FOR ITS third year, Sinulid, the annual culminating show of the graduating students from the Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) program of the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) is focusing on three things: inclusion, diversity, and sustainability to be tackled in a three-part event spaced throughout the year.

“We have Sinulid annually but this is the first time we’re making it into a trilogy,” Christine Cheryl Y. Benet, chairperson of the FDM, told BusinessWorld during the launch of the exhibit on April 4 in the DLS-CSB campus in Manila.

“We saw the current issues we have right now in fashion and understandably fashion is one of the challenging (issues) to manage because it’s very creative: it produces jobs, revenues, and everything but it’s also one of the biggest pollutants,” Ms. Benet explained.

The exhibit, titled Prologue and located at the 8th floor of the campus, features an array of clothing made from plastic, Lego blocks, and pressed flowers, alongside garments made from indigenous textiles and clothing lines created for underserved markets.

Among the inclusive lines presented during the exhibit is Spectrum, which is specifically made for children with autism or learning disabilities as the textures of the fabrics were meant to control agitation and provide something for the children to fiddle with.

“Benilde is always at the forefront of inclusion and innovation,” Ms. Benet said before adding that the college has a center for Inclusive Education which the students consulted to help them create inclusive yet stylish clothing.

Ms. Benet said that at first the students who presented the inclusive lines found it difficult to wrap their head around creating the lines, but after they talked to people who have needs that are not readily available in the market, they realized that they have people close to them who needed brands to cater to their specific needs.

Among the other lines meant to promote inclusivity in fashion are Garbo, meant for more mature women in need of “more serious, organic and sustainable clothing”; Ceremony, a line made for little people; and Confiado and Above, two lines created to cater to plus-size women with the former a lingerie brand and the latter a denim brand.

“[This year] we wanted [our students] to think deeply and embrace the inclusivity of the school,” she said.

Aside from the inclusivity part of the exhibit, Ms. Benet said that this year is also focused on promoting sustainability by having students use indigenous textiles alongside unconventional materials such as plastic and metal.

“We signed a memorandum of understanding with the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST)… [and with this exhibit] we wanted to highlight the Philippine indigenous fibers,” she explained.

The same students who participated in the Prologue exhibit, which will be on view until the second half of the year, will participate in the Sinulid fashion show to be held in July in SM Aura in Taguig City.

And since this is a three-part event, Ms. Benet said that they are still deciding on how to go about the third part of the program, called Epilogue, though she revealed that they will likewise be focusing on sustainability and its broad definition for indigenous textiles in the country.

“What we discovered was sustainability has a wide definition — one can be sustainable for this sector but in another ‘sustainability’ means differently — but we want to focus on the indigenous textiles from the dyeing processes,” she said. — Zsarlene B. Chua