The overstaying health crisis that started in early 2020 has changed fashion, as well as our lives, irrevocably. The recent elections have also done the same, heralding a new government that critics view with skepticism, if not downright fear.
But just as the fashion industry has marched on with IRL shows back to normal, the rest of us must also get on with our lives and just do what we’re supposed to do. As newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in his inaugural speech (“You will get no excuses from me”), everyone should have the same mantra both in government and private practice so that we can all get over this crisis soon and face a brighter future in the new chapter of our country’s history.
If anything, the past two years have shown what is wrong with fashion as well as our way of living. Overproduction and fast fashion with its resulting damage done to the environment have opened our eyes to slow fashion, quality over quantity, sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Going local has become even more à la mode, with an appreciation of fine craftsmanship, proper compensation, upcycling and helping artisan communities. Taking some cues from global fashion trends as well as the local scene, we have a glimpse of how the future will be and how we will dress up accordingly.
Simple lines, Impeccable tailoring
“Pure colors, modest surfaces and simple shapes speak volumes in a world filled with chaos,” said Michael Fisher, VP of Fashion Snoops, the global trend forecasting firm, in a recent immersion event. Discussing trends for spring- summer 2023, his team also introduced joyous colors, aquatic notions and natural ingredients that include “Raw,” a return to natural and ancestral designs — a theme evident in the barong designed by Pepito Albert for the newly elected Philippine President at the inaugural. Inspired by the rayadillo, the traditional uniform of soldiers during the Spanish occupation, it had historical resonance while flattering the male figure. With masculine cuts becoming more prominent again after all the experimentation with gender fluidity, as seen at Dior and other runways during the recent men’s SS 2023 shows, the Presidential barong is right where men’s fashion is heading. The neutral color is also on target, since husk, a crisp off-white, is the Raw theme’s core sentiment color, “representing the movement toward undyed colors that celebrate the quiet simplicity of organic materials,” according to Hallie Spradlin. Completing his look with Sapatos Manila shoes, President Marcos Jr. champions buying local both for patriotism and sustainability; it was even a highlight of his speech that made special mention of climate change as one of the country’s major challenges.
Vintage and upcycling
First Lady Lisa Araneta-Marcos’ inaugural terno by Lesley Mobo also checks the same boxes, using vintage piña made of “thousands of fine liniwan pineapple fibers, handloomed by the weavers of Aklan,” shared the designer. Hand-embroidery of sampaguita flower motifs were done by Batangas artisans in the style of 18th-century Filipino embroiderers using the calado technique. The simple column style of the terno puts the amazing craftwork in the spotlight. The terno, which has been promoted by the CCP-Bench Ternocon convention for the past years and is being revived again this year after the pandemic hiatus, will no doubt be the attire of choice for the new administration as well as for events in the private sector.
From casual pret-à-porter to red carpet couture, artisanal work is highly prized, with crochet, embroidery and fringes appearing in both men’s and ladies’ fashion.
Personalized and meaningful
Part and parcel of slow fashion is personalizing clothes so that one can stand out of the crowd and wear something that is truly meaningful. Senator Imee Marcos did just that with her one-sided terno in an aquatic blue executed by Rem Divino, using antique lockets, chains and pendants that were given to her by her father, former President Ferdinand Marcos. It was an homage to her father done in “sustainable opulent Filipiniana.” The vibrant yet soothing aqua color from nature is also a major global post-pandemic trend, bringing security and joy at the same time.
From casual pret-à-porter to red carpet couture, artisanal work is highly prized, with crochet, embroidery and fringes appearing in both men’s and ladies’ fashion. Filipino artisans have always done these techniques skillfully and with pride and the Cebu-based designer Cary Santiago has made it the trademark of his gowns, which have intricate cut-outs and embellishments. For Vice President Sara Duterte’s inaugural gown, he used piña with delicate pleating details that brought to mind the glorious Kahirup ball gowns of the ’50s. “The complete look is finished by a drape adorned with phalaenopsis flowers of the same fabric,” according to Cary, adding a touch of femininity and a sense of celebration for the historic occasion. A collision of botanicals and flower blooms are actually a global trend, “a reminder that fragility is not a sign of weakness,” says Fisher. “It’s actually a sign of allure and artistry.”
Creative cuts and silhouttes
As we look forward to reuniting and celebrating with others, we rediscover the spark of optimism that’s been missing for some time and, just as celebration is one way to heal a traumatic time, breaking molds is another. “The only constraints that exist are in our mind,” says Fashion Snoops president Lilly Berelovich. “We’re realizing that these boundaries that we put on ourselves and on society don’t need to actually be there anymore,” culture director Nivara Xaykao adds. Joey Samson, a designer who always pushes the limits with experimental cuts and tailoring, created for Dawn Zulueta Lagdameo a stylized baro and tapis with calado pañuelo using piña suksok/sinuksok. One of the mentors for this year’s Ternocon, he will impart this sense of adventurous creativity complemented by exacting techniques to finalists selected from all over the Philippines.
Colors of disruptive joy
Another major trend is Release, with “a focus on pieces that lift spirits, spark joy and invite all to the party — an amusement park for the senses,” shares Fisher. This level of “disruptive joy” and “unapologetic moments of happiness” is designed to “add a skip to our step” and strip away the gatekeepers. Toni Gonzaga embodied all of these in her sweeping red terno by Mark Bumgarner, “featuring a micro-pleated bodice, a cascading drape and an elegant slit.” Aside from flaming red, spritz (a juicy orange), punchy purple, cactus green, gulf blue and electric shock yellow are other color trends.