• Youth of the tropics

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    A piña creation from Lulu Tan-Gan who is known for using local materials to design contemporary fashion pieces

    A piña creation from Lulu Tan-Gan who is known for using local materials to design contemporary fashion pieces

    Manila Wear showcases young designers’ beach-meets-city living styles

    As part of the 60th Manila Fame event, the prestigious annual exhibit of Philippine design ingenuity, the Center for International Trade and Expositions (Citem in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is set to shine the spotlight on “Manila Wear.”

    Taking place from March 14 to 17 at the SMX Convention Center of the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City, Budji Layug heads the endeavor together with project director Arturo Dimaano.

    This second installment of Manila Wear focuses on the interesting combination of tropical resort wear and city living. The result is a “vibrant, fun and casual fashion design that transitions from day to night,” as described by Layug during a press briefing at the New World Hotel in Makati City.

    Also part of the creative team is international fashion designer Josie Natori who has worked with Manila Wear since its debut in 2012. According to the talented Filipina, the bi-annual presentation of the country’s finest selection of beach-inspired designs has brought thousands of companies from around the world into this one event, convinced that Philippine products in the category are ripe for the international market.

    Interior designer and Manila Wear creative director Budji Layug

    Interior designer and Manila Wear creative director Budji Layug

    Manila Wear project director Anna Alzona, meanwhile, described how Manila Wear has grown significantly since its inception. “When we started in 2012, we only made less than $1,000 in revenues. But the following year, we accumulated over $200,000 for one edition alone with companies who came from most parts of Europe, the United States and Japan.

    We’ve also had, and expect this year, international shoppers from high-end department stores, as well as boutique owners, and representatives from luxury brands.”

    Out of the Red Box

    With four months of preparation leading to the four-day lifestyle and design event, Citem promises another inspirational exhibit that will showcase the works of renowned and up-and-coming local fashion designers, which utilize the best Philippine products, including hand-woven textiles, abaca and piña fabrics, and mother of pearl.

    Fashion designer Anne Marie Saguil’s take on the Filipino Barong

    Fashion designer Anne Marie Saguil’s take on the Filipino Barong

    According to Layug, there will be 15 young designers featured for home décor, and 12 young designers presenting their fashion, all of whom came from Red Box—a development program included in the Manila Fame event that harnesses talents of promising youths in the field.

    “As part of the Red Box program of Manila Fame, we brought in these young designers to work together and learn from seasoned designers of the industry. In terms of fashion and design, the Philippines has to move forward and yet keep that artistic island spirit,” Layug explained.

    “Now, more than ever, fashion is represented by the lifestyle of the young. They are the movers of the market and they are also able to connect to the global scene more efficiently.

    This is why we deemed it important to harness young minds to further develop their Filipino talent,” he added.

    Some of these creative minds were also part of the “Look of Style” design competition in 2013, which was headed by the British Council in the Philippines. The best among their peers, Citem had the young talents work with eight senior designers to showcase their own five-piece collections.

    All into ‘Fame’

    Besides the Red Box alumni, established designers Jun Artajo, Tipay Caintic, Joel Escober, Twinkle Ferraren, Anne Marie Saguil, and Lulu Tan-Gan will also display their intricately hand-crafted apparels, revealing their own take on the Manila Wear’s “urban resort” theme.

    Filip+Inna’s Len Cabilin will also take part with her new collection of modernly-designed pieces that use indigenous materials.

    “Tropical modern designs are part of our DNA because of the weather and our culture in the country. We have materials and crafts that are earthy, and we want to incorporate a sort of ‘East meets West’ theme into this exhibition. We are aiming to define what fashion and home design in the Philippines is. This is a long-term program that gives importance to the culture and craft of the Filipino that is incorporated into the modern, youthful and liberated world,” Layug concluded.

    Over 3,000 companies comprised of local and international buyers are expected to attend Manila Fame, which is proud to present the works of close to 300 exhibitors of Filipino designers and manufactures.

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