Starweek Magazine

Branded Philippine fashion design

- Francine Medina -
Imagine the piña fiber or the abel Iloco without our creative Filipino fashion designers who promote local weaves in the international market. Would Philippine fashion survive without our fashion designers who are persistent in their participation in trend and trade shows abroad?

Not really. As the members of the Fashion Design Council of the Philippines (fdcp) are proving, creating beautiful clothes does not end with the sketchpad, the last button stitched on some attractive fabric, or even in handing over the final product to a client.

For today’s crop of designers, a broader outlook is a necessity, and precisely why the fdcp was born: to promote Philippine design, locally and globally, as a solid brand.

This vision, this movement has never been more palpable than in fdcp’s forthcoming event called "Metro Wear", a trend show featuring collections for Summer 2004. It gathers an impressive mix of 24 established as well as young designers. "Metro Wear" aims to give the fashion press, buyers and aficionados a survey of current directions in Philippine fashion design. Each designer will present six ensembles each, or a total of 144 clothes that reveal the designers’ distinctive style and craftsmanship, as well as reflect their sustainable marketability to the local and global market.

Leading the group is fdcp president Randy Ortiz, who explains that "Metro Wear" was conceived as a follow through of the council’s well-applauded activity in Shanghai, China. Gathering some of its members for the international show, fdcp staged a fashion show featuring "Manila Wear" at the Shanghai Exhibition Center in March this year.

The show was part of "Ties that Bind," a Philippine trade show organized by the Department of Trade and Industry through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (citem), generally regarded as the country’s premiere promoter of Philippine exports in the international scene.

As a concept, Manila Wear was launched in 1997 as a joint effort of citem and fdcp, created to strengthen Philippine design as a brand and to represent the distinctive style and artistry of Filipino fashion designers in the global market.

"We thought of putting together a series of trend shows that would later on be our local version of Fashion Week," notes Ortiz.

"With ‘Metro Wear’, the fdcp would like to showcase not only the talents of its members but also point out the harmonious merging of design excellence and creating clothes that sell," he continues. "What makes ‘Metro Wear’ stand out, too, is that it is a collaboration with the private sector–a much-needed factor in our efforts of promoting the high quality of our designs and work both here and abroad."

There is a new level of professionalism and expertise as designers realize the weight of gaining some amount of training and exposure abroad, and competing in the international market. "Designers are no longer just looking nearby for their design inspirations. We are also aware of the importance of looking at things on a global level," says designer Jojie Lloren. "I’d like to believe that our batch of designers are a bridge. We may not exactly be the future of Philippine fashion, not yet I think, but at least, we were able to bridge the gap between coming up with good designs and making them marketable to a bigger market at the same time."

"Metro Wear" will score many firsts: it will be the first time that an independent body like METRO publication will put together a major show featuring the country’s top designers; the first time that the fdcp will mount a trend show, fresh from its successful participation in Shanghai, China; and the first time that a fashion show will be staged in a broadcast studio, at the huge Studio 10 of abs-cbn.

At a glance: Summer 2004 will highlight the synergy between design and function. Everything is inter-connected–from fiber to structure, from treatment to color. Inspirations span decades: from the unconventionalism of the 60s, the decadence of the 70s, to the glamor of the 80s.

The show will be divided into four segments, each one representing a distinct color block: Scandal draws attention to the strength and ambivalence of red, and the energy it exudes. Awakening portrays fruit shades and soft acidulous tones–think leaf green, carnelian, lemon drop and blue light. Renewal refers to refined cold tones, from manicured blues to ethereal grays. Discovery presents intense shades that are a result of exposure to the elements. These include dark slate, prairie sand, shadow, partridge, ginger spice.

Surely, in a scene that always thrives on what’s the latest, this bright and united spirit in the fashion community should carry on as more than just a passing rage.

Metro Wear takes to the ramp on October 30 at 6 pm at abs-cbn Studio 10 in Quezon City.

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