Much ado about Tricia Gosingtian's 'PH not fashion forward' comment

By Barry Cyrus R. Viloria,

Posted at Apr 12 2011 12:13 PM | Updated as of Apr 14 2011 12:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Filipino fashion blogger Tricia Gosingtian recently announced in a broadsheet column that she was invited to attend the New York Fashion Week for Fall 2011. The invite arrived in her mail, with Tumblr—the platform hosting her blog—saying she's been sponsored along with 23 other bloggers to attend the event.

In Filipino culture, countrymen sent abroad to represent something are almost diplomats. They're talked about, cheered and even praised. It is assumed that Gosingtian was picked to represent the Filipinos' edge in fashion in the Big Apple.

For the young fashion blogger, it was definitely an honor. After all, as the 22-year-old had written, "Who wouldn’t, especially when you find out that you’re the only Asia-based blogger that they are flying in?"

Gosingtian's ticket to becoming the next Filipina face in international fashion, however, had fallen down a ravine. This was after she was quoted in a video on YouTube, saying that "in the Philippines, it's not that fashion-forward."

Screenshot from YouTube

"So when I put photos there (Tumblr), I get lots of attention from it, 'cos people there aren't used to that kind of fashion," she continued.

The whole quote, spoken in stereotypical colegiala tone, had apparently enraged some Filipinos back home. At least, over the Internet.

Tricia vs. Twitter

Gosingtian first faced criticisms from Filipinos over Twitter. The said tweeps reacted to how the fashion blogger turned her back on the creativity of her fellow Filipinos.

"Tricia Gosingtian. TSK. Maybe you just don't know what the Filipinos are being capable of. We are creative, you know," said alanabarug.

"Tricia Gosingtian! How dare you say that! So you mean all the WELL-KNOWN DESIGNERS and aspiring ones or even people who just enjoy local designs ARE NOT FASHION FORWARD??? I believe FASHION is not something that should be foreign or well-known. It is art. It is expression! Don't you ever come back here or else everyone will prick your face with needles and sew your mouth together!" added ninacurly.

Celebrities also joined the flak. For TV host Raymond Gutierrez, "pacute is not fashion forward…"

Tweets by renowned fashionistas Jigs Mayuga and Liz Uy implied that Gosingtian was not representing the country in the fashion industry abroad as she was expected to be.

"If you're a filipino with a chance of making it big or having your voice heard abroad, don't put down your countrymen, be proud to be pinoy," tweeted Mayuga.

"[S]ad when people have a chance to represent the country, and instead of promoting pinas in a good light, the chance goes to waste," added Uy.

'What's the big deal?'

Gosingtian allegedly smearing the Filipino brand in the fashion world might have irked some. But for others, the issue is just too little to be given attention to.

"She is a child, seriously, and doesn’t understand what she’s saying (so don’t take her seriously as she is not a fashion authority)," explained Filipina blogger chuvaness in a blog entry.

"Again, she’s a child with a blog and feeling power. I’m too old to pick on her and honestly, happy she’s going to Fashion Week in New York," she added.

Others stressed the issue has been blown out of proportions.

"So big deal, we’re not that 'fashion forward' – guess what? She’s probably right, we’re not as fashion forward as many would think – but that I’m only saying this because I’m no fashion expert. You know what else? Everyone is overreacting or probably misinterpreting her. What the hell does '[fashion forward'] mean anyway?" a blogger said on a side.

(Not) too late to apologize

Gosingtian, on the other hand, sent an apology to her critics. In a tweet, the fashion blogger explained that she "didn't say Filipinos lacked style."

"I just said we aren't *that* fashion-forward as a country, which I think is true for a lot of reasons since we have limited resources (young designers I know have a hard time finding good textile and materials), have a lot of issues standing out in the crowd because of conservative culture, and our weather doesn't permit us to dress up (hello to lazy clothes and flipflops). It takes ages for trends to reach us, and when they do, it's not like people actually follow them," she added.

Gosingtian said that she isn't one to be looked up to as someone on a fashion pedestal.

"I'm no authority in fashion and I never said I was," she said.

The fashion blogger seconded earlier comments that the video didn't show much of her actual sentiments.

"There were so many things that were asked and so many things I said but videos can only show us so much. It's the same issue when people get interviewed in publications and the writers only quote certain parts of it," she said.

Gosingtian said she didn’t mean to misrepresent the Filipinos’ fashion sense with her honesty.

"It's not that I don't support fashion in the Philippines. I was just being completely honest," she said.