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.

More details about the changes for the Barong Dress on CAD

There were multiple changes made with the patterns of the Barong dress to finesse its look and details. I began by removing the fullness of the dress that made it oversize, but I kept the volume of the original pattern at the hem.

As mentioned previously, the center front panel doesn’t need a horizontal line to separate the placket from the rest of it. So I removed the seam to create one whole panel. I actually don’t know why I did it. I think it was so I could hide the raw edges of the facing, which wasn’t the best solution, anyway.



I wanted the collar to end at the seam where the placket begins and then straighten the placket from there. I moved the center panel line 1cm away from the neckline, however, I think I didn’t push through with this later on. The neckline was also reshaped to add space. After removing the fullness at the shoulder, the shoulder went back to it original  length and rounded it off to 14. The toile marks show 12.5cm length, however, I decided to keep the length at 14cm to have it look less tailored.






*Note: Ignore the yellow line as the old line was way down at the waistline.



What my to do list for this task looks like:


Sleeves were the biggest edit I did for this dress as the first one I did doesn’t even replicate the drawing at all. Angle is important in the design of the sleeve, so I began the iteration there. This dictated the height of the crown, which, as expected, is quite small as the angle is high up.

The shape took a while to pattern make. It took me a few tries, while looking at the cut from the toile to create the shape I wanted. As it is drafted flat and opened, and the toile is sewn in 3D form, I could barely imagined what the pattern actually looked like. (Next time, I am going to unpick the seams and open the sleeves to visualize the pattern.


Final patterns of the 2nd drafted pattern:

2nd toile and notes

The second toile presented a much better proportions, sleeves and overall look of the Barong dress. While there are still some noted changes that needs to happen, these are just in the details.

  1. The collar, as suggested by Robyn, to have the stand end at the original center front of the garment. That is to stabilize the corner where the placket and the collar meets. A gap will still be shown, but smaller as oppose to the original patterns. A gap is ideal for the design to emulate the typical mandarin collar on some Barong shirts.
  2. Placket needs to just adjust and have a better construction sequence as there is a part on the placket that isn’t enclosed by the collar. Robyn also suggested a method, which will be toiled as a sample.
  3. Neckline seemed to have gotten higher, a little change needs to happen here.
  4. A little more drop on the armscye is preferred. It has a casual feel to it that I prefer for this shirt dress. Most Barongs are worn in special events, as a uniform or business attire and this particular design is more everyday casual or street vibe.
  5. I wanted to try the sleeve with an coconut fabric interfacing that is stiff. May be able to help with the shape, but may be too stiff. Can only try, right?
  6. Need to still finesse the whole pattern as this will be my final pattern to submit.
  7. Remember to note sequence of construction for specification pack.

Review Form: Virtual Fashion Show with #RajoRunwayOnline

Creative Exposition Update (02/08/20): This review was first written on May 20, 2020 after taking part on this online fashion show that took place during the enhanced community quarantine in the Philippines (at a time when New Zealand was on level 4 quarantine). I chose to include this writing in this sampler after knowing more about the review from in class. I revisited the writing and decided to rewatch the show and fully engage in it. There are simple changes that I believe helped enhance the writing of this review in such a way that it flows better.

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 Philippines elites and celebrities he dressed were also viewing. This digital stage equalized people. Well, somehow. Until you look at the stories in their individual social accounts and you see the Zoom after party held after the live streaming of the show and you’re still not invited. Okay, about 1k plus, plus of us.

Nonetheless, it felt like, for the first time, I sat front row at probably a fashion shows I would have never seen if it was live and in person. A fashion show I can rewatch over and over again. Now, as a fashion design student at the time of Covid-19, we plan our collections day-by-day, questioning what the next few months will present. Normally, at this time, so close to the end of the first semester, we’d be thinking about the final year fashion show. Yet we’re continually faced with I-don’t-knows and still-waiting-for-University-decisions before we can lockdown on any idea.

Of course, the majority of the class would rather have a physical fashion show in a room clad with family members, friends, and industry people, plus, models, students, and University staff volunteers. I mean, when would we ever have a chance to do it. It could possibly be our once in a lifetime experience. Who knows if our future involves fashion shows. However, as the rumors circulate (okay, maybe not rumors but a possible option, just in case) that a virtual fashion show is in our fourth-year future, we wonder, how is it possible? I am always up for the challenge of something new, especially if it involves the digital world. But even I wonder, how?

This year, Shanghai staged its fashion week virtually. Unfortunately, Shanghai Fashion Week online had finished before I even knew it was a thing. I only heard about it during a webinar on the Future of Fashion Show via Vogue  Global Conversation early this month. The idea of a virtual fashion show caught my interest. The conversation, on the other hand, felt somewhat adamant about the change of show space. Or at least, not fully willing to let go of the old. Fashion, as always, is open to the possibilities of change. 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.

So last night, 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. Except with different backgrounds.


I expected a show filmed live as it was literally happening. Alas, videos of pre-recorded model walks were pieced together, projected online live from the events team’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. It was the part of the show that I least enjoyed as it was the entirety of the one hour event. It was, nonetheless, the bit of the live show that made it feel it was really happening live. Fast forward to the actual fashion show, compared to the opening bit, 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 show’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 missed looks. However, it did make for an exciting virtual show. 

Now I realize what stimulating, inspiring experience that is missing online. While it gave me a sort of feeling of being on front row seat, it however still lacked that packed presence of over-dressed people, alcoholic beverage in hand while feeling the atmosphere of being in with a like-minded crowd. Not that bumping into people who you do not know is stimulating and inspiring. But for a student, it gives a sense of excitement for the future. I must say though, I appreciate seeing the clothes more up close than when I could barely see the models walk amidst heads and shadows of those with a better view. In this way, everyone sees exactly the same view.

I don’t know if a live recording of a model walking an empty catwalk is ever possible, but having the possibility of showing a new collection online is somewhat interesting, exciting, and cool, too. Especially when one can barely afford a ticket to a show, let alone a plane ticket to physically see a show. The pieced pre-recorded videos are forgivable given the situation in the country, and, even became a plus as it made for a smooth flowing show and allowed for a show to be produced in just two weeks. And I appreciate that I can revisit the show online and feel the same experience of being there when it went live.

Just like in the Vogue Global Conversations, there is room for both physical and virtual shows in the future. Then maybe 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.

Featured image by Chalo Garcia on Unsplash
20.05.2020[10.28]

Learning the String Rag Weaving Technique

One of the ideas I wanted to play with for this project is to make a garment based off of rug weaving technique very common in the Philippines. This is what families usually do to clothes that has lost its wearability.

Why Fashion?

This was an old post from before the website went down and I lost all my files and database before I could back it up.  Some slight changes occurred from the last time, but words stayed the same.

I remember the white silk chiffon layers embracing the skin of my teenager legs as I twirled in my childhood room pretending I was 16 going on 17. The first time a piece of clothing caught my attention was my first Sound of Music movie experience with my mother in my grandmother’s room. It was that one scene with Leisl and Rolfe; my eyes glued to the dress as the actress immortalized the routine. I was about 8 or 9 then, it was a time when dancing, singing and acting were my first interests. But it wasn’t long until fashion has become an extension of myself.

As a teenager, I have always found inspiring women to imitate their self-expressing ensemble. The interest in fashion has always been there. From the Givenchy’s classic little black dress Audrey Hepburn wore as she ate bagel in front of Tiffany’s, to the oddly shaped creations at the Comme de Garçon fashion shows. From the practical styling of those on the streets to the unbearable high stilettos worn on special events; I’m not afraid to like anything wearable. Even more so when I finally took the plunge into fashion designing in 2015. It was an eye opening experience and everything I thought I knew about fashion were unlearned and I was introduced to a whole different world.

Studying fashion opened my eyes more into the world beyond the seams and fabrics. I used to have thoughts on how fashion was just to make everyone looked good. However, with the countless readings and research I was required to complete an essay, my mind opened to the idea that fashion could speak. Just as photographs speak a thousand words, as the saying usually goes, fashion provide an insight into the thoughts, social life and being of a person. Of course, not easily and directly and a deep analysis goes into it… But what I came to understand is that fashion is more than just clothing one’s self. It’s a reflection of one’s personality and the things happening around them.

So why fashion, you might ask? Do people really need more clothes? Do people really need more people to tell them what to purchase because it’s the thing of the season? Actually, yes. People need more people not to tell them of what’s trending (other blogs can do that for you) but to show them how to ethically invest on clothes one can enjoy in a long run. Yes, in some cases, people need higher quality clothing to add into their wardrobe, but the cost-per-wear saves more money by doing so. And yes, people still need to understand what goes behind the retail end of fashion. Finally, fashion is a form of visualizing a message. Just as Leisl’s costume in the scene, it portrayed the innocence of a 16 year old in her romantic, soft chiffon dress, but it did show her entrance to adulthood in the dress’s form fitting shape and the hint of lavender color as oppose to pure white, which often is depicted innocent and virginity.

Fashion speaks. And I chose to make a speech.

Top: Glassons
Skirt: Aurelia & Andrea Original
Shoes: Philippine Ukay (iMall)