By MJ MARFORI
July 22, 2019
While most people will be eager to hear what President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address will cover today, let’s admit it. A huge — make that major — population of the social media hawks are on standby for the Filipiniana fashion show that will transpire in Congress, as it always does every year.
In The Know spoke with veteran Filipino designers Randy Ortiz and Bulacan’s Jo Rubio whose handiworks have graced the SONA’s red carpet for many decades now, not only for their artistry but their shared advocacy. That is, to shine the spotlight on our gifted Filipino beaders, embroiderers, weavers and so many other indigenous artisans from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. After all, it honestly takes entire communities to create a work of art that is the Filipiniana.
Randy welcomed us at his Salcedo Village showroom and gave a peek into his elegant SONA creations this year for loyal clients, Ormoc Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez and Senator Nancy Binay.
For Lucy, he designed an intricately embroidered lavender mauve terno with expert help from sewers in Bulacan.
For Senator Nancy, he opted for a sleek cream colored Filipiniana that will go really well with her tanned skin.
Randy told In the Know that in his three decades in the industry, he’s made sure to stick to his expertise in giving the Filipiniana an elegant reputation minus the trendy frills popping out from local fashion runways recently.
“I want to stick to my guns — this is not a fashion show but this will showcase something Filipino and very elegant that gives due respect to the message that the President will deliver. Dressing in your country’s heritage is a form of respect to the flag.”
Compared to past administrations, the Duterte years have made it clear they would much rather see toned down Filipiniana attire at the SONA — “working attire” has also been used from time to time. Nevertheless, while he understands such sentiments, Randy genuinely believes the occasion is one of the best opportunities to highlight the work of local artisans.
They are working with from Nueva Ecija and as far as Bukidnon, “I love working with the local artisans — those from Nueva Ecija to as far as Bukidnon. Because it takes at least 10 people to make a dress and when we reach out to them, we are giving them jobs and by giving them opportunities, which makes the entire process more Filipino in that sense.”
Bulacan Filipiniana expert Jo Rubio, who started the “tea-length modern terno” trend which Heart Evangelista fashioned in 2017, meanwhile wants to stress that SONA wear should be far from the costume-type Filipiniana designs of the past. Albeit intricate still to highlight the Filipino craftman’s expertise, they should nonetheless exude simplicity.
For this year, Jo is dressing up the Villaricas and Villanuevas of Bulacan with pantsuit ternos and barongs. With them, he hopes to demonstrate how sustainable his brand of Filipino fashion is for the betterment of the industry and the environment, and envisions a time when every Filipino will choose to wear Filipiniana as everyday clothes, rather than just special occasions.
“We’ve been very flexible in designing Filipiniana fashion to appeal to a younger and more contemporary market by making it wearable. This way, hindi lang sa SONA masusuot ang Filipiniana but also to other affairs, so I do hope those who will be watching the arrivals at the SONA don’t see it as a fashion show anymore but a showcase of national pride that helps so many people around the country.”
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Until next week! Ta-ta!
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