Innovation, technology mark both fashion and event

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INNOVATION in style and technology highlighted the eighth season of the recently concluded and rebranded Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival. Held on April 10 to 13 at the Marquee tent at the EDSA Shangri-La hotel in Mandaluyong City, the fashion shows included designs from veteran, emerging, and young Filipino designers from around the country.

With Panasonic as a naming sponsor, the fashion shows were viewed via livestreaming on Panasonic and Metro Manila Fashion Festival Facebook pages and YouTube accounts.

Art Personas CEO Ronnie Cruz said that the lineup of designers in the festival’s eighth season is classified into three — the veterans, emerging designers, and recent graduates of fashion schools. “We choose the designers that we know people would love and the collection that people would appreciate,” Mr. Cruz said told BusinessWorld.

“At the end of the day, we want to find the best talents in the Philippines,” he said.

The second day of the fashion festival opened with KC Pusing’s collection inspired by the Dante Alighieri’s Inferno which included black and grey ensembles with red accents. It was followed by Wilbur Lang’s collection of black, white, and burgundy pieces of leather, lace, and ruffle details; Jinggay Serag’s cloud-inspired designs included silver, black, and blue gowns, dresses, and suits; Harvic Dominguez brought spring colors to the runaway with pink flowy skirts and pants for women and blue jumpsuits for men; and Rica Rico designs were made up of colorful geometric patterns.

The second half of the show showcased edgy pieces with pleated details by Naoki and sheer dresses in black, blue, and magenta by Dak Bonite. The edgy pieces were followed by Daryl Maat’s collection of black and white streetwear; Chris Diaz’s vintage designs of beachwear were adorned with stripes and bold colors; and Yong Davalos concluded the show with sophisticated jumpsuits, dresses, and coats accessorized with bags, scarves, and belts.

When asked about future plans for the festival, Mr. Cruz said: “[The] Manila fashion festival will get bigger, but it is a controlled growth. We [are] focusing more on quality in terms of the designers we choose and shows that we create.”

They plan to take it a step further by October or by early next year by taking designers from within the Asia-Pacific region, as they are now in negotiations with representatives from Laos, Korea, Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia. “When we talk of putting Manila on the map, I think we’ve started doing that,” Mr. Cruz said in another interview.

Mr. Cruz noted that despite the Philippines having a huge fashion market, the country has a long way to go in terms of establishing the local fashion industry. Alongside the fashion festival’s goal to establish Manila as a fashion destination, Mr. Cruz hopes that the annual Manila Fashion Festival would “encourage investment” in the local fashion industry.

One of the goals of the Manila Fashion Festival, as he said several seasons ago, was creating a healthy ecosystem for designers to thrive not just creatively, but economically and financially. While he says that the fashion designers have reported more sales due to a concentration on wearability, he says that a chief frustration of his was not setting up a more sustainable retail platform. They had tried in past seasons to sell the clothes via online retailing partners, but “It didn’t yield much benefit for the designers in particular,” he noted. Still, the company plans to push through with another online platform to sell the designs on the runway by October this year. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman and Joseph L. Garcia