Stellar: Mindanao Heritage Fashion Designers Competition 2019

Our heritage can come alive in modern fashion, as proven by eight Mindanaoan designers who took part in the second edition of Stellar: Mindanao Heritage Fashion Designers Competition. Stellar, which took place on May 25, is the flagship event of Ayala Malls Abreeza and the Davao Fashion Design Council’s (DFDC) Fashion Weekend Davao (FWD) 2019. Stellar’s participating designers showcased contemporary capsule collections infused with indigenous influences for a chance to win the grand prize of P100,000 in start-up capital; a two-year mentoring, training, and business incubation program with the Department of Trade & Industry; as well as a specially crafted trophy by globally-recognized Davaoeño artist Kublai Millan. Stellar 2019 finalists Ron Xavier Santos, Toping Zamora, Rogie Vergara, Jr., Kenny Ladaga, Bonie Adaza, Christon Soto Bautista, Joao Tarepe, and Raymond Umpa took turns impressing the audience with their creative interpretations of Mindanao’s diverse character. Also parading their creations on the runway were DFDC members Egay Ayag, Aztec Barba, Dodjie Batu, Edgar Buyan, Emi-Alexander Englis, Bamba Limon, Windell Mira, and Benjie Panizales. Stellar 2016 Grand Winner Wilson Limon, who has since gained acclaim for his NIñOFRANCO pieces worn by the likes of Catriona Gray, also graced the stage. Deciding the fate of the Stellar finalists was a formidable panel of judges made up of Department of Trade & Industry Design Center of the Philippines executive director Rhea Matute; Pam Quiñones, founder of fashion styling studio Qurator, celebrity stylist, and former L’Officiel Manila editor-in-chief; Michael Carandang, producer and director known for his work on The Tyra Banks Show, America’s Next Top Model, and It Takes Gutz to Be a Gutierrez; and DFDC president Dodjie Batu. In the end, it was Toping Zamora of Davao City who took home the title of Stellar 2019 Grand Winner. Capturing the fancy of the judges and the audience alike was his capsule collection dubbed “Enlacer,” which looked to the Bagobo Tagabawa signature beadworking style for inspiration and featured handwoven gintlo fabric from a Blaan community in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.

(content by Abreeza Ayala Mall)(Photos by Ryam Yap) 

Fashion Weekend Davao is curated by the PWC Artisanal Heritage Studies and Creative Enterprise Center.