For any fashion label to succeed in the global market, designers will always need a bigger platform to showcase what they have to offer.
Joining the fray of such organizations such as the Philippine Fashion Week and Manila Fashion Festival, a new player in the scene has emerged.
Its name is Fashion Exchange International (FEI), which is bent on becoming the next big springboard for Filipino designers to make it internationally.
Four for fashion
FEI’s proponents are top fashion practitioners and eager fashion advocates in the country who saw a unique opportunity in combining their strengths to bridge the works of Filipino designers with an international audience.
The FEI team is comprised of Carmina Sanchez-Jacob, a public relations and marketing maven who has worked closely with many designers for fashion and lifestyle projects; Robby Carmona, one of the most established events producers and fashion and lifestyle directors in the country; Valerie Lim, a social media influencer who over the years has built a network of fashion buyers, key influencers and lifestyle media in the Asean; and Henry Chan, an Asia Pacific corporate veteran who has more than a decade-long experience in managing large cabinet projects for multi-national companies.
Said the four-member panel at the FEI launch, the main goal of the collective is to promote and sell ready-to-wear Filipino labels for distribution overseas.
“It has always been a dream of mine to help Filipino designers to be introduced to the global market,” shared Robby Carmona on the endeavor’s debut at Marriott Hotel Manila in Pasay City.
Elaborating, Carmina Sanchez-Jacob said, “All of us have a dream to make brands that are home-grown, but with the aim of creating a [full-fledged] business.
“It [does not end]with the simple satisfaction of seeing someone’s name or someone’s face out there, like in magazines, but [all]that has to be translated into something that benefits not just one person but the industry. [From my experience] the fashion industry finds its strength [in unity].”
Beginning tonight and through to July 8, this fashion marketing and brand management platform roll out its first showcase for Filipino designers and their collections forecasting the trends for 2017.
The much anticipated event will be held at The Marriot Grand Ballroom, and is targeted towards international buyers.
Already in the country are buyers both from Asia and Europe who are eager to see what the Filipino fashion talents have in store for them.
“What will transpire will be a rich exchange of ideas,” Carmona said.
For this initial series of outings, the FEI invited four established designers to be sure that the shows will be certain of diverse portfolios on the runway.
According to Lim, “International buyers will be looking for a [complete]portfolio including accessories and shoes [besides the clothes]. This is what they expect because they want to see what the Filipino designers can offer at this time.”
As such, it makes sense to bring out the country’s top designers as the FEI’s opening salvo, in order to meet specific standards and afford newer players more time to build their own complete offerings.
Moreover, Jacob explained, “We also have to be able to [provide the buyers]recall once [a designer’s]name is mentioned. That you’re ‘Google-able’ when they search for you online–this is very important.
“There was a debate on who should be part of [FEI] initially but we have come up with the best decision.”
The stellar lineup of Filipino designers include Ivarluski Aseron, Rajo Laurel, Francis Libiran and Dennis Lustico.
From Manila to the World
“I am hopeful and optimistic about the project. All forms of dialogue are always good. When you open up your mind to fresh perspectives and opportunities—everyone wins,” Laurel said.
“This is a great opportunity not only for the local Philippine fashion industry but it is an opportunity to showcase what we can do. The time is now—a lot of attention is actually on the Philippines, on Southeast Asia. It is also a time for them to reach out regionally. We’re not just talking about New York or Paris, the world is our oyster, and the opportunity is there. So like my favorite quote goes, ‘Carpe diem, seize the day!” added the well known designer.
Meanwhile, Libiran expressed that he believes FEI will be able to bring Philippine fashion to the world stage.
“It’s about time that Philippine fashion be recognized and loved by people all over the world, because the designers that are represented by FEI are world-class and will bring pride and glory to the Philippines,” he said.
“It’s a good chance for us to be able to write a different story in our careers. I’ve been looking forward to this kind of project wherein someone can open the doors for us and to be able to design the things for different markets,” agreed Lustico.
“I’m very positive about this project, and I’m very thankful that I’m able to participate in this first-ever venture of its kind to happen here in Manila. I believe this will be beneficial not only to designers but to the entire industry as well,” Aseron finally said.
The group was advised to work closely with Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) partners as some of them have successfully crossed over to other countries in the region and can also benefit from artistic exchanges.
As such, FEI will also present the diffusion of line, TXID, by Indonesian couture designer, Tex Saverio. Saverio is the only Indonesian designer who has presented Paris Fashion week, and whose works have been worn by international celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lawrence.
Other home-grown talents who will be part of the FEI portfolio are brands Aranaz, Ann Ong, Jail Jeans, Jeffrey Rogador, John Herrera, Ken Samudio, Maco Custodio, Proudrace and Rosenthal Tee. They will each have parts of their most successful collections and current works on display also at The Marriot Grand Ballroom.