A toast to Philippine fashion

Pia Ranada
At the PH Fashion Week party, founder Joey Espino shared his insights on Philippine fashion

A NIGHT FOR FASHION. Models, designers and fashion-lovers reveled at the Philippine Fashion Week 2013 party. Photo by Andrew Robles

MANILA, Philippines – Models mingled with designers at the Philippine Fashion Week 2013 party held last May 23 at the Prive Luxury Club in Taguig.

Rappler caught up with Philippine Fashion Week founder Joey Espino to get the lowdown on what to expect at this year’s fashion extravaganza.

MAN OF THE HOUR. Philippine Fashion Week founder Joey Espino (right) poses with PFW photographer Celwyn Abasolo. Photo by Andrew Robles

What are the highlights for PFW 2013?

The highlights for this one would be Nina Garcia. I just met her 15 minutes ago and she’ll be there tomorrow for Jag. 

We just witnessed Michael Cinco last night on his 20th year anniversary of being a designer. Albert Andrada is closing the show. Of course, Paolo Roldan for Bench. Penshoppe is unveiling their Holiday Collection 2013 which is more fashion-slanted. Dickie’s is coming up with their own underwear line which I myself was not aware of before.

DESIGNERS' NIGHT. Fashion designers Anthony Nocom and Lyle Ibanez at te Philippine Fashion Week 2013 party. Photo by Andrew Robles

What’s the story behind the founding of PFW?

It all started when I saw New York Fashion Week back in 1994. I watched the Miu Miu and DKNY shows and Josie Natori asked me to be in New York and launch her back in Manila.

With those two shows I saw, I realized that the fashion world has to get together to become a strong force. If New York is doing that, I think we Filipinos—being creative, hardworking, loyal and deserving of being global—have to start something.

I gathered all my clients when I was still a fashion producer. Audi, my brother, told me that fashion week is not fashion week without designers’ collections. So I opened up everything to the designers. 

MIX AND MATCH. Designer Boyet Dysangco mixes a somber brown palette with playful colors. Photo by Andrew Robles

How has PFW evolved through the years?

Fashion Week is really evolving so fast. I’m happy because we’re seeing more commitment to Filipino designers and the brands are taking the market seriously. With all these things happening, we can expect a more fashionable breed of Filipinos and I’m looking forward to that. I started this 16 years ago and we are on our 22nd season.

THE WOMEN. Fashion lovers celebrate Philippine Fashion Week 2013. Photo by Andrew Robles

How has Philippine fashion design and craftsmanship evolved through the years?

With the advent of technology, everything is so mobile and networking is happening so fast, the Philippines has become at par with the rest of the world. We are part of the global community.

The awareness alone of the consumers is really improving. Now, you see what’s happening in other markets and you can do something about it, enjooy what they have. You can adapt their trends to your own style using the available resources in this country. 

Filipinos are really creative. Given the right technology and resources, we can produce very, very good designers who can be global and at par with the best of designers. 

The Philippines is being considered one of the new emerging markets for design in Asia. It’s an honor. In Asia, we are one of the top 3 countries who patronize local designers. In other markets, they’re all now leaning towards patronizing signature foreign brands. We know the global brands but we also know our own local designers.  – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.