Accessories most exquisite

In Photo: Carmaela Braceros Alcantara. Sara Pausal; Kathryn Fanlo. Glorybeth Cebrero; and Rhyan Crodua Orillo. Athena Mae Boukos

DAVAO CITY—On its second year, the Habi Kadayawan Fashion Accessories Design Competition attracted more contenders from the student, hobbyist and professional sectors. Like the apparel-design competition, the Habi theme took inspiration from the 11 tribes of Davao.

The winner from each category received P100,000 during the finals directed by Grand Ravacio, held at SM Lanang Premier. The impressive panel of judges were couturier Cary Santiago, fashion designer Avel Bacudio, product designer D’oro Barandino, furniture designer Vito Selma and shoe designer Maco Custodio.

Habi, technically and literally, is weaving. But for Kadayawan, we have redefined it as an intersection mirroring the cultural diversity of Davao City,” explained Emi Englis of the organizing group, Davao Fashion and Design Council Foundation Inc. (DFDC).

Aztec Barba, president of DFDC, added:

“It [started as] an experimental project under [actor-director] Gatchi Gatchalian. It is a global platform for our future Mindanaoan fashion accessories designers.”

Overwhelmed by his win, 17-year-old Rhyan Crodua Orillo gushed, “Winning for me is a first step in fulfilling my dreams as an aspiring designer. It’s the fruit of my hard work. It tells me of who I am as a person after all the trials, circumstances, the ups and downs but still fighting for my dreams not just for myself, but for my family and the people who believe that I will fulfill my aspirations in life.”

Orillo’s winning entry, “Panyas,” is an oversized bag with geometric patterns which he remarkably created in less than a week. “I got the name from the main materials that I used, which are the Panyas seeds from the grass of the same name that grows near rivers,” explained the Philippine Women’s College of Davao senior high-school student.

“It is my first time to design an accessory. I was inspired by the Bagobo Tagabawa’s livelihood, which is beadworking. I chose this tribe because, like me, they are from Davao del Sur,” Orillo said. “I selected brown as the color for the T’nalak/Inabel fabric made of abaca fiber for my bag so the natural colors of blue and white of the Panyas seeds will pop out.”  The hobbyist category was won by entrepreneur Kathryn Fanlo, 35. Her eye-catching entry, “Pahidungog,” is a scarf handwoven by the Mandaya Tagabawa tribe with a necklace that reflects the 11 tribes of Davao and their colorful costumes.

“The centerpiece necklace is detachable, which allows the wearer to play with her own style and match it with any of our scarves according to her wardrobe or the occasion. This can also be used as a bag accessory,” Fanlo said.

“I intricately hand-sculpted the design using clay. The details are studded with beads and gold-plated brass. The necklace is laid out together with a handwoven scarf that brings out the vividness of the design.”

Fanlo is grateful for the mentoring, motivation and guidance she received from the DFDC in the course of the competition: “This win is a big step and a chance to showcase my skills in the fashion-accessory industry in the local and international markets.”

Carmaela Braceros Alcantara, 34, won in the professional category with her covetable bag, “D-11,” inspired by the durian and made of woven-abaca vase embellished with woven glass beads and crystals. She was inspired by the tradition of bead-weaving of various tribes in Davao, and wanted to explore other shapes and forms (in this case, thorns and cylinders) that can be made using the same bead-weaving technique.

“The silhouette is an interpretation of the complicated structure of the durian fruit made into a fashionable, avant-garde bag. The thorns are made up of woven beads shaped into cones; in bronze and gold colors, lined with gold similar to the luscious golden color of the durian flesh,” explained Alcantara, who lends her high level of craftsmanship to Crystal Seas bags.

As with the Kadayawan Ball, the DFDC is proud that it was also able to successfully steer Habi. Both are the biggest fashion events in Mindanao.

“I’m very happy because of the good reviews not just from the judges but also from the executive committee headed by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio,” said Edgar Buyan, the committee head of the contest.

“The entries for this year, which are more refined, doubled from last year, meaning Habi has really made an impact among local artists.”

Image Credits: Michael Castillo

Miss Charlize

This writer is a beauty, celebrity and fashion columnist for BusinessMirror, and did fashion editorials and celebrity profiles for D+, its monthly supplement. As much as possible the column, called Tota Pulchra, only deals with the good, the great and the glamorous.

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