Review Form Update: Virtual Fashion Show with #RajoRunwayOnline

Last night, for the first time in years, I went on Facebook awaiting a very exciting new experience for the Philippine fashion industry. Rajo Laurel, one of the Philippines’ biggest fashion designers staged his first online fashion show. I was there waiting in anticipation on the same Facebook page the Philippine elites and celebrities he dressed were also viewing. This digital stage disregarded my location so far away from where it was hosted and equalized people. For the first time, I sat front row at a fashion shows I probably would have never seen if it was produced in person. I did not have to crane my neck to have a good look at garments through the shadows of the well off.

This was not the first time it’s done in the industry. Shanghai staged its fashion week virtually this year. The presence of Covid-19 that spread across the world had forced brands and events to be produced digital. Conversation on the future of the industry has been in discussion for so long now. However, early this month it was opened to a wider range of audience for free at the Vogue  Global Conversation held early this month digitally. The people in the industry expressed a feeling of being adamant about the change of show space. Or at least, not fully willing to let go of the old. While there is a common agreement amongst the speakers that a stimulating experience in being part of the community of the brand is still important (and simply nice to have), the possibility and the chance to do something online is not looked down upon, and even inviting. One speaker noticed that having access to the shows online brought in thousands more viewers compared to the 600 invited and ticketed guests in the physical show, allowing for a wider range of customers. Fashion, as always, is open and even adapting to the never ending change in society.

So last night, in true Filipino spirit of resilience, Rajo Laurel celebrated his birthday with a first in Philippine fashion industry. Together with Saga Events, they revolutionized the industry by staging a virtual show amongst the community quarantine the country is still experiencing. It showed a new collection from the fashion designer where unlike a recorded version of a fashion show, it was shot as if the viewer is right there sat front row. The show was an hour long (including a long wait at the beginning) where emcee sat in a space in her home in Metro Manila (I believe it is), speaking to the designer in his own space in the province of Batangas. Saga Event’s Robby Carmona, the managing director of the show, was also present online to talk about the process of digitalization of the show.

I have to be honest, I expected a show filmed live as it was literally happening. Alas, they were a cut and sewn videos of pre-recorded model walks, projected online live from Saga Event’s Facebook page. The show aired at 6 pm (10 pm NZ time) in the tropics where the sun sets at 5 pm all year round, but the models were walking outside under the blazing sun as though it was 12 noon. The opening remarks were live, however. Although it took too long (typical in a Filipino event), it was the part that made watching the show felt live. Fast forward to the actual fashion show, compared to the opening, it happened in a snap, almost literally. Especially after a brief blip on the connection, which caused me to miss a good chunk of the fashion presentation’s beginning where most of the individual garments were shown. With a triple split-screen effect at the end, it was difficult to catch up on the looks I missed. However, it did make for an exciting virtual show.

I realize now what stimulating, inspiring experience that is missing online. On the one hand it gave me a sort of feeling of being on front row seat allowing me to appreciate the clothes up close. However still lacked that presence of over-dressed people, alcoholic beverage in hand confined in a space to watch people walk by. For a student, this gives a sense of excitement for a potential future.

I don’t know if a live recording of a model walking an empty catwalk is the future. However, the speakers at the Vogue Global Conversation does make a great about this possible future (even after Covid-19 is dealt with): there is room for both physical and virtual shows in the future. The future is not to plan for showing online but to visualize, plan and design a show that both in-person guests and online viewers can appreciate at the same time.

Writing Studio Exercise: Descriptive Form

My list

  • Yellow Skin
  • Tangy Taste
  • Gradient
  • Sour
  • Egg-like Shape
  • Smooth
  • Soft
  • Pointy
  • Fruity
  • Fresh

Group List

  • Yellow Skin
  • Tangy Taste
  • Gradient
  • Sour
  • Egg-like Shape
  • Smooth
  • Soft
  • Pointy
  • Fruity
  • Fresh

Chocolate …

Photo by Giordano Rossoni on Unsplash

A brown piece of sweet temptation

That little piece of temptation brought our family to either a satisfying period to dinne or the start of pointless squabbles.

I remember how chocolates could satisfy the end of a good dinner or the beginning of squabbling siblings.

I held it, a piece of sweet temptation that dotted the end of a satisfying family dinner but had also triggered squabbling siblings.

I held what used to be a piece of sweet temptation that dotted the end of a satisfying family dinner or the on that tempted us to start a fight.

At one moment a piece of chocolate simply shines sweetly and the next it can transform into a dripping mess. So transformative that chocolates can be such a tiny innocent piece of sweets that could dot a satisfying family dinner but can also be a piece of temptation that started a little sibling squabble.

Serviettes…

Something is hidden in its soft white folds. I was afraid to approach it but inside, a clay, bright colored, squished into an unrecognized form. A heart forms as it folds over the orange piece, proctectively. Too protectively. I was the clay, hidden in his soft tender protective hands. Too protective that I did not shine through his caress, suffocated as he molded me into his form.

Photo by Jake Davies on Unsplash

Fashion Film Inspiration

One of the end results of this project is a fashion film, regardless if I show at a catwalk or an exhibit. This is in collaboration with my film artist friend, Regine Panlilio. Most of my latest works and blogs are in collaboration with her and it’s just fitting that I finish my degree with another collaborative work with her.

The idea of a fashion film is to tell the story behind the concept of the collection. As much as the catwalk will show the movement of the fabric and an exhibit can allow the audience to look closer at the workmanship, part of the reason I wanted to do a film is to spread the message outside of New Zealand. Not only do I want to voice out the Filipinos to the rest of the world, but the Filipinos need to know our colonial story and that America does not have our best interest. There’s so much a film can do that neither an exhibit and catwalk can portray, that would reach a larger group of people.

These are some of the fashion films I’m quite inspired by. However, most of the direction will be Regine’s ideas as she is more confident and knowledgeable behind the camera and storytelling through frames.

Making the frame

The weaving technique, just like any weaving techniques, will need a loom. Thankfully, the loom required for this project won’t be too intensive and only needs a few supplies. For a sample frame, I used a simple picture frame bought at a thrift shop and nails. But perhaps, I will have to make my own frame, custom sized to what I need it to be once the patterns are drafted.


Fabrics to Use

Main Fabric

There isn’t much choice of fabrics I needed for this project. The main reason is that the fabric, for the most part, will be woven and made by hand using old clothes. I have with me a full bag and a box of old clothes ready to be used as this is often how this rag weaving is often done. If not old clothes, the leftover fabric is used. I have here pictured the general idea of what the fabric will look like. However, the color won’t be exactly the same as what is pictured as it depends on what is made available. The majority of it will be black and white, and mostly red is the main color. But it will be blended with what’s available.



Second Main Fabric

The second main fabric is what the layering dress and first look will be made of. While this is designed with the piña fabric in mind, my sources are very limited. Piña fabric is made out of pineapple leave fibers that are extracted and woven to a fine silk-linen-organza-like luxurious fabric. It is native to the Philippines and to this day is still made by hand, thus a very expensive fabric to obtain. I went to the Philippines early last year in search of a cheaper, but true piña fabric (or even a blend with banana or cotton) but being mainly in the city during my stay, it was not an easy find. Finding it in the city also meant it was either pre-cut to be custom made into a barong Tagalog, which is already expensive, or a synthetic alternative, which, even that was hard to find. I went home empty-handed, unfortunately, and with the global pandemic and the Philippines still rising in COVID-cases, shipping is extremely expensive and very slow. I did not want to risk it in such a time crunch. Instead, I opt for what is locally and easily available that is, somewhat, close. I found a silk-linen blend available at The Fabric Store, which has the sheen and the natural feel, but it lacks stiffness and transparency that is unique to pineapple. It will, however, represent the design.

This is what piña looks like:

Drafting a two-piece sleeve for a Classic Jacket

Here is two-part video of how I drafted the two-piece sleeve pattern often used in a classic tailor jacket. The experience was a pretty long one as it is my first time drafting the sleeve patten at all. I don’t think I’ve ever done it even on paper. This is the beauty of digital pattern making that I like most. I was able to fix my mistakes multiple times without damaging the paper. Oftentimes, I’d rub off pencil markings in one area that weakens the paper causing a tear where an important detail could be drafted. Frustration usually would lead me to starting over onto a new paper, which adds to the waste. Here I can take note, delete or make the mistakes a different color so I can reference back to it.

Most of the problem took place at two important areas, that I didn’t think was that important. First, the mirroring of the front arm scye was in an incorrect space. My first attempt I only moved the curved line the same amount the straight line did the, but it wasn’t a true mirror. Instead, I copied and reflected both the curve and the straight line, so it retains the same distance.

Second, was the movement of point O from the reflected front pitch. My notes instructs me to move the point .3cm. I did, but basing only with the photo and without instruction on the direction, I thought it needed to move towards the left. After catching Robyn at the last minute of one of her classes when Mary Ellen was away one Wednesday (I still didn’t have this problem when I spoke to Mary Ellen), we figured I moved the .3cm the wrong way and it should have moved towards the right. That fixed the ease problem allowing me to put the correct amount of ease on all sides of the sleeve. The separate video will show me correcting this mistake.

This part of the process was more manual that I still needed a “pen and paper” (in my case, digital) to put all my notes down so I can keep track of my numbers. This is when pen and paper pattern making wins, because writing numbers, for me, is far more effective and faster when written down, especially when there’s a need to highlight and color code the lines. While all of that is possible digitally, the pen and paper version is just faster and more efficient than typing.

Pinoy Inspiration for Tatsulok

Pinoy is a colloquial term for Filipinos, the people and culture of the Philippines, which is the main focus of this project. Specifically what it means to be a Filipino after colonization. The separation of social classes emphasizes the enduring effects of colonialism and therefore has great influence on this project as well. Here are some of what Philippines looks like in my perspective.





Draping Ideas on Mannequin

After a few sketches to get my ideas out of my head, I needed to see how the fabric behaves when it’s on the body. Gladly I found two rags brought with us from the Philippines that I could use to do some draping. Unlike my previous experience in draping, pleating isn’t as easy with quite a thick fabric. However, it wins on volume, so I knew I had to utilize that. It wasn’t easy when I don’t have a large enough fabric to make initial draping ideas. Even more challenging is I’m working with a fixed length and width that I can not cut. So here are some of the first results on my draping attempt




Making the Top Collar

Drafting the top collar pattern in Adobe Illustrator. Here I was able to use new tools to make the pieces unite together quicker and faster than making new lines and connecting them to where I added volume. It is perhaps the easiest edit I’ve made.

Drafting Jacket Block on Adobe Illustrator

This is the preview of how I drafted the jacket block in fast speed. It is not intended to as a tutorial but merely just to show how I used Illustrator as a drafting tool. It took roughly about 3 hours to do the draft given that this is the first draft I did on Illustrator. I was still getting used to the interface. I had my notes and instructions open on a separate screen tablet while doing the drafting onto my computer.