By John Legaspi
On its third year, the Bench Design Awards (BDA) gathered the industry’s rising young talents, staying true to the brand’s vision of putting Philippine fashion on the map. Since its inception in 2017, the brand served as a platform for designers Jaggy Glarino, Jennifer Contreras, RJ Santos, Renz Reyes, Sherwin Sacramento, and Christian Edward Dalogaog to take their fashion careers to the next level.
This year, Benchrounded up nine designers to participate in the design competition where three winners will be sent to Tokyo and showcase their collection at the Rakuten Fashion Week.
Among the nine finalists, Jace Quiambao, Antonina Amoncio, and Bon Reyes emerged on top with their eight-piece collections. Designs were judged on creativite executions and technical skills by the esteemed panel of international judges: international fashion designers Willy Chavarria, Mihara Yasuhiro, Japan Fashion Week organization director Kaoru Imajo, Japanese fashion show director Shige Kaneko, and Tokyo Fashion Week’s Philippine consultant Tetta Matera. Heading the judges table was the executive creative director of Bench and founder and chairman of Suyen Corporation Ben Chan.
Get to know our delegates to Rakuten Fashion Week and their winning collections:
Known for his design aesthetic dubbed as “sartorial whimsy,” this 26-year-old Iloilo designeris a licensed nurse who studied fashion design at the Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship. His collection, “A Lepidopterist’s Summer,” was inspired by VladimirNabokov’s butterfly illustrations. He reinvented the field uniform of lepidopterists with the use of suede and twill, making jackets, shorts, and vests in earth tone hues juxtaposed with pops of color and a fair addition of butterfly patches.
Currently teaching basic menswear in the Fashion Institute of the Philippines, Bon Reyes first learned how to sew by creating garments for religious statues at their local Catholic church when he was younger. For the design competition, the designerpresented his collection entitled “Pagkahari.” Inspired by Filipino pre-colonial clothing, Reyes’ gender-fluid designs interprethow Filipinos dressed during that time in contrast to how Spaniards depicted our way of dressing.
Not new to the BDA runway, Antonina Amonciopresented her collection last year entitled “ParaSa’yo,” which was a tribute to the Philippine workforce. The 22-year-old graduate of University of the Philippines loves to associate her works with socially relevant issues, events, and sentiments. And with her new collection “Gunita,” she explored the world of Filipino childrens’ books, featuring the illustrations of her young sister Ann Suzette as the print for her garments.
Tags: #BenchDesignAwards2019, #BFW_Holiday2019, Antonina Amoncio, Ben Chan, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Bon Reyes, Jace Quiambao, Kaoru Imajo, Mihara Yasuhiro, Shige Kaneko, Tetta Matera, Willy Chavarria