is, how will it be different from other fashion events that hold fashion shows that feature local designers? Ronnie Cruz, CEO of Art Personas, says, “In terms of aesthetic, every show is different. We are not in competition with anyone — it’s nice to have more platforms for showcasing Philippine fashion. But the main difference is that we’re really giving designers artistic freedom to direct their own show, choose their own models, create their runway set up, the music, the videos, etc. Our intention is to collaborate with everyone.”

The three-day fashion event will feature a roster of designers that includes Art Personas in-house brand Arin, go-kart champion-turned-designer Mark Bumgarner, internationally acclaimed couturier Veejay Floresca, Project Runway talents Jaz Cerezo and Cheetah Rivera, convertible clothing master Yay Clothing by Yevgeniya Alexandrovna Yushkova, 29-year-old couturier Anthony Ramirez, style expert in modern classic and structured creations Vania Romoff, interior design professional famed for ultra-feminine designs Chris Diaz, club glam authority Sassa Jimenez, luxury and street wear leader Renan Pacson, and formal wear connoisseur Pablo Cabahug. The designers will each be presenting full collections of ready-to-wear designs.

Manila Fashion Festival will spearhead an exhibit that will feature the latest designer collections, fair booths, and fashion shows. The unveiling of the images from the artistic photo shoots from the local counterpart of the modeling competition will also take place in the fashion happening. On the other hand, the event itself will also be the simultaneous launch of Art Personas’ homegrown ready-to-wear fashion brand that highlights bespoke designer clothes, which beautifully blend feminine aesthetics and boyish vibes in clothes perfect for the young and trendy women aged 20 to 29 years.

In partnership with Korea Model Association, an organization under the Korea Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Manila Fashion Festival will also launch Face Of The Philippines which is set to choose the next catwalk models in a culminating night that will award two ramp stunners among the 12 male and 12 female supermodel aspirants who will represent the country in the 10th Asia Model Festival Awards in Seoul, Korea in April 2015. The winners will compete with other international models from different countries, such as China, Japan, Malaysia, Hongkong, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the like. Prior to the three-day affair, seven challenges will test the skills of the 24 contestants, where the activities range from modeling workshop to makeover stints, various photo shoots, and runway trials.  

“Manila Fashion Festival is scheduled for next year. However, the Korea Model Association, together with our international partner One Globe Limited, came to us saying that they needed to do a model search so there can be a representative next year. So we started doing the model search and we had to have a runway challenge. So I called Anthony Ramirez and said we need him to do a show, which we will fund. I didn’t realize he was going to get 12 designers and I said, what the heck, let’s do this and move the schedule forward,” says Cruz.

Manila Fashion Festival runs from Nov. 11 to 13 at 2285 Green Sun Building, Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City. For information, like Manila Fashion Festival on Facebook.

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