Filipino talent takes center stage
Hail, hail! Another season of fresh-off-the-ramp fashion is upon us. Just last weekend, Bench Fashion Week introduced us to new collections from some of the country’s most widely shopped retail brands and lauded designers, before ultimately capping off the occasion with the Bench Design Awards finalists’ fruits of labor.
A lot went down across those three days, and knowing well how consecutive fashion shows can assault the senses and overwhelm, we take the liberty of spotlighting the scene-stealers you ought to keep on your radar. No really, it’s our pleasure—these creators and their creations deserve a spot in your Instagram following list, or better yet, your closet.
Perhaps it’s important to start with a disclaimer. Bodies like those that paraded down the runway for the Bench Active show could undoubtedly make nearly anything look good—but the sportswear on those bodies? Equally as covetable. On the top of our most wanted list are the windbreaker-esque jackets (we, too, are still high on that 90s vibe) and the knee-length cycling shorts that could easily take you from the step class to the streets. Oh, and don’t get us started on that pair of black high-cut coordinates that Lovi Poe strutted down the runway in. Let’s just say we’ve finally drummed up the motivation to hit the gym again.
Human x Proudrace
While many a local brand have only just started rising to prominence, Proudrace has been highly regarded for years. It can be difficult turning the concept of cool into something tangible and wearable, but Proudrace seems to pull this off collection after collection. The best part? They don’t seem to be breaking their backs trying to achieve this kind of status. People want to wear Proudrace, people genuinely want to rent their closet real estate to the brand. This, among other reasons, may be why local retail brand Human decided to collaborate with the designers. The result of the crossover? Overgrown sleeves, slouchy fits and mixed prints that our parents probably won’t understand (but we’ll wear the hell out of). Thank you thank you thank you.
In true Ivar fashion, the designer’s handiwork and attention to detail blew us away. Come on now, take a look at those pleats. And what about the deliberately unfinished hems? What of the asymmetry? We want it all. Perhaps the best thing about this collection is that it’s so undoubtedly tied into the rest of Ivar’s body of work. The masculine elements marry into the feminine. There’s boxiness and there’s flowiness, there’s stiffer material and then there are peeks at skin through sheer fabric. We love a good contradiction and this one in particular is high up our lust lists.
Bench Design Awards Winners: Ched Studio, Ottomondi and Renz Reyes
When I watched the last Bench Design Awards, I found myself extremely invested. Like, finale-of-a-show-I’ve-been-following-weekly invested. I hardly get that way, but at the time, I couldn’t really help it. If last year’s competition proved anything, it’s that the Bench Design Awards are a cream of the crop situation, where every finalist deserves his or her spot. The competition is fierce and close and keeps spectators on the edges of their seats. It’s sort of like the Hunger Games in that sense… except pretty much everyone is pretty sweet and happy to be there.
This year’s batch of designers was every bit as talented as the last, each bringing a different story to the runway. Ched Dalogaog of Ched Studio presented an abundance of skirts and beautifully embroidered pieces. It was a story of women and of nostalgia, but turned sartorial. Meanwhile, Ottomondi’s pieces were a reimagined kind of utilitarian. Forget your typical army green jacket and cargo pants. Here, you’ll find strategic cuts, the most stylish pockets you’ve seen and an interesting waist cinching detail. Lastly, designer Renz Reyes brought a new kind of femininity to the game. Bow details and gorgeous stitching were a constant all throughout, but each individual look presented a different color, texture, or print.
Despite the arrows of Bench Fashion Week pointing to streetwear, to sportswear, to nostalgia with a nationalistic kick, last weekend's shows have made it loud and clear: we're only moving forward.
Art Alexandra Lara