Monday, 23 March 2015

The PHILIPPINES at the International Fashion Showcase 2015

It was London Fashion Week on 20-24 February, and even though my fashion credentials are not up to scratch anymore, the feeling of being in the know slightly rubbed off me when I viewed the astounding collection of the Philippines design delegates to this year's International Fashion Showcase. 

I was meant to post this on the same week, but I put it on hold to sync with the publication of my write-up about the event on The Filipino Expat Magazine, which you can read HERE

The International Fashion Showcase (IFS) was born in 2012 as an offshoot of the ambition to give the London Olympics a lasting cultural impact. The British Council and British Fashion Council present the largest annual public fashion exhibition of its kind which now hosts nearly 30 countries and more than a hundred emerging talents in the global fashion industry. 

The IFS is the only event during Fashion Week that's open to the public. So whether you delve into or just dabble in fashion and may not necessarily be part of the industry, the fashion showcase gives you a glimpse of the future in sartorial terms. Sarah Mower, MBE, British Fashion Council Ambassador for Emerging Talent and European Editor-at-Large of, believes in London as Europe's most hospitable environment for creativity. 

Two of the designers who made the cut to represent the Philippines in this year's showcase are friends of my friends here and back in the Philippines. I went to support them, and see the possible bespoke piece I've been thinking of getting for myself. Since last year, I've made a decision to purchase at least one fashion item from a Filipino designer.

This display and the one below are from the Nigerian delegates

Fashion Curation is another category of the IFS that focuses on booth installations that set the layout of the display and highlight the theme of the designs. The above Nigerian entry won this year's Best Curator award.

The Philippine exhibition was round the back, so before getting there, I had the chance to admire the works of the designers from other participating countries. My apologies though that I'm unable to give you a detailed account of each country. The IFS was the third exhibit I have visited on the day and it was an overwhelming visual and aesthetic experience. I normally would spend the whole day in one exhibit alone. I'm very pleased to find out that some of these ones that caught my attention eventually won the major awards.

A design by Colombian Julia Manisto who won the Best Designer at the IFS 2015

Now, on to my main event. . .

A very good friend of mine from way back my magazine days has been telling me about this very talented Marine Biologist turned accessory designer whose works have caught the very discerning eye of Vogue Italia and made him the very first Filipino to be included in the Vogue Talent for Accessories featured in the indomitable fashion magazine's 50th anniversary issue. 

A Marine Biodiversity specialist, Ken Samudio doesn't have a formal training in fashion, but has employed his knowledge and expertise in creating pieces that resemble textures found in nature. Up-cycled beads, the main material in his creations, are made from recycled plastic water bottles, sea glass and other sustainable materials.

In the above photo, Ken told me that the lower part of the cape was made out of melted glue sticks. I don't remember the last time I held one, but I remember using it in school for Practical Arts projects.

This cuff is perfect; I wish I ordered it sooner, and he probably would have had it prepared on his way from Manila to London.

In keeping with the curator's theme of mythical creatures from Philippine folklore, the colourways Ken and his fellow designers brought to London are of the darker variety. His website shows the brighter coloured ones which I'm more keen on.

Designer extraordinaire Mr Ken Samudio, and me. I'm not a poser, so I don't really like being photographed all the time, but I had to have one with Ken before he becomes too unreachable :)

Ken took home the first runner-up accolade for the Best Designer category, besting other 109 designers! The Best Designer Award went to Julia Manisto of Colombia.

For more information on Ken Samudio and his work, click HERE. His pieces are currently stocked by Luisa Via Roma and in Barney's stores, in collaboration with another highly acclaimed Filipino designer, Betina Ocampo.

I'm more an accessory collector rather than a clothes horse. The more unusual the pieces, the better. So these sculptural bags and cuffs from designer Michelline Syjuco's collection are a runaway winner for me.

Skulls are always immediately associated with Alexander McQueen, so to see emerging designers giving their own twist to an otherwise macabre object is refreshing.

She calls the above bags "Yorick", and you would be surprised to know that they are hand-carved and hand-painted wood decorated with prefabricated stainless steel hardware, antique watch parts, and repurposed bathroom fixtures.

These cuffs are made of recycled century-old Philippine hardwood and salvaged fallen trees from countless typhoons in the Philippines, decorated with repurposed stainless steel hardware and semi-precious stones.

"Tiyanak" (Child Demon) handbags

"Kamandag" (Venom) handbag with added beaten brass element, aside from the wood and semi-precious stones

Creations by John Herrera

My favourite from John Herrera's collection

Urbanwear by Renan Pacson

Installation by costume and set designer Gino Gonzales

Tony Evan's dramatic and unusual headpieces

Safety pins, among other household items, make up this jacket

It was the second time for me to pop in to the International Fashion Showcase exhibit; I can guarantee myself a third.

P.S. This space turns 2 today, 23 March. Thank you all for being around!


  1. This looks really wonderful...I love all the designs...the shoes are my favourite and the bags too! Even though I would most likely fall over in the shoes, they are really creative. And you look wonderful in the picture, great to catch a shot while you can. To tell you a secret, I have to pretend sometimes that I'm not having my picture taken in order to have pictures taken because I am a little timid at times, ha!! Have a wonderful week ahead :) xx

  2. Wow, these designs look really inspiring and you're so lucky to have seen them with your own eyes! Happy Blogversary!

  3. wow!! so incredible and avant garde!! :D

    Animated Confessions

  4. What a fascinating event and I had no idea this was open to the public. The dress by Julia Manisto is so vibrant and a work of art as are those incredible shoes. So much creativity in one space! It's always so interesting to read about the background of designers and Ken Samusio's shimmmering purple bag and the cuff are just outstanding. Thank you for your comment. I was surprised to read that you lived near Notting Hill at one time. It's certainly an area which has been evolving these last few years.

  5. Wow! It must be a fantastic event!! Fashion sometimes creates works of art, and those sandals are gorgeous!!
    Lucky woman to have the chance to visit the show.... :-)

  6. Firstly, happy blogiversary! I've lost track of the exact date of my blog's anniversary although I'm sure it wouldn't take me long to find out. I feel proud when I see fellow Brummies do well in their craft so it must have been lovely to see emerging Filipino talent. I think I'm with you with that Herrera jacket - I could very much see myself in that. I love quirky handbags and those are probably the most unique and quirky bags I've ever seen; I'd just want them as an ornament in my bedroom ha ha. Hope you're well xx


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