By KERRY TINGA
Business and design college students had the pleasure of attending Bench Fashion Week from March 29 to 31 at the Bench Tower. For a brand that was established more than a decade before these Gen Z-ers were even born, Bench showed various collections from multiple designers and brands that were youthful, playful, and relevant to the current generation.
Caryll Cabuhat, 18, a freshman fashion student interested in pursuing fashion event management and production, noted when models of the brand Human came out from the audience area, turning the whole idea of a traditional catwalk upside down. At the cusp of adulthood, beginning to think of a direction for her career, it was inspiring. This was exactly the sort of runway show, with unexpected twists and turns that kept the audience on its toes, she would love to do in the future.
For the event, she played with a clean and mature look by accessorizing it with chic, large earrings, and the current major accessory trend of the youth, hair clips, and barrettes. The presentations of up and coming local designers CHED Studios, Bagasao, and Renz Reyes during the first day, really spoke to her as youthful, yet elevated, collections.
“It reflected in the designs, how youthful they are, through the choice of colors, accessories, and the style of the pieces themselves,” says Aleksa Meily, 19, a freshman fashion student keen on promoting local, Filipino designers in the future, “Not to mention the energy of the show, when the music was so funky that the models were basically dancing down the runway—it truly represented how energetic the youth is!”
The Hawaii Five-O theme song played as models showed Bench’s latest capsule collaboration with Rafé New York by Rafé Totengco. Some people knew the song, some may have even watched the original ‘ 6 0 s show, but everybody, models and audience alike, could not help but move a bit and dance along. The youthful energy surpassed generational divides before the students could say “Hawaii Five-what?” they were caught up in the good vibes.
Dani Angeles, a senior who has worked behind the scenes of various event productions, goes for the flowy and the breezy, loving the tropical island girl look of the modern Filipina. She snapped a photo with Gabbi Garcia in Rafé New York x Bench, saying, “It’s modern and fun, perfect for summer!”
The pieces of the collections merged youthful streetwear with that hint of nostalgia that young people look for nowadays. Mavic Castro, a multimedia arts student, and budding fashion photographer, dressed in a modern streetwear ensemble while armed with her film camera to snapshots of the show. The two elements seem almost contradictory, the old film and the new trend, but it seems so perfect to symbolize the style of contemporary youth. She could not resist going to all three days of the event, and took photos of young, celebrity attendees whose style she admired, developing the 35-mm film soon after at the few places that still actually develop film!
If there is one thing these students and the Bench Fashion Week showed, it is that the style of the youth can not be put in a single category. They play around with old and new trends, find inspiration from contemporary and historical style icons, focus on being individuals who mix and match and cannot be so easily described with the usual by-line.
Photographs by Mavic Castro and Blue Zolata
Students are from Meridian International (MINT) College