PANDEMIC has forced us to perforate our homes a little better than T-shirts and robes. In this stagnation, it’s easy to think that fashion isn’t important – but how can something not matter when it’s sitting right on your skin?
The webinar series by the Philippine Fashion Design Council (FDCP), the PhX Fashion Conference, and the SoFA Design Institute called “Advanced Mode Dialogue” spoke with three different designers last week about how they faced a pandemic, and how they plan to get back on the road in the future. . The first session featured FDCP Vice President and designer Rajo Laurel, co-founder of the clothing brand Plains and Prints Roxanne Farillas, and FDCP President, founder and executive director of SoFA, and designer Amina Aranaz-Alunan.
Laurel gives reasons for the importance of fashion even in the midst of a global crisis. “Naturally, fashion is a means to protect ourselves: whether it is physical or mental.” This opened up the topic of what he was doing now, and where he was going: protective clothing. “Never in my life have I imagined that instead of a wedding gown or evening gown, I performed a surgical gown.”
“But that’s what you need to do,” he said. In the week after locking, Mr. Laurel and his smaller workforce (those who could not return to their provinces when the lockout was announced, around 25 of the 500 under employed) were able to produce 500 units of personal protective equipment (PPE), and at the time of writing, produced 2,500 more. “We are restructuring our factory, our management strengths, and all of our existing stores … it will absolutely not be the same,” he said. Laurel broadcasts his answers on a webinar from his summer home in Batangas, giving an idea of what will happen in the future. “This has taught me a lot about how to run our business in the future. Everything is done through a device, “he said. “We all have to study. I believe that to survive … we need to adapt to what will happen next. “
And what comes next seems to be an attractive but protective clothing line. “What we are doing right now is making a direct collection so that people feel safe to get out of their homes, slowly. It still needs to be comfortable, fashionable, and washable. “He described them as” not medical grade protective clothing. “
“It’s very difficult to look beautiful in a rabbit suit,” he said, describing PPE. “We need to rethink that. How will my client feel good when he purchases? “
Laurel is also looking for clothes for the house – but not the way Filipinos see house clothes. “What’s next? Maybe comfortable pajamas.” Meanwhile, he added rather sourly, “I don’t see anyone coming to me for ballgown in the next 18 months.”
Farillas plans to do the same, and is currently working on attractive masks and protective equipment (which actually must have its own acronym at one point), calling them multipurpose outerwear. “They want to feel good. They want to feel inspired. Fashion is inspiration, “he said. “They will start dressing up. When they start dressing up, they will feel better.” With an optimistic tone, he said, “After that, we will continue with our normal collection.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Aranaz-Alunan has been busy with its efforts to restructure the SoFA to make it adaptive to the post-pandemic world. “We see this crisis as a challenge.” Regarding his work in the design field, Ms. Aranaz-Alunan reported that several export orders for his bags had been canceled, leaving him with excess inventory.
“We really need to evolve. We cannot hope that we will go back to the old way of doing things, producing the same products as we do. “He acknowledged the change that must occur, quoting one:” What we do is handmade. Interaction between people is very important. We really need to think about social distance measures at the factory – even the fact that our material can come from various parts of the country. “
In the lost season, we tend to hold on to things that we consider important – or use the slogan this season: “essential”.
“We used to do three collections a year. Now, all I want to do is maybe one, and spread it. That is the mindset of our industry. We are overdoing it, “said Mr. Laurel.” Half of our friends and half of our clients already have enough in their closets. Now is the time to really evaluate – how can we make really special items that are truly needed by our clients? “
“We don’t sell fast clothing; we don’t sell things that you wear for one season, “said Ms. Aranaz-Alunan.” We can really start creating things that hopefully last a lifetime. “- Joseph L. Garcia
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