MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL | Going beyond borders, trends, and tradition

Manila Fashion Festival comes back with the theme “Beyond.” In photo is Renan Pacson’s collection called “#7” presented last October 13, 2017. Photo courtesy of Manila Fashion Festival.

Since its first show in 2014, Manila Fashion Festival (MFF) has been steadily staging biannual fashion events featuring big names and emerging ones in the industry.

While showcasing Filipino talent is a given at every show, the group behind MFF—Art Personas—makes sure that innovating is something they do constantly. In line with this vision, MFF’s recent show held from October 17 to 20 carried the theme “Beyond” as the festival’s participating designers were challenged to go “beyond borders, beyond fashion, and beyond tradition.”

Ronnie Cruz, CEO of Art Personas told InterAksyon, “We don’t just have Manila-based designers anymore; we’re growing beyond. The intention is really go national on this because there’s really a lot of talented designers outside Metro Manila.”

Among the 50 featured designers are members of the The Fashion Council of Cebu and Cebu Fashion Designers Association: Philip Rodriguez, Yvonne Quisimbing, Protacio, Marichu Tan, Dino Lloren, Jul Olivia, Mike Yapching, Dexter Alazas, Philip Tampus, and Jun Escario.

They were joined by other designers throughout the four-day festival namely: Anthony Ramirez, Rob Ortega, Veejay Floresca, Cheetah Rivera, Jaz Cerezo, Mia Arcenas, Ziggy Savella, Proudrace, Jinggo Inoncillo, Mark Tamayo, LSW, Esme Palaganas, Jerome Tayao, Chris Diaz, Naoki, Daryl Maat, Rica Rico, Yong Davalos, KC Pusing, Harvic Dominiquez, Jinggay Serag, ARIN, Brit Tripudio, Renan Pacson, CJ Martin, Candle Ray, Junjun Ablaza, Jandra Babiera, Aaron Quitoles, Pinky Magalona, Rei Escario, Abraham Guardian, Mamuro Oki of HA.MU, Quiddity by Genevieve Go, Lyn Galo, Zarah Juan, Imma Colarina, Amesiella, Philip Rodriguez, Yvonne Quisumbing, Protacio Empases, Marichu Tan, Dino Lloren, Jul Olivia, Mike Yapching, Dexter Alazas, Philip Tampus, and Jun Escario.

Models present Cebu-based designer Philip Rodriguez’s creations for Manila Fashion Festival, October 13, 2017. Photos courtesy of Manila Fashion Festival.

According to Cruz, MFF is also digitally expanding its borders to showcase local talents to the world through livestreaming in their Facebook and Youtube channels with the intention of positioning Philippines as the “fashion hub” of Southeast Asia.

Cruz noted, “Were reaching a lot of people, and we actually had some guests as far as Tel Aviv, Australia, Japan, and Korea who watched the show.

“We think we’re in a very good position to do that. Not only do we have very talented designers but we have the production capability, the scheduling– everything works perfectly for us.”

Cruz also shared that a lot of designers have expressed their intention to be part of the biannual fashion festival. The CEO noted, “We’ve had designers as far as Dubai, Australia, Malaysia, Milan, Korea, Japan, US, and Indonesia who are interested in joining. Next year, we intend to make some announcements about it.

“[But] our main thrust is to put focus on Philippine fashion and highlight it to the world. At the same time, we don’t mind having designers overseas getting to know the local market, being able to help the local economy, and exchanging ideas as well.”

Models present Cebu-based designer Philip Tampus’ collection for Manila Fashion Festival, October 13, 2017. Photo courtesy of Manila Fashion Festival.

Besides going beyond physical borders, this edition of MFF also goes beyond tradition. “We are really moving towards a lot of ready-to-wear stuff. We’re not into the couture business; it’s more of ready-to-wear collections.

“We started a revolution, and now there’s a constant evolution of how the designers conduct their business. They are now more aware that fashion is a business more than anything else.”

Cruz also noted that many of these designers are also exploring sustainable practices in textile production. “Traditionally, we’ve been using imported products because there’s not really much available in the country.

“We have a brand called Amesiella, and that group is working with the Philippine Textile and Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology to come up with new fibers and fabrics. Their aim is to combine tradition and innovation, and come up with sustainable practices in garment and textile production so we’re kind of pushing for that.”

Amesiella’s Wanderlust collection shows bare minimum pieces that highlight the natural beauty of a daring individual. Photo courtesy of Manila Fashion Festival.

Just like in past seasons, MFF is once again supporting the Better Future Foundation, which help kids around the world, and aims to raise awareness about certain diseases that affects children.