Mind the Now:  Mindanao’s Fashion Mindset

The mindset at the 12th Mindanao Fashion Summit was to make the so-called “Land of Promise” a current, relevant and prime mover in the creative marketplace.

Organized by the Oro Fashion Designers Guild, led by its president Mark Christopher Yaranon, the three-day fashion presentation was held at the Ayala Malls Centrio as a highlight of the city’s Higalaay Festival. The shows were directed by Robbie Fortich Pamisa, with hair and makeup by John Steinmann and the Beautifully Beautified Team.

On Day 2, 24 August, was the showcase for the especially invited guest designers from all over the South. Their participation made the MFS a truly Mindanao affair, as the talented designers displayed the exuberant vibe that non-visitors should know of.

Here, the proud Mindanaoans share some insights into their exquisite collections.



Design by Bonie Adaza of Davao City on Dana Tempra

“’Ampik,’ the title of my five-piece collection, is a Maguindanaoan term for the checkered pattern of an inaul. My inspiration is the baro’t saya with a Mindanaoan vibe.

“I used non-commercialized inaul fabric from Maguindanao, custom-woven by their weavers, which can’t be found in the market. I also added callado embroidery as accents; and piña cocoon for the inner barongs Tagalog that I put anchor threads on, forming a checkered pattern to add texture. I sprayed the traditional farmers’ hats to make them more stylish. The colors of my clothes are green, pink, magenta and light green, all to represent Kadayawan, our city’s festivity of harvest. The cuts are boxy and oversized to make it modern.

“I joined the MFS because of the great opportunity to showcase my talent in creating fashionably Mindanaoan outfits. There are lots of great talents in Mindanao. All I can say is that the MFS is a good platform for us!”



Creation by Zoe Botwin of Cagayan de Oro, worn by transgender model Kirk Popiolek

“My collection is called ‘Spring Awakening,’ wearable pieces that my clients and I would wear during spring time. It’s also a collection of stylish, playful and colorful clothes in richly textured and vibrant fabrics, such as jacquard and jusi. The embellishments are monstera appliques. They’re perfect for going on a road trip on a bright and lovely spring day.”



Design by Sasha Sarah of Marawi City, modeled by Cris Teaño.

“My six-look collection is called ‘Urban Flora,’ a classic contemporary modest collection inspired by dainty florals frequently seen in decorous wedding ceremonies. Each piece evidently expresses femininity with fresh shades of pastels designed to incorporate vintage patterns and modern silhouettes so the pieces are still wearable daily, whether it is in the workplace or semi-formal events. This collection is made for empowered modest women who project a balance of classic elegance and contemporary lifestyle.

“There are 15 looks in Urban Flora but we managed to include six looks for the show’s line-up highlighting the floral printed chiffon and added embellishments on floral lace. I also used organza fabric for my butterfly top (second look), satin (fifth look), Mikado silk, cotton twill for the trousers and neoprene for my skirt (fourth look). I like to explore new designs and play with styling while adhering to the standards of modest fashion, thus, the signature layering of Shujaa by Sasha Sarah you see in my collection.”

“I would love to see more modest designers in the next MFS like Iman Montayre, Hilya Signorina, Herslaha and, of course, I would be so stoked to see collections of my fellow guest designers.”



Design by Jermaine V. Nabong of Iligan City, modeled by Ana Rebucas.

“‘Fervent’ is the title of my newest collection because it speaks about my blazing emotions towards fashion and my intense desire to continue the fire burning within me. My inspiration is myself, who underwent three important milestones: My childhood days, when I made paper dolls and paper dresses for my playmates; my teenage years, when I designed dresses for my family and friends; and my adult years, when I finally put up my fashion studio and when designing became my bread and butter.

“The collection is in red color as it represents my glowing and burning desire to continue my love for fashion and the arts. I made five wonderful pieces and made use of Peau De Soie, French laces and appliqués of high quality. I accentuated my pieces with cut beads, sequins and crystals. One common denominator of my pieces is the intricate layers of fabrics forming into wavelike patterns.”



Creation by Victor Bersales Tusing of Ozamiz City, modeled by Dan Galupo.

“My inspiration for my five-set collection is the Ibong Adarna. I wanted the collection to be red to fit the celebration of my 30th year in the fashion business.

“I used tweed fabric, inspired by Chanel for my menswear. I used laser-cut blossoms as accents to match the finale gown worn by Miss Charm Philippines 2024 Krishnah Gravidez. For the womenswear, I used duchess satin and mesh tulle. Sequined cloth is the primary material in this collection.

“For my next collections, I will have to conceptualize and internalize as early as January to make it happen.”



Model Andrew Gaston in Toping Zamora of Davao City.

“The collection was inspired by the Bagobo Tagabawa signature beadwork style dubbed ‘Enlacer.’ I made my own spin on this beadwork technique by creating my own beads out of clay. I also made use of handwoven gintlo from a Blaan community in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. My five-piece capsule collection is a grand prix winner during the Stellar Heritage Fashion Design Competition in 2019.

“I decided to participate in this event to widen my horizon and get to know more of the culture and fashion scene and to make acquaintances for future collaborations with local designers of northern Mindanao. In the next MFS, it would be exciting to see not just apparel designers but also give light on the creative outputs of accessories designers as well.”