Fashion and Beauty

Binibining Pilipinas: Filipino designer defends gown from Indonesian ripoff claims

Jan Milo Severo - Philstar.com
Benj Leguiab design for Hannah Arnold
Binibining Pilipinas 2019 candidate Hannah Arnold from Masbate is wearing a gown by Benj Leguiab inspired by the culture of the Cordilleras. Leguiab was accused online of having copied an earlier work of an Indonesian designer.
Benj Leguiab via Facebook/Released

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino fashion designer Benj Leguiab IV, who made the national costume of Binibining Pilipinas 2019 candidate Hannah Arnold from Masbate, aired his side after an Indonesian designer accused him of copying an earlier Indonesian candidate's gown.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Benj said the costume argued that he designed the gown purely out of inspiration by the Cordillera region. He also included old photos of his design inspiration.


“I would like everybody to know that this National Costume was inspired and conceptualized purely from the heritage and rich culture of Cordillera,” Benj said.

He explained that the highlight of his design was the traditional banga which was a common domestic and commercial item back in the day.

“The banga concept was inspired by the Lady who selling bangas on their house yard, placing the banga on the banig which one of their source of income. In 1860 woman in Kalinga started to make their own way to help their families even they are at home like selling bangas, abaniko, banig and other tools for daily lives,” he added.

“Banga is used to fetch water and commonly used as water storage in Luzon. It also became a national symbol in the entire archipelago,” he said.

“It is the highlands of Cordillera that inspired me to inculcate their rich culture by just using weaved fabric—mostly used to cover their bodies,” he added.

Benj also said that he drew inspiration from the oldest mambabatok of the tribe, Apo Whang Od as she is considered as Cordillera’s pride because. He cited her “worth emulating tattoo designs that embody her work of art.”

He also used chicken feathers as a costume accessory symbolizing the colors of Cordillera's heritage.

“This national costume hopes to inspire everyone to appreciate our heritage. Remember that even the smallest of places can make a mesmerizing impact to every Filipino,” he said.


15.10.17 - Dear Indonesia, thank you for making our motherland national costume vote 7 million tonight. I'm very grateful here. Thank you for your support, your effort, your endless shares, your love, your kindness for me and Indonesia. I'm more than honour to wear Indonesia sash, the wonderful country who dazzled me since i was born and now moreover i'm so proud to know that i got your support. Thank you and thank you again here from Phu Quoc. The struggle is not over yet, voting will be continued to find top 10 starts on 16 October, so please do continue to pray and support me. Let's walk together for our country to sounds out loud in the global stage ???? #dazzlingdea #puteriindonesiaperdamaian #missgrandinternational2017 #indonesia ?????????

A post shared by Dea Rizkita (@dearizkita) on


Indonesian fans pointed out on social media that Miss Masbate’s costume was similar to that of Miss Grand International Indonesia 2017 Dea Rizkita.






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