Moda MindaNow: weaving Mindanao into the contemporary fabric of global fashion

From Urog Etnika to Moda MIndaNow, the search is on its 10th year.

EXCITING must be the word that can best describe the state of Mindanao fashion today. To where the credit must be given will be subjective—technology’s easy access for research, inspiration, the exposure, the availability of materials, etc. Talent, however, will always put the designer on the forefront.

No shortage of talent in Mindanao

There seems to be no shortage of talent in these parts of the Philippines, the proof was seen again in the recent edition of the Moda MindaNow, an annual search for the best designs held during Kadayawan Festival, at the SM City, the quest’s birthplace.

Year 2015 marks an important year for both Davao and this contest— it’s the 30th year of the “Festival of Festivals” and the 10th for Moda MondaNow, a spin off from the Urog Etnika.

In gold.

Moda MindaNow has been a showcase of Mindanaoan ingenuity of young designers from across the land. Its aim is to put the spirit, colors and patterns of its many tribes into mainstream fashion.

From Davao del Norte, Ricahrd Pulache's red Manobo-inspired piece was probably the best edited piece in the showcase. He placed 2nd in the Innovative Design Category

The participants didn’t disappoint. As the years progressed, the execution of the designers has evolved. From the past’s hardcore infusion of elements that deemed the product unwearable, the shape have transformed into the opposite, a look that bears a global appeal yet keeping the authenticity of Mindanao in its design elements.

THis midnight blue umber by Joao Tarepe of Davao City won him 3rd in the Innovative Design Category 

From a pool of designers who have been tasked with the challenge, the candidates were shortlisted. Thirty designers competed in 3 categories—Pret-a-porter, innovative design and couture, with 10 entries each.

Koronadal creations winning top prizes in all three categories: Pret a porter, Innovative Deign & Couture.

It was a clean sweep for the Koronadal designers winning the top awards in all three categories.

The grand prize winners of the 10th Moda MindaNow: Sherwin Tiongson (Pret-a-porter), Archie Castillo (Couture) & Duhata (Innovative Design)

All cheers from the admirers & friends of the Koronal designers as they were announced the winners.

Sherwin Tiongson bested the pret-a-porter category with his T’boli inspired ensemble of fitted top and tight pants with details on the hip and peek-a-boo on the side seams. The bright red hand woven fabric was cut into a sleek and bold look that emits a whiff of avant-garde reminiscent of a Gaultier.

T'boli inspired ready to wear by Sherwin Tiongson.

Design & fabric details of Tiongson's winning entry.

Using the same bold tone and handcrafted fabric, Archie Castillo molded his red T’boli couture number. Castillo infused deconstructed tribal fabric into his two-piece ensemble- a cropped top paired with a serpentina skirt, and embellished it with coco, dried seeds and chalk beading.

T'boli couture by Castillo

Design &fabric details of Castillo's entry.

Most impressive and if I may say clearly the runaway jury’s choice of the lot is the entry of designing duo Duhata, which bagged them the grand prize in the category of Innovative Design. Working on shades of earth, brown and grey, Duhata wove dream catcher-like components in varying sizes to complete one well-handcrafted, form-hugging masterpiece. The end product that made it to the runway elicited gasps and applause from the admiring audience.

Innovative & creative, Duhata caught their dream of wining with this magnificent piece.

Design & detail of Duhata's entry.

Celebrating Mindanaoan talents, Moda MindaNow 2015 also highlighted the B’laan-inspired collection by Jared Servaño. Servaño is a finalist in the reality TV show, Runway Philippines, and was Moda Mindanaw 2014 top choice for the Long Gown competition.

One of last year's winner Jared Servano is special guest designer.

Servaño presented his collection inpired by the B'laan tribe

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Clearly the talent is present, but with the right mentoring, which will tackle technique and editing to instill in these young minds that neither volume nor the-more-the-better will bring home the top prize, these designers will go a long, long way.

Congratulations to the winners and Moda MindaNow for continually drawing out young talented designers from the different regions of the island and giving them a shot at weaving Mindanao into the fabric of mainstream fashion.

Honored to be a judge on Moda MindaNows 10th year & be seated with these Davao personalities