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Filipino designer pays tribute to doctors, nurses at NYFW

Monica Galozo | TFC News New York City

Posted at Sep 20 2022 07:46 PM | Updated as of Sep 20 2022 08:01 PM

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In February this year, Musa Fabric by Joy Soo made its debut at New York Fashion Week.

Following the success of her fashion show, Soo returned with another collection using the proudly-Davao-made banana fabric.

The event was held on September 11th, with doctors and nurses proudly strutting down the runway in Soo's designs.

The models first wore PPE attire featuring Musa fabric, then walked the runway for the second time in other Musa designs.

"It is a good thing to have a tribute for these doctors and nurses during Fashion Week. In 2020, the first garments Musa created were PPE," Soo said.

The fabric was weaved by inmates of jail institutions in Davao Del Norte as well as indigenous people from the province.

"Ang main goal sa Musa is to sustain the livelihood of the prisoners and the IP community here in Davao del Norte," Soo noted.

Soo's passion to help the local community in Davao Del Norte resonated and inspired other designers, so she created the House of Musa.

Showcasing their designs with the House of Musa are Carl Andrada, Nicole Santos, Melanie Munden, Khishi Soo, and other Davao Del Norte fashion designers.

Munden, a Filipina designer based in Nova Scotia in Canada, upcycles fabric to create impactful garments.

For her collection, she highlighted the vibrant life under the sea after being inspired by the structural nature of the banana fabric.  

"It was my first experience na makahawak ng banana fabric. Noong parang minamasahe ko siya, sabi ko, it's sculptural. So, na-inspire ako sa ocean," Munden shared.

(It was my first experience holding a banana fabric. When I was massaging it, I said, it's sculptural. So I was inspired to do an ocean theme.)

Meanwhile, Santos likes to mix and match vintage with up and new coming designs. She also loves to experiment with different fabrics together, like the banana fabric.

"I think it is good that people abroad can discover this kind of fabric that it is good to use in the clothes," the Manila-based designer noted.

Andrada, on the other hand, is an instrumental figure in bringing the Musa fabric to the United States.

He said he found interest in using Musa Fabric after being made aware of the cause behind the brand.

He presented a 15-piece collection during the New York Fashion Week. The collection will also be showcased at Metropolitan Fashion Week in Los Angeles on September 29.

Andrada said, "I was so impressed and loved the advocacy. As a designer, I just really want to promote Philippine fabric, Philippine fashion."

15-year-old Khishi Soo is the youngest participant of the House of Musa in their fashion show. The graphic artist, who is Joy Soo's daughter, showcased her collection of clothes displaying her digital work.

"My digital creations are of young teens wearing Musa," the younger Soo said. This can be a form of representation for the youth; it can also be a form of encouragement."

Singer and actress Vina Morales concluded the Musa Fashion show as she did the grand finale walk.

With musa fabric becoming known globally, Soo said their hard work is starting to bear fruits. They were able to put up two livelihood centers - one for the Ata Manobo tribe and the other from Kagan. Now, they are preparing for a third livelihood center for the Mansaka tribe.