Looking Back: Philippine Fashion Week Celebrates Filipino Heritage
The Philippines has no shortage of talent that can match and even exceed the international expectations of the fashion industry. We see this in the works of designers such as Michael Cinco, Ezra Santos, and Lesley Mobo who have made their mark on fashion all over the world. However, along with world-class talent, the Philippines as a country has its own unique culture and traditions that has been largely untapped on the global scale of fashion business and artisty.
In 2009, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, Philippine Fashion Week showed the world a facet of what is distinctly Filipino by featuring designs using organic and indigenous materials. According to The Philippine Star, the then-Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap stated, "This event is a fitting tribute to their painstaking efforts for producing the fibers required by the weaving community, which then transforms the fibers into fabrics that are unique, exquisite and a source of pride of every Filipino."
From that same article, Philippine Fashion Week producer Joey Espino said about the collaboration, "Top designers all over the world are well aware of how beautiful and versatile Philippine fabrics are. I hope that the consistent participation of FIDA in Philippine Fashion Week will further focus the spotlight on our indigenous fabrics so that the international fashion community will have the opportunity to appreciate Philippine fabric and Filipino creativity.”
Many fashion designers took part in that amazing show, most notably Ben Farrales, Aureo Alonzo, and Pitoy Moreno, three legends of Philippine fashion.
This move to promote local tradition and Filipino products became the focus once again in 2012. During Philippine Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013, 17 proudly Filipino designers showcased collections that evoked the uniqueness of Philippine culture. That season promoted the art of burdang Taal, a distinct hand-embroidery technique originating from Taal, Batangas, a province in the Philippines. The list of designers who took part in this collaboration included the likes of Vic Barba, Bergamo, Edgar Madamba, and Dong Omaga-Diaz, all of whom created simple yet elegant designs that showcased the artistry of the craft of burdang Taal,
Over the years, Philippine Fashion Week has presented the beauty of these raw materials and local traditions to global brands and designers by bringing them into the spotlight. Through these efforts, the producers and artists behind Philippine Fashion Week showed their support for all the aspects of the industry and for what makes Philippine fashion unique by encouraging the production of local products, promoting eco-friendly designs, and showcasing them to the world.