Hybrid Form: Dear Rosa, class notes

Dear Rosa is written in a personal letter form to an airport security personnel. The letter contains:

Description writing of a matchbox
Personal manifesto of being a feminist
A little bit of instructional writing

As a reader, I felt as if I was being invited to become as one, especially when the writer mentioned modern women. I am too. I was invited to see beyond the obvious and the properties that made the matchbox a “dangerous weapon” but to look at it deeply and see that there are new properties in it that is beyond what it was originally developed.

I liked how every piece of item is related to something personal and that allowed me to connect with the writer.

As a hybrid form, the differences are in the details that I didn’t notice until it was pieced apart in class. This is the type of writing I really liked.

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.

Operational Form: Class Exercise

How to lift a pen:

Engage the muscles of your right arm and open your fingers. There’s a blue inked object on the work bench. Reach out towards it and, with your fingers, pinch its plastic body and lift.

How to raise your hand:

  1. From a relaxed position, tense the muscles of your arm, either side.
  2. Pull the lower arms towards the sky bending at the elbow.
  3. Stretch out your fingers as if saying hi. Doing so will give you more visual cues that can call attention.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Manifesto Homework: The Vision, A Creative Manifesto

This manifesto is via WGSN. It embodies everything I believe as a fashion designer in 2020 and the future.

Keys are:

Red: Underline what the manifesto is championing, advocating, arguing pleading for or against.
Blue: Highlight significant persuasive or emotive language.
Yellow: Highlight evidence in the text that indicates who the manifesto written for (audience/ reader).
Green: Underline the key points of the manifesto.
Orange: Point out anything you do not understand, and anything you think is extraneous.

Speech Homework: Manuel L. Quezon’s Speech to the Filipino People

Upload the url to your blog and add notes that document your observations about how the speech is delivered, use of imagery, sound, gesture, back ground relevance, emotive use of language, volume, pace etc.

This is the first time I have encountered this speech. Not one of my high school teachers ever encouraged us to read or listen to this president speak. This was delivered in 1920s, when the Philippines was under the United States, a time when the foreign nation is gaining great power and had infiltrated their culture into the Philippines through a different method of colonialism. Manuel Quezon was the first president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, but he was the second Philippine president in history after Emilio Aguinaldo, who was the president of the first republic.

The content of the speech is so inspiring for someone like me who is putting Philippine culture into every creative work I do, through which I allow myself to absorb my culture no matter where I am in the world. I grew up in a time where the Philippines wasn’t at its best. It was the 90s, every who can left the Philippines in search for a better life, everyone who didn’t wishes they could. But in a time where the American presence is so largely felt in the country, someone fought for the independence. This is the speech, I wish I heard when I was young. I probably wasn’t one who wished for a different life.

The speech was so well presented, so simple yet so strong. Delivered twice, in the languages the locals spoke at the time. I wished though it was spoken in Tagalog or any other Philippine dialect. The Filipino language is the one that isn’t spoken as much without any interference of an English word. It even shares words with the Spanish language as some words never had any translation to Tagalog or another dialect. (For example, cheese is keso in Tagalog, which is also the term in Spanish only spelt differently: queso). We have always been a nation encouraged to speak the English language. It seems like an advantage in a time of globalization, but when it becomes the preferred language, especially of the educated, forgetting our own, then the problem is presented. Speeches as such would help bring the language back on its own pedestal.

I am glad the video reveals Manuel Quezon captured by cameras of the time. He has such a presence one can trust to lead the country. He has a commanding presence, that even though his grammar isn’t according to the rules of the English language, he never flinched or excused himself. He kept speaking showing that Philippines will not be broken.

Descriptive Form: Another writer’s companion

Tap, tap, tap, tap it goes. The white square keys cheeped against her drumming fingers. The alphabet is stamped onto the keys in a sequence order different from the Alphabet song everyone learns at age one. Tap, there goes a letter popping onto a screen. The same one her finger pressed on. Numbers and symbols are on it to available at the tip of her fingers, literally, to help her develop her thoughts. Tap, tap, tap, her head is still but her fingers blur with every tap, tap, tap, revealing the narrative in her mind. Silence. She must be thinking. Cheep, cheep, cheep. Away she went.

Catalogue Essay Writing: Denouement

“They told me to take a street-car named Desire, and transfer to one called Cemeteries, and ride six blocks and get off at—Elysian Fields!”

Blanche DuBois, Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams


She entered the stage in a white coat extruding a presence that made her distant from the realities of the streets of New Orleans when the audience were introduced to Blanche Dubois. Her demise was announced at her arrival at Elysian Fields where her sister resides with her husband. In Greek mythology, Elysian Fields is an underworld. This project came about as a response to a previous project created – a white 1930s dress with a blush pink ribbon for the character’s opening scene. An expression of a childlike innocence and far removed from reality. Everything these set of photographs suggests are not. Denouement is a photographic series that portrays the closure of Blanche DuBois’s chapter in her own Elysian Fields as told in the play Streetcar Named Desire written by Tennessee Williams in 1947.

Other versions of this sampler:

Denouement is a series of photographs previewing the final parts of Blanche Dubois’s story in Tennessee William’s 1947 play Streetcar Named Desire. Her narrative began at the end of the lifestyle she once had when she arrived at her sister’s apartment in New Orleans via a streetcar named Desire. It was the first project I produced when I returned to Massey in 2017 where students were to respond to one of the projects created in previous first year studio papers. Unlike most of the other students, I too began at the end, and so the concept had to come from a project I created at Southern Institute of Technology where I transferred from. There I designed a garment for the opening scene of the play, a white 1930s dress with a pink bow, a portrayal of a Southern Belle’s childlike innocence from reality. In this project, there was nothing innocent nor perfect, just the death of one’s lavish life they once knew.

Essay Exercise: Catalogue Essay Analysis Exercise

A little class exercise on analyzing a Catalogue essay. The keys were:

Historical / Context
Theoretical framing / Influencer insight
Connection to art and design

Art and The Indiscernible

Angela Kilford

Final Thoughts

Kim Lee

Speech Writing: Isang mensahe para sa mga malikhaing Pilipino

The speech I wrote was revised from the Manifesto of a Filipino Creative. It is spoken in Tagalog, the national dialect of the Philippines. For context, it is spoken and written for fellow Filipino creatives and the youth who wants to explore the world of creativity. The basis of the manifesto is being proud of our culture and applying it onto our creative endeavours. I tried this speech said without reading too much on the written version and speak it by heart. It didn’t work quite easily as I thought. The most surprising part of this process is that, it is not any easier writing in my own language, nor speaking my language formally. It is definitely a more conversational language. I definitely ended up using some English words to feel a little bit more comfortable delivering the message to my audience. Whereas, conversationally, I find English to be quite difficult. I also realized that to moment I spoke in my language in a formal sense, and inserted polite terms such as “po” and “opo”, pulled me towards a polite tone. It is a very Filipino trait that are often pointed out by non-Filipino people.


Edit: Above is a 2-minute version of the speech from above.

Response Essay Exercise: Quicken; Photography, touch.

I know, I heard it from everyone.
Something dreadful could happen to him. He’s in and out of the hospital, at risk every time. Stuck in a country with unreliable health resources.

“How are you feeling” people would ask me.
I respond, “I don’t know. Not until I see clearly how hard it is for him to drink his medicine. I’d know then. The focus is not there, and I’d wait until it is all clear.”

While I can still see him in my mind full of life and smiles.

I wish I could hold his hand and tell him this: this year has forced us apart. It is easier, I know, to focus in on the loneliness of being alone than to enjoy what you’re forced to be surrounded with. It’s easier to focus on the darkness surrounding us. It’s easier to hear the silence of a wide open space. Hold on tight, for a bit, a hope he’d hear me say. This year will end, and whatever this year has brought us will be over.