Culture x fashion = shopping

In Photo: Dong Omaga-Diaz ; Joel Escober; Happy Andrada; Joyce Makitalo with Likha ni Inay and Gifts and Graces; and Joey Enriquez with Invisible Sisters

miss charlizeTHE spirit of generosity is alive and well, as if Christmas couldn’t come fast enough. In “Gifts That Give Back,” the Filipiniana-focused retail store Kultura and the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines (FDCP) collaborated on a project to benefit Kultura’s Crafts for a Cause foundations.

With this welcome development, the foundations’ products are made accessible to the mainstream market, thus creating more livelihood opportunities for their adopted communities. They are proudly displayed at Kultura stores in SM Aura Premier, SM Makati, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Lanang Premier, SM City Cebu and SM Seaside City Cebu.

“Kultura offered this project to the FDCP two years ago when it supported the Philippine Fashion Design Competition. At that time, I was just a member of the council. When it was then being presented to me, I realized this collaboration was good for our accessories-designer members, as they have always been secondary to the apparel designers in terms of recognition,” menswear master Tonichi Nocom said.

FDCP Designers for Kultura Gifts That Give Back: Dong Omaga-Diaz, Happy Andrada, Joel Escober,  Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Gerry Sunga, Joyce Makitalo, Maco Custodio, Malou Romero and FDCP President Tonichi Nocom
FDCP Designers for Kultura Gifts That Give Back: Dong Omaga-Diaz, Happy Andrada, Joel Escober, 
Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Gerry Sunga, Joyce Makitalo, Maco Custodio, Malou Romero and FDCP President Tonichi Nocom

“When I assumed leadership, I thought it was time the council’s accessories designers do an event. So, in late November 2015, I approached Kultura with the proposal, and so we sat down and began working,” Nocom related. “What is exciting about Gifts That Give Back is that it is a win-win for the designers and communities in terms of work quality and creative designs.”

After almost a year of planning, Gifts That Give Back was launched at Kultura in SM Makati on October 11. Maco Custodio created architecture-inspired bags with Gkonomics; Joey Enriquez made Marikina-quality crochet footwear from recycled plastic with Invisible Sisters; Gerry Sunga created picture frames with Gifts and Graces; Amina Aranaz-Aluna designed bags with Isla Para sa Kaunlaran; and Joyce Makitalo created chunky accessories with Likha ni Inay and Gifts and Graces.

At the launch, FDCP apparel designers Happy Andrada, Joel Escober and Dong Omaga-Diaz lent their support to their colleagues. Malou Romero, meanwhile, presented pieces from her line called Joanique.

“I love the concept, [that’s why I joined the show]—fashion-for-a-cause gifts that give back. Part of the proceeds will go to crafts that give back,” said Andrada, who has shown collections in Amsterdam, London, Toronto, Antwerp, Seoul, Mongolia and Japan. “For my RTW, I use woven materials from the Philippines. I’m proud to be a Filipino.”

Omaga-Diaz, a past council president, calls his Kultura collection the Filipinay series, using organza fused with organic materials. “It’s a collection of shawls and wraps using embroidery as details. This is my more affordable line, an attempt to bridge the gap between couture and ready-to-wear,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of Filipino-inspired garments lately. Perhaps, people are starting to get patriotic, or somehow they’re starting to appreciate their own; this Filipinay series is an experiment, and I want to explore it more.”

So, what’s next for the elitist FDCP?

“Under my leadership, I’m hopeful to maintain the professionalism of council members, not to be driven by the past. My vision for FDCP is to encourage council members to establish and maintain a standard of professional conduct within the design profession. To continue the production and development of indigenous fabrics through social entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations,” Nocom said.

“Our country has a lot to offer in terms of fabrics from different regions, and the weaving should be passed on to the younger generation before our culture of traditional weaving is gone. Another endeavor is to archive works of Filipino fashion designers from the postwar years to the present. This is important to educate the younger generation of designers in understanding our culture in fashion,” Nocom continued. “Through the Philippine Fashion Design Competition, with winners representing the country in fashion competitions abroad, we will continue to excite young fashion minds. We should all be one in fashion.”