Pinoy designer's 'Yolanda' collection catches London's eye

by Rose Eclarinal and Patrick Ropeta, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Feb 17 2014 03:16 PM | Updated as of Feb 18 2014 06:52 PM

An ornate necklace with semi-precious stones by Adante Leyesa. Courtesy of CITEM blog

LONDON - Young and promising designers from the Philippines showcased their talent at the International Fashion Showcase 2014 of London Fashion Week.

Jun Artajo, Joel Escober, Tipay Caintic, Adante Leyesa, Olivia D'Aboville and Ken Samudo are this year's young designers from the Philippines, who exhibited their innovative craftsmanship in the annual London Fashion Week.

"You can notice three platforms, I wanted to represent, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. It's a stylized map of the country," said D'Aboville, a curator and designer.

Escober described his collection as "sporty-meets-glam", using leatherette and zipper head accents for his creations.

"I just used a lot of colors that represent the Ifugao burda but yung take is somehow modern so yung take is sporty glam," Escober said.

"They managed to display this modern trend but using Philippine materials and also based on patterns of traditional Philippine culture," Philippine Ambassador to UK Enrique Manalo said.

The vibrant expressions of the young designers' ideas are reflective of their own individual stories, faith and advocacy, like Leyesa's collection of intricately-designed accessories.

"This is called Basilica collection, mostly made of indigenous materials, solely available in the Philippines. I made each piece in association with different communities: the association of disabled persons in Antique, some out-of-school youth and mothers in Batangas and some Igorot weavers from Ifugao," Leyesa said.

One of the designers shared a personal story through her creations.

Caintic's collection is called "Hell Knows No Wrath Like Yolanda." It attracted media attention and moved fashion critics.

"It's a personal take on what happened to me, my family and my friends even strangers during the typhoon," Caintic said.

Designer Tipay Caintic's resort wear headpiece is shown. Courtesy of CITEM blog

The 25-year old designer, who hails from Tacloban, took inspiration for her designs from the destruction created by super typhoon "Yolanda."

"This is the downpour. If you read the stories behind that look, I'm talking about black water because when Haiyan hit, typhoon Yolanda hit, it wasn't just a typical typhoon, the water was black, form the dirt, from the ocean or mountains," Caintic said.

Her avante garde creations made of knits, rubber and acrylic are catchy and exemplify the fresh ideas of the multidimensional fashion world.

"It's surreal to be here, at the same time it's very real to me. I'm in this environment, it's London fashion week, it's all the pretty dresses and things that I love. So it's hard to reconnect these things that are all important to me," she said.

The Philippines is one of the nearly 30 countries to showcase its young and emerging designers at London Fashion Week.