Six designers from Iloilo City are brimming with heart and soul with their collections.
Beyond the world of fashion in Manila are cities that are worth the global applause. After the recognition of Filipino talent overseas is the rise of creatives in provinces such as Iloilo where thriving creatives are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be the next in fashion. With hard-hitting concepts and mind-bending techniques, here are more young Ilonggo designers that deserve to be on your radar.
THIS ILONGGO DESIGNER’S MUSE? MUSHROOMS.
At this point, we’re accustomed to nature being an inspiration for design. Usually it is traced to flowers, the ocean, or even fairies, but not mushrooms. It’s an unlikely source of inspiration, yet makes you think why its umbrella-shaped silhouette isn’t so much at the top of mind when it comes to fashion. Not for Ilonggo designer Zarlien Macabanti-Delgado though. Her collection, aptly named The Allegory of Spores, took inspiration from the fungus’ bulbous curves in form of fabric manipulation and excellent construction. Iris Van Herpen meeting her match? Quite possibly.
THE EYES ARE THE WINDOW TO THE SOUL FOR THIS ILONGGO DESIGNER
Ilonggo designer Glen Torrefranca’s work is understated, but dramatic. If there’s such a thing as “quiet couture,” this would be it. The inspiration for his avant garde aesthetic is the unfortunate diagnosis of his brother’s condition called retinal detachment. His collection mirrors the eyes, with the retina as his stimulus. The choice of fabrics and techniques from the pompom details overlayed on tulle to the bejeweled mask, Glen Torrefranca’s field of vision is 20/20.
THE ILONGGO DESIGNER THAT’S HEALING OUR INNER CHILD WITH HIS PLAYFUL AESTHETIC
Welcome to the weird, wonderful world of Ilonggo designer Jio Azarcon. Entitled ZIPCODE: 5000, they let us in to a parallel universe where Iloilo City is vivid and surreal, yet still has its playful nature. Motifs such as paper boat hats, egg-shaped bra tops, and graphic alternating prints conveyed Jio Azarcon’s vision of a brighter, sunnier version of his hometown. Plus points for being clever with the proportion play.
THIS ILONGGO DESIGNER THAT TAKES US TO EACH STAGE OF GRIEF WITH HIS DISTRESSED, TIE-DYED PIECES
In Hebrew language, the word “qavah” means “binding together, eagerly waiting, hoping.” This is the story behind Herwin Cardoza’s collection. Through his garments, he was able to tell a story of grief, survival, and letting go as seen on the distressed, but artfully draped pieces in each look.
IDENTITY AND FINDING HIS OWN DNA WAS THE NAME OF THIS DESIGNER’S GAME
Wire-work is a risky choice of material if not executed perfectly, but Iloilo designer Andy Basco sculpts it as second skin with their collection. Struggling to find their identity, we see the designer’s evolution in each garment beneath the nude undergarments—almost as if the shapes resemble that of a DNA.
THE WINNING CONCEPT THAT CONVEYED THE STORY OF FALLEN ANGELS
We’ll take painstaking handiwork over AI-generated photos any day. Yes, this collection by Glen Paracale is very much real. Through fabric sculpting, sublimation, molding and embroidery, the Iloilo designer’s concept of fallen angels truly materialized. The corsetry, proportions, and intense workmanship as seen on every feather laid out on the wings pushes the boundaries of dress-making. This collection alone is a primary example of local talents worthy of the global stage.