On its 12th staging, the Mindanao Fashion Summit has maintained its momentum. Spearheaded by the Oro Fashion Designers Guild, the three-day fashion showcase was held on 23 to 25 August at the Ayala Malls Centrio as a highlight of the city’s Higalaay Festival.

The OFDG, which was established by now New York-based founding chairman, Gaga Brellita, is composed of Alma Mae Roa, Ann Semblante, Arnulfo Neri, Boogie Musni Rivera, Gil Macaibay III, Joshua Guibone, Juniel Doring, Kiko Domo, Mavy de Leon Ladlad, Melvin Lachica, Ruvil Neri and Shine Casiño.

The current president is Mark Christopher Yaranon.

Guest designers were given a special segment to bring the essence of Mindanao to the event. They were Jermaine Nabong from Iligan City, Victor Tusing from Ozamiz City, Toping Zamora from Davao City, Bonie Adaza from Davao City, Sasha Sarah from Marawi City and Trisha Asis and Zoe Botwin from Cagayan de Oro.

“As president, I’m so proud that each member really did their best to showcase their forecast collections for Holiday 2023 and Spring/Summer 2024. Every detail counts, every inch of fabric cut was meticulously sewn, and new silhouettes, techniques and fabrications were incorporated in this year’s presentations,” Yaranon said.

For his favorite model, Kevin Pong, Yaranon created an ensemble of stretch metallic pleated fabric in rustic bronze for his Club Street Glam collection inspired by Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Dracula.

Model-of-the-moment Dan Galupo got to wear some of the outstanding looks of MFS. For Alma Mae Roa’s menswear line, Galupo wore a sharp suit in printed jacquard, which was also consistent with the designer’s chic womenswear collection.

The highly imaginative Juniel Doring, who is originally from Bukidnon, calls his collection, “Epi-Scene.” A look worn by Kelly Barro is inspired by how androgynous fashion evolves from the streets to social events: “Our generation’s modern, trendy and gender-less fashion is what I want as a designer, and to be able to be inclusive and unbiased in this very fault-finding world.”

The menswear of Joshua N. Guibone, another intuitive talent, drew inspiration from the Japanese art of “Kintsugi,” where broken pottery is repaired using metallic liquid to transform flaws into unique beauty.

“This philosophy is translated into a striking clothing collection with a focus on an oversized shirt and shorts ensemble. The standout feature is the incorporation of sheer lines that mimic Kintsugi’s exposed metallic seams, reflecting the process of turning vulnerability into strength. Beyond traditional gender norms, the collection embraces both masculine and feminine elements, crafting pieces that radiate confidence and sensuality by blending conventional silhouettes,” the designer explained.

An exciting group new to the industry called the Designers Assembly composed of Jie-jie Aisa, Dandy Domingo, Dio Deus and Carmel Kho Ricarte also unveiled their collections.

For special guest model Krishnah Gravidez, Miss Charm Philippines 2024, Ricarte designed a dress intended to gracefully accentuate the beauty queen’s curves, enhancing her innate beauty with a touch of understated class.

“The serpentina gown features stretchable jersey fabric that hugs the wearer’s curves perfectly, ensuring a comfortable fit and physically appealing look. It is adorned with intricate embellishments, including pearls and glittered beads, which add a sparkling touch,” shared Ricarte.

Gil Macaibay III, a past OFDG president who founded the MFS, presented his “Hibla” collection that he recently showcased in Malaysia and Singapore, directed by Camiguin’s Vince Oclarit Aranas. All other shows were directed by Robbie Fortich Pamisa.

For very special guest model Bea Luigi Gomez, Miss Universe 2021 top five finalist, Macaibay created a scintillating ensemble of blue lace and hinablon.

“The pandemic gave the world time to be minimal and subtle, sustainable and organic. But as we live in the Better Normal, with CDO Fashion, I am very proud,” mused Macaibay. “The recent MFS showed people how resilient we are. We witnessed how all OFDG designers and our special guests created and showcased their own narrative on how we approach this new reality.”