Barong, modern Filipiniana fascinate spectators at London Fashion Week

Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Feb 22 2018 05:54 AM | Updated as of Feb 23 2018 08:34 AM

LONDON - Three Filipino designers showcased Philippine fabrics and the best of Filipino craftsmanship at the House of Ikons fashion show held at the Millennium Hotel London. 

Che Arunjuez, Mimi Parrel Pimentel and Aandrei David rocked the runway with their collections, using indigenous Mindanao silk, abaca and abel weaves and T’nalak. 
Pimentel is a designer to President Rodrigo Duterte, whom she describes as a "minimalist" and very easy to please. Pimentel also recently dressed the heads of states and their spouses at the recent summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the Philippines. 

Mimi Pimentel Collection
Mimi Pimentel Collection
Mimi Pimentel Collection

“He is more for comfort than style. Wala siyang masyadong arte. Gusto niya simple lang. He doesn’t mind repeating. Okay lang sa kanya kahit apat na barong lang,” Pimentel said of her VIP client. 
Pimentel showcased a 20-piece collection of barong with T’nalak embroidery and Mindanao silk, the same material she used for the barong the President wore during his inauguration. The elegant formal pieces for women are a clever mix of Philippine fabrics, such as pinya. 
“This is really my dream. One of my dreams to have a fashion show here in London. I’m very proud to show to the world that I’m using our local fabrics in the Philippines,” she said. 

Having the honor of doing the grand finale for the evening show was Aandrei David, who triumphed at the runway with his 21-piece collection of formal wear and modern Filipiniana. 
Just seven years in the fashion business, David was overwhelmed that his once far-fetched dream came true. He described his collection as "modern Filipina meets Victorian."
“Isa po itong pangarap na naging totoo. 'Di ko po inaakala na mapupunta ako dito sa London and I will be showcasing my collection,” said David. 
Inspired by the callalily flower, he also used indigenous fabrics such as abaca from Catanduanes and abel from his hometown province of La Union. 

Design by Aandrei David
Design by Aandrei David
Design by Aandrei David

“I’m offering this to all the Filipinos, na sa kabila po ng mga issue sa ating bansa, nais ko pong ipakita sa buong mundo na ang Filipinos are really talented. Ibinabahagi ko po ito sa lahat ng talented workers and weavers sa Pilipinas, said David. 
The Pinoy designers did not fail to impress. 
“The talent and attention to detail of designers from the Philippines, no one can match at the moment. It’s amazing,” said Savita Kaye, CEO of House of Ikons. 
“I have quite a few favorites. Aandrei David is absolutely fantastic,” said Samantha Bumford, who is the reigning Miss Dorset 2018. 
“What the Filipinos have produced here today is something really special -- people from Africa, America are wearing barong. Something you don’t do everyday,” said Franco Mabanta, who modelled for Pimetel. 
Che Arunjuez, meanwhile, showcased a 10-piece collection that can be manipulated to different styles. She was represented at the show due to her failure to fly to the UK for the fashion event. 

Seventeen local and international designers from various parts of the world, including two talented children—Tayla, aged 9 and Josh, 12—presented their collections.

Be Unique Be You collection
Design by Aandrei David

Josh Bartfeld Birch Jones is a student from Kent. At age 4, he started doing sketches. Inspired by his mother’s wardrobe, his 15-piece collection is boardroom glamour using corporate fabrics and exotic silks. The key pieces of his day-to-night collection are clever manipulations of casual women’s wear to formal night out clothes, using reversible garments. 

“It’s a very big thing and it’s obviously the start for me. I hope to be there in the big world with the big labels like Dior, Chanel. It’s my big dream,” said Birch Jones. 
Nine-year-old Tayla has sensory issues and her mother was inspired to execute the ideas she conveyed such as the color, shapes and designs for the clothes. 
The London Fashion Week is one of the most-sought after events in Europe and the House of Ikons show is just one of the platforms for talented designers to be seen and shine in the international stage.