The Philippines received a special citation under the Best Country Category at the Fashion Utopias: International Fashion Showcase (IFS) at the Somerset House, in London, England. The Best Country award is given in recognition for exemplary overall exhibition, which was won by Czech Republic.
For this year’s exhibition, the British Council and the British Fashion Council transformed the Somerset House into a creative space where a selection of emerging designers and curators from 24 countries share their visions of Utopia through commissioned and curated fashion installations. Fashion Utopias is part of the year-long celebration of the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s inspirational text.
Four emerging Filipino designers represented Fashion Philippines under the theme “Utopian U-turns” fashioning reversals. They are Maco Custodio, Micki Olaguer, Thian Rodriguez, and Jared Servaño who used cultural traditions and storytelling, and journeyed in search of an ideal world through their crafts.
“Utopian U-turns” was curated by TAO Inc., headed by veteran curators Marian Pastor Roces and Judy Freya Sibayan. The two curators held a series of design workshops for the four designers to challenge them to create pieces made of materials that are rich with Philippine historical narratives of Utopian ambition, disaster, re-imagination, failure of vision, and reversals into renewed optimism.
Citing the special commendation of the Philippines as the highest recognition that the country has had in the years of its participation in the IFS, Rosvi Gaetos, executive director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), says, “It affirms that the country is right on track in its aim of making the Philippines a center for creativity and design in the fashion industry.”
The IFS panel was very impressed by the Philippines’ installation and its ingenuity. “With very little, you [Philippine delegation] did so much. It’s important that you are here, with all the positive messages and this beauty that comes out with thoughts, and love, and passion for what you do,” commented Anna Orsini, a strategic consultant for the British Fashion Council.
In the exhibition, the select designers manifested their grit savoir faire through their powerful collections that reflect their own personal utopian journey.