TOKYO – Seven Filipino fashion brands and designers recently captivated the audience at the Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo with their stunning collections, featuring a fusion of Philippine fabrics and Japanese textiles.
The “PH Mode x TYO” runway show, held at STUMP Studio in Aoyama on March 17, showcased the autumn/winter collection of Alodia Cecilia, Azucar, Barba, Ellis Co, Jor-el Espina, Thian Rodriguez, and STOI|C. These designers creatively combined indigenous Philippine materials with sustainable textiles from STYLEM, a renowned textile company in Japan.
Jackie Aquino, the show director, revealed that the Filipino designers used Japanese fabrics as the base material and incorporated indigenous fibers like piña and binakol to make their unique pieces. Despite feeling nervous about how the Japanese audience would receive the creations, Aquino, a veteran in the industry with a 39-year career, expressed confidence in the Filipino designers’ talent, saying, “magaling ang Pinoy.”
Alodia and Ellis, who participated in the show, were thrilled to represent the Philippines and showcase their designs in Tokyo. They both expressed gratitude for the opportunity and were happy with the audience’s positive reception.
“I’m happy because even for the second time, we doubled the number of pieces. And I’m glad that another designer is here with me in Tokyo,” said Alodia.
“It’s my first time doing a show with them. Honestly, I’m just grateful to have the experience that I’m able to represent our country and my age group as well,” Ellis enthused.
The Manila Fashion Festival (MFF), the biggest fashion runway event in the Philippines, facilitated the Filipino designers’ participation in the biannual fashion event. According to MFF Organizer Genshi Shigekawa, they plan to come back for the next season.
Philippine Embassy - Trade and Investment Section Commercial Counsellor Maria Bernardita Mathay also commented on the event, saying that a bigger collection can be expected next season. She emphasized the need to support and uplift Filipino talent and showcase it on the right platform.
“Mas malaki. Hanggang magka-traction na kasi nakikita ko unti-unti umiiba eh. Kailangan patient ka lang, kailangan lagi kang visible, kailangan lagi mong sinusuportahan. Filipino talent is one of the best in the world. Iangat lang natin tapos ilagay natin sa tamang plataporma at saka dapat open ang mind natin,” she told Filipino-Japanese Journal.
This was the second time for “PH Mode x TYO” to showcase to the Japanese audience the artistry and ingenuity of Filipino designers. - Words by Florenda Corpuz, Photos by Din Eugenio