IT’S HARD to imagine that Manila Fashion Fest started only in 2014, establishing itself as the premier fashion show series of the country. In October, it will celebrate its fifth anniversary, but before the landmark occasion it will first hold its tenth season from April 2 to 5 at the EDSA Shangri-La hotel in Mandaluyong City.
Designers from this season will include Cheetah Rivera, Chris Nick, Anthony Ramirez, Daryl Maat, Steph Tan, Cherry Veric, and Jaz Cerezo — and that’s just day one.
About 38 runway shows are scheduled throughout the four-day festival, including shows by Avel Bacudio and John Herrera (who won the Britain’s Top Designer competition in 2017).
The shows have partnered with online retailer, Zilingo, as they aim to sell the clothes featured on the runway on the site.
The event will also host talks and workshops by photographers, filmmakers, and videographers in fashion throughout the week, in a series called Point of View.
There is a lot to look forward to: some designers previewed their collections last week in Makati, and we’re already in love with the hot pink tweed ensembles from Yong Davalos, rich outfits featuring indigenous textiles from Windel Mira,and charming feminine dresses from Philipp Tampus.
Several regional collaborations are also in place throughout the year, beginning with shows in April, featuring a handful of designers from Laos, Japan and Korea. A Filipino-founded brand from New York, Gable & Grant, will also make an appearance on the runway.
Asked about the collaborations’ purpose, Ronnie Cruz, CEO of Art Personas (the company which sets up the shows) said that it all points to the goal of setting up Manila as the fashion destination of Southeast Asia.
“That’s pretty much part of the strategy in terms of positioning,” he said during the launch on March 14 at the iAcademy in Makati City.
In previous interviews with BusinessWorld, Mr. Cruz expressed that the aim for Manila Fashion Festival, aside from creating excitement, was to actually sell the clothes, paving the way for a healthier garment industry sector.
The goal has since expanded, with Mr. Cruz saying during the launch, “I want to bring in investors here.”
Mr. Cruz has tried, for the past few years, to bring some international brands into the country by introducing them in the Manila Fashion Festival shows, but so far, none have taken the bait. Mr. Cruz is hoping that investors in manufacturing and textiles could give Manila a chance, in part through seeing the creations that go down the runway.
“A small private entity like ours can’t really do this, but we can start it, for sure,” he said. — Joseph L. Garcia