We’re bringing on the heat with the season’s hottest trends
In doubt about what to wear this summer? Consider taking notes from the country’s leading local clothing and lifestyle brand. Twice a year, Bench Fashion Week makes it a point to highlight homegrown industry talent and show Manila’s fashionistas what they ought to be wearing for the season—and beyond.
This Spring/Summer 2023 isn’t any different. The three-day fashion affair successfully showcased the works of a wide range of local designers, from a streetwear-inspired collection care of youthful mass retailer Human to the glam party-ready frocks at Michael Leyva and the even more conceptual and avant-garde fare of Jaggy Glarino.
Pro tip: if you want to begin dressing more up-to-date, you might want to take inspiration straight from the runways. Ahead, we break down the five key trends of the summer, fresh from Bench Fashion Week 2023.
We can’t quite put our finger on the why, but there’s something very appropriate about wearing joyful color once summer hits. Perhaps it’s because it’s an exuberant time ripe for fun and merrymaking? Whatever the reason, all we know is that bright hues are in this season.
There are many ways to show your penchant for the rainbow: maybe a girlish color-blocked Kashieca x Rhett Eala ensemble that’s very Emily in Paris-appropriate? You can also don a sharply tailored print suit care of Jaggy Glarino that cheekily references the classic Pinoy carinderia (street eatery), or indulge in the neon high-octane glamour of Michael’s Leyva’s eveningwear offerings.
Yes, you heard us right—hats are back! While they may not have been the fashionista’s default go-to accessory for the past few years, this season, they made their comeback on the runway. The verdict? A well-chosen chapeau definitely adds a little extra oomph and sprezzatura to your look. Why did we ever stop wearing them?
Bold beach babes, consider pairing an oversized floppy hat with your barely-there Bench Swim bikini the next time you lounge poolside (so Jacquemus La Bomba!). Human x TRNZ’s whimsical take on the trend looks like something directly lifted from a cartoon, while the straw boaters at Kashieca x Rhett Eala are reminiscent of something a young Jean Seberg would have worn at Cannes. And for the sartorially brave: maybe put on a large Jaggy Glarino topper that is far from practical but definitely nuclear-grade fabulous?
One thing’s undeniable about the summer: it’s the season for hubaderas everywhere to thrive. Skin is in once again, and for good reason. Besides literally needing the ventilation so your body can breathe under the harsh Philippine summer sun, a well-deployed hubadera moment can make a powerful impact when done well.
A classic black Bench Swim maillot will never go out of style at the beach—and plus points if you look as great as Ina Raymundo does while wearing one. Conservative style-watchers can partake of the trend, too: maybe shrug on a blazer at the office, and then shed it off to reveal a sheer black knit-polo from CHED Studio for date night? Or maybe use your right to bare arms and wear a Bon Hansen vest-and-trouser suit the next time you attend a wedding (sans shirt, of course).
Proving that classics will rarely go out of style, preppy is back to dominate the runways. Just look up the hashtag #oldmoneyaesthetic on TikTok and you’ll understand why. This time around though, there’s not just one conformist way to do preppy, but a slew of different ways to interpret the trend.
The coquette girlies will love Kashieca x Rhett Eala’s take on preppy, which is unabashedly girlish and reminiscent of the Upper East Side and Constance Billiard’s chic uniforms (IYKYK). Urban Revivo, on the other hand, goes the retro route and enables you to channel your inner Marcia Brady with printed blouses and slim miniskirts.
And, finally, on the opposite end of the spectrum is Secret Fresh with their brand of preppy dripping in irony—maybe pair a rugby shirt with a sweater tied around your neck for that off-duty Princess Diana vibe, or put on a hoodie inspired by one that an Ivy League collegiate athlete would wear.
This just in (and runway-certified): gender binary no longer has a place in fashion. As more and more people grow aware and accepting of their gender identities, the lines between menswear and womenswear are growing increasingly blurred.
Who said a man cannot look good in a strappy denim Bon Hansen blouse? Or that only a woman can wear a pink printed Jaggy Glarino pinafore? So not chic. Urban Revivo’s take on the women’s suit feels as fresh as Yves Saint Laurent’s 1966 Le Smoking did, while CHED Studio subverts expectations by pairing a sheer modern barong with gold sequined pants.
What’s your favorite summer trend from Bench Fashion Week 2023? Let us know in the comments!
Words Jer Capacillo
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver