Perky, cool, playful Filipiniana in New York

This boy from Aklan has reached the top of New York City, quite literally. So blessed and thankful for God’s graces. And may the Lord pave my roads ahead with more blessings as I make another turn around the sun,” declares the acclaimed creative Cherry Samuya Veric on his post for his recent birthday.

He was at the Summit One Vanderbilt, the 93-story skyscraper at the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, basking in the afterglow of his successful show at Astoria World Manor in Queens on 3 June.

Veric, 41, from Ibajay, Aklan, came to prominence via Project Runway Philippines. His splendid designs have been showcased at the Philippine Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, Western Canada Fashion Week, and at Howard University. He was also honored as one of the top five Asian haute couture designers of 2016 in Chongqing, China.

Fine, fun Filipiniana

It’s Veric’s fourth show at the fashion capital but his first as a solo artist. He presented “Maria Clara Takes New York By Storm,” which highlighted “the cool, perky and playful side of Filipiniana aesthetics” flaunted by Miss Universe fourth runner-up Venus Raj, actor Xian Lim and Miss World 2013 Megan Young. Joining our two beloved queens was the inspiring Julia Kostova, a Ukrainian war refugee in one of her first international runways.

Megan Young

“Filipiniana need not be too formal or old. I tried to show in this collection that Filipiniana can be sporty, edgy, and very urban. The pieces are all new, as fresh as they can be,” Veric clarified of his 30-piece mix of women’s and men’s clothing with his signature haute-couture flourishes.

“The response after the show was phenomenal. It was sold out and the Pinoy community in New York came in droves and cheered for us. Dr. Christine Daguno-Canoy of Neocolors Productions and Advertising Inc.and her business partner, Gina Reyes-Heil of Neocolors Productions and Advertising International, Inc., really put up an exciting show. I was in seventh heaven the entire time. And buyers snatched the pieces they wanted.,” Veric said.

“I guess the hip and fun approach to Filipiniana resonated with them. Pinoys abroad want that connection to home but they want it also to be spirited and vigorous — something that will turn heads in a place like New York. So with my contemporary take on Filipiniana, they can wear a piece of home and at the same time feel so glam. Not boring,” Veric added.

Filipina and fabulous

In 2019, Daguno-Canoy collaborated with two respected designers, Albert Andrada and Barge Ramos, to star in “Fabulous Philippines” for New York Fashion Week Bridal. Veric’s solo outing is part of “Fabulous Philippines 2,” directed by Johnny “Ivan” Quiling.

“Having worked hard for this year’s project, I was overwhelmed by the support of the Filipino community in New York and the feedback we received after the show. It was, indeed, one of the best shows for the season, as Filipinos in New York celebrated the 125th Philippine Independence Day,” she said. “It’s more of an advocacy for me as a producer to support local talents, too, while providing quality shows that are well put together for our kababayans in the US.”

Events production is just a part of what Neocolors does, with its core business being printing and advertising. But events abroad allowed them to expand its reach and grow its business while having fun.
“I am grateful to have corporate sponsors who enable us to do shows. For this one, we really appreciate how MX3 — the country’s number one food supplement brand and Vista Land for their support. We also thank Philippine Airlines and the Philippine Independence Day Council of New York and all our other sponsors for making this show possible.”

Having successfully done shows abroad where there are limitations in terms of manpower and logistics, it will be much easier for Neocolors to mount one in the Philippines.

“We are already looking into this as well. As a producer, I have a long list of names being a believer and staunch supporter of local talents. I will just keep the list of dream artists I’d love to work with to myself for now so as not to preempt any future plans,” the enterprising dentist-producer said.

Having registered the business in New York in 2016 and slowly making a name there, she is open to every opportunity she can have for the business to grow and expand.

“There are really no immediate plans for company expansion in another country. But if given a choice, I am looking at Milan, and Paris, of course,” Daguno-Canoy said.

An Aklanon in New York

“Every Filipino designer must have their moment with Filipiniana. But the key is to reinvent it and at the same time show range in design and execution. To be rooted, a Filipino designer must do Filipiniana. But to be in the now, one has to be versatile. So it’s a fine balance,” Veric explained.

For the materials, Veric sources them where they are made, like Aklan for the piña fibers and Abra for abel as a way to support local industries and promote their potential globally, such as showcasing them in New York.

“New York for me is all about energy and drive and passion. It’s about being updated and getting in touch with global cultures,” the celebrity designer said. “That’s the inspiration of the City That Never Sleeps for me.”

After the Big Apple, which fashion capital would Cherry Veric want to have a bite of next?

“I want to be surprised. That fashion capital will have to choose Cherry Veric.”