By VIANCA GAMBOA
The contemporary runway scene is witness to designing prowess from different walks of life, a showcase of diversity and the fusion of styles curated from culture to culture. That’s why Panasonic stages the annual Manila Fashion Fest to gather local designers and showcase what they could envision and, later on, weave. This is also the perfect platform for young creatives to channel their inner Christian Sirianos and Kira Plastininas—breaking into the fashion industry to redefine the scene. Their fresh visual concepts veer into the millennial’s aesthetics that are nothing short of normcore and mundane.
This was probably what iAcademy’s “Fashion Forward’s” pioneering yet humble prelude offered, from learning fashion to the application. A showcase of innovative and young, but never downplayed, distinct designs that make use of our country’s indigenous textiles and patterns, emblazoned symbols of representation and versatility. Designed, staged, and curated by iAcademy’s students as the final output to their Project-Based theses, in collaboration with PMFF, the collection showcased a total of 50 different looks—20 styled by senior high school students and 30 by six graduating college students. Each of the senior high school students had one to two looks, while each of the college students had a collection of five designs.
Eli Gonzales, the chairperson of iACADEMY’s Fashion Design and Technology, opened the program with a speech, a dedication to the power of fashion. “The transformative power of design is what we carry in iACADEMY,” he said.
Known for its unique approach to teaching, the academy is centered on pushing its programs forward through technology. “We are infusing a lot of different techniques that involve technology. We really focus on the technology, as well as the sustainability part,” Eli added.
There were a lot of challenges in the overall process. But for Latisha Tan, a senior high school student, what she found overwhelming was the fact that it was their first fashion show. Seeing her designs on display and worn by models strutting on the runway was a dream come true. “We got to do a show even if we’re just senior high school students, we got to showcase our talents and also embrace sustainability,” she beamed.
Emanuel Riñoza, another senior high school student, added that some critics say that fashion is one of the main contributors to pollution. It’s about time for the fashion industry to be resourceful and versatile, he said.
The collaboration between iACADEMY and PMFF, according to Vanessa Tanco, president and CEO of iACADEMY, was a huge leap forward for the school’s students. “It’s really the biggest fashion show in the Philippines,” she exclaimed.
“So even as early as high school and college, our students were able to showcase their works side by side with some of the top designers in the Philippines,” she said.
Vanessa called them “game changers” for giving their heart in the game even if it’s something entirely out of their ordinary work as students. She noted that, since the school started to offer a Fashion Design and Technology program, its students have all “unleashed their creative expertise and passion for fashion.”
According to Eli, the iAcademy x PMFF Fashion Forward was the biggest fashion show that their students had ever put up. And they were able to exceed expectations