By JOHN LEGASPI
It takes blood, sweat, and tears to put out a collection that’s true to a designer’s heart. It is a designer’s mission to be of service to his market and to help the industry thrive, one article of clothing at a time. The same goes to humanitarian organizations such as the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).
With a mission to save Filipino lives, the PRC goes beyond the call of duty to serve communities around the country. Since 1899, the organization has been known for its advocacies and programs, from disaster management, health, and safety to honing young volunteers and its national blood service. These acts of unconditional goodness have made the PRC among the most recognizable organizations in the Philippines.
The best thing about doing this gala is that it fulfills my advocacies. I’m helping the Philippine Red Cross to save more lives, I help give the tribeswomen a voice and a sustainable livelihood, and I’m presenting the runway show with real people.
And to strengthen the organization’s pursuits, the PRC Malabon chapter once again partners with Filipino fashion designer Renee Salud in merging fashion with charity through the Red Cross Humanity Gala.
“The PRC highly depends on fundraising activities and donations to sustain its operation,” says Arturo Supangan II, chairman of the PRC Malabon chapter. “We believe that this fashion gala will help us continue saving more lives and giving better services to the Filipinos.”
The proceeds of the show will help support the first Blood Bank of the Malabon chapter, which aims to provide donations to indigent families. It will also sustain the PRC Hemodialysis Center operations in Port Area, Manila, the organization’s first dialysis center.
On its second year, the gala focuses on the theme “Modernong Filipianiana,” putting a contemporary twist on Philippine traditional wear.
“With all of my fashion shows done across the globe, I see to it that I present our Filipino heritage,” says the designer. “I incorporate indigenous textiles in my designs and mold them into a much modern silhouette.”
The gala show will be divided into four parts, derived from three regions of the country with a special line for the organization. For his line inspired by Luzon, he’ll be using the inabel fabric of Ilocos. A take on the classic Maria Clara dress and terno will be presented in his line representing the Visayas while the inaul textile from the Maguindanao tribe will be the focal point for his Mindanaoan collection.
A special Red collection will also be seen in the gala night, paying homage to the organization’s primary hue and insignia.
“The tribes I’ve worked with for these collections are very passionate,” he continues. “They want their products to be used and showcased and they want Filipinos to take notice of their beauty.”
A true advocate of local fashion, Salud wants to use these textiles to promote the Philippine indigenous weaving industry. “The best thing about doing this gala is that it fulfills my advocacies,” Salud muses. “I’m helping the Philippine Red Cross to save more lives, I’m helping give the tribeswomen a voice and a sustainable livelihood, and I’m presenting the runway show with real people.”
For the gala night, the ethno-modern pieces will be worn by “character” or “real” models. These are individuals who are champions of their field and their philanthropic works.
“The fashion crowd now wants to see real people on stage,” explains Raymond Villanueva, director of the fashion gala. “They want to see someone like them walking the runway. It empowers people.”
Fashion for a cause is now at the very core of the seasoned designer. “As a designer, I am now at the point when I’m already happy,” says Salud. “The next chapter for me is to be of help to other people. This is the best way for me to share my love and I’m very happy to be a part of charity shows like this.”
The Red Cross Humanity Gala: “Modernong Filipiniana” will be held at the Grand Ballroom of Solaire Resort and Casino on Sept. 21.
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