Young fashion designers get experimental with form at ‘Damitan Mo Si Maria’

On Saturday, Jan. 20, BS Clothing Technology students from UP Diliman’s College of Home Economics held their graduation show at the university’s GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium. With the theme “Damitan Mo Si Maria,” the class of 2018 showcased the finished work of 17 designers, who researched, designed, and headed the production and merchandising of their own collections.

The show was very much indicative of the future of fashion, highlighting not only the form of the clothes but also their function. This brave new breed of designers seeks to define and answer: “Sino nga ba si Maria?”

It opened with a performance by up and coming band Lunar Lights, after which models began to grace the runway in totally original creations. Women were front and center in feminine collections such as Roni Meneses’ “Thorns and Roses,” with its full skirts, embroidery, and pops of color.

Downward spiral: Rio Sumcad’s “Spiral Into Madness” | Photo by Mike Server

Gender bender: Dora Dorado’s “XXY” | Photo by Mike Server

Rio Sumcad’s “Spiral Into Madness” played with form and color, with bold accents and elements, making for fearless street fashion. Over-the-top is probably not in the mononymous Dora’s vocabulary, for the designer’s “XXY” is a gender-bending, larger-than-life collection that highlights exaggerated sleeves, skirts, giant buttons, and all kinds of textures.

Two lines appear to be based on Maria’s need for some R&R — “Beneath the Shadows” by Paola Yu Guilas, an intimate and delicate line filled with flowing skirts, velvet, and see-through material, and “I’m sleeping in” by Faye Murphy, which elevated pajama bottoms and night dresses, complete with adorable stuffed animals.

Elle Bofill Billoso’s “Francia” was evidently inspired by the streets of Metro Manila: The models sauntered down the catwalk in streetwear adorned with religious imagery and spray-painted “murals” (a la our favorite jeepneys). Hers, however, wasn’t the only collection to feature Biblical references, as Yang Lontoc’s “Unang Anim na Araw” was all about the Creation, with patterns of flora and fauna, headbands, and modern updates to simpler cuts on dresses.

Creation story: Yang Lontoc’s “Unang Anim na Araw” | Photo by Anica Ignacio

In fact, a few other designers based their works on nature and mythology. Starting with a layered brown ensemble and working its way up to ribbons, frills, and a cacophony of colors and texture, Aly Tan’s “Breaking the Chrysalis” recalled the process of metamorphosis. Daring and regal, Aldea Contreras’ “Monumental,” on the other hand, evoked the spirit of Greek goddesses, with criss-cross details and lots of gold.

Several collections were based on or reminiscent of pop culture favorites and icons. Right off the bat, Antonina Abad Amoncio’s “‘96” brought back the Spice Girls with its bubblegum-pop selection of yellows and pinks. Iridescence ruled in “Mahou Shoujo (Magical Girls!)” by Trina Barcel, an homage to anime that features tights, giant ribbons, and lots of pink, satin, and tulle. Nights out collided with day jobs in “1 of the 80°” by E.G.D.C, its color palette of yellows, pinks, and blues becoming a mix of ‘80s trends and mod fashion.

In fact, a few other designers based their works on nature and mythology. Starting with a layered brown ensemble and working its way up to ribbons, frills, and a cacophony of colors and texture, Aly Tan’s “Breaking the Chrysalis” recalled the process of metamorphosis. Daring and regal, Aldea Contreras’ “Monumental,” on the other hand, evoked the spirit of Greek goddesses, with criss-cross details and lots of gold.

A Night to Remember: The BS Clothing Technology students of UP Diliman brought their A-game to their graduation fashion show. | Photos by Anica Ignacio

Graduating and being able to see how you’ve grown in your chosen field or craft is always a scary, exhilarating time. At Damitan Mo Si Maria, these emerging designers were able to present their creations while having each other’s backs and with their families and friends cheering them on.

Brash and unapologetic, the collections at “Damitan Mo Si Maria” proved that Maria doesn’t have to be a woman or a man, doesn’t have be sosyal or cool, doesn’t have to be, well, anything — because Maria can be everything. Regardless of gender, class, color, size, or shape. Every minute of the fashion show was dedicated to showing diversity and smashing stereotypes.

Kind of makes you excited to see what else can be done with fashion, doesn’t it? Daring. Out of the box. Winsome. Now. That’s what Maria is.

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