Michael Cinco Claps Back at Celebrities Asking for Free Outfits, and What It Says About Lowballing Filipino Creatives

In short, magbayad ka!

Michael Cinco threw shade at Filipino influencers and celebrities, calling them out for dragging their heels when it comes to paying and showing support for local talent.

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In a series of Instagram stories, the renowned Dubai-based Filipino fashion designer Michael Cinco recently took the virtual stage. His spotlight? The glaring gap in promoting international and Filipino designers, and boy, did he have some fashion-forward thoughts to share.

With a dash of candor, Michael Cinco claps back at celebrities asking for free outfits. While harboring no ill will and recognizing the ~crucial role~ they play in market promotion, it unmistakably underscores the challenges faced by Filipino designers and their struggle for recognition in an industry that prioritizes all things international.

A Disheartening Double Standard

While tipping his hat to the role influencers and celebrities play in the fashion scene, Cinco couldn’t help but raise a sartorial eyebrow. ‘My issue is — why [do] Filipino influencers and celebrities seem more than happy to flaunt international brands yet hesitate to promote our very own Filipino designers?’ he quizzically quipped.

Highlighting the spotlight on a stark contrast in enthusiasm, it’s as if influencers and celebrities are hosting a colossal rave for international labels, complete with all-capitalized fonts and hashtags on steroids—a digital fiesta for the global giants. However, when it’s time to celebrate our homegrown heroes, it’s like they’ve stealthily dialed down the volume, offering a timid clap instead of the roaring applause that local talent truly deserves.

‘When Filipino celebrities and influencers wear Filipino designers, they will promote your brand in a whisper, as if they are embarrassed wearing a Pinoy-made gown,’ Cinco continues.

Deep-Seated Mindsets

When Michael Cinco asked, ‘Why is there a discrepancy in the promotion of international and Filipino designers?’ he lamented the lack of support for Filipino designers despite their undeniable talent. This mindset, he argued, contributes to the undervaluing of local creativity and perpetuates a cycle of foreign favoritism within the fashion industry.

Word of Advice

In a final piece of advice for fashion stylists, influencers, and celebrities, Cinco gently asked them to reflect on their approach when seeking something free. He humorously suggested having a cup of coffee beforehand to induce some self-awareness, emphasizing the need for humility and gratitude in the industry.

‘Before you approach designers for loan or custom-made clothes for free, inom ka muna ng kape para kabahan ka naman,’ Cinco said. ‘Mahiya ka naman,’ he added in all-caps.

On the challenges faced by creatives, whether in the fashion industry or other creative spheres, their experiences illuminate the dire need to honor the time, energy, and sheer effort invested in crafting something extraordinary—a creation that extends beyond personal consumption.

In an era where the concept of exposure often takes precedence, it’s vital to recognize that nothing beautiful comes without a cost, especially in the current economic landscape. While exposure is undeniably valuable, artists, like all of us, grapple with the undeniable truth that bills do not get paid with mere visibility.

Even with exchange deals, genuine support involves more than a fleeting mention—it entails championing the creations of designers and artists, becoming a vocal advocate for the ingenuity that breathes life into our world.

As we tread forward, let’s fully fathom that Gawang Pinoy transcends the boundaries of a mere label; it’s a resounding affirmation of artistic brilliance. By wholeheartedly celebrating the beauty emanating from Filipino creativity, we shatter the myth that local is anything less than the creations put out by international artists.

Let our commitment be resolute—to extend our utmost respect and unwavering support to creatives in every corner, ensuring that artistic pursuits are appreciated.

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