The StyleFestPH Designer Mentorship Program Means New Talents to Watch

The StyleFestPH Designer Mentorship Program Means New Talents to Watch

Along with the return of the DMP ascends a fresh crop of fashion designers to compete, train and present collections on the second day of the festival



For the eight finalists handpicked for the StyleFestPH Designer Mentorship Program (DMP), the journey ends on the runway in just a matter of days.


Having undergone workshops with prominent industry figures like Philippine fashion icon Sir Inno Sotto, in-demand designer Carl Jan Cruz, stylist to the stars Sidney Yap, Zalora Philippines founder and CEO Paulo Campos and head of 0917 Lifestyle Leah De Guzman, the emerging StyleFestPH designers will present their capsule collections in the Grand Hyatt BGC, where the final judging will take place soon after. Only two winners will be named the grand prize winners––one to collaborate with Zalora and another with 0917 Lifestyle––and will receive a start-up essentials package from one of this year’s major sponsors, Globe myBusiness.


This ultimately rounds up what StyleFestPH has envisioned for the next generation of Filipino fashion designers: to have them hone fashion design skills while understanding the nitty-gritty of sustaining a commercially successful business.


RELATED: Designers Share 9 Things That People Don’t Realize Go into Mounting a Fashion Show


Ahead, we spotlight the eight designers who have gotten this golden ticket into the DMP and are set to showcase their final capsule collections on November 5, Tuesday. 



Adrian Sahagun
Emerging Designer for 0917 Lifestyle


A graduate of the Fashion Institute of the Philippines and a finalist on the reality TV show MEGA Young Designers Competition All-Stars, Adrian Sahagun says he has always gravitated toward geometric shapes. This inclination has made his streetwear creations look tailored, minimalist and fashion-forward. Today, Sahagun’s goal is to penetrate the consumer markets for both custom-made and ready-to-wear apparel and hopes StyleFestPH will help him succeed in this regard.


Austeen Soriano
Emerging Designer for Zalora


Austeen Soriano is a graduating student from the Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship-Fashion, Art and Design (ICE-FAD), who got his start as a fashion stylist and visual merchandiser. While a fan of tailoring, Soriano’s flair as a designer is seen in the way he plays around with symmetry and asymmetry, even in the most basic of pieces. He admits that he is currently still in the process of refining his aesthetic while exploring the technical aspects of design for his existing label: Maison Soriano.


Bea Guerrero
Emerging Designer for Zalora


Relying heavily on color, graphics and shapes, Bea Guerrero sees herself as an avant-garde designer. She is currently a fashion design student at DLS-Benilde’s School of Design and Arts. She recently finished her thesis collection, where she bagged a major award at the school’s graduation showcase called Sinulid. Always eager to learn, Guerrero believes in staying sharp by actively participating in fashion events and competitions. Ultimately, she hopes that this helps her hone her skills and establish her own ready-to-wear label in the future.


Bessie Besana
Emerging Designer for Zalora 


With an established atelier that keeps him busy, Besana looks forward to reaching his long-term goals with StyleFestPH. Armed with a degree in Civil Engineering, he eventually decided to reroute his career track and pursue fashion design instead at Slim’s Fashion and Arts School. Besana describes his designs as “modern and clean, accentuating the best body features,” for which he gets inspiration straight from the character of the person he’s dressing.


Einar Nicdao
Emerging Designer for 0917 Lifestyle


A self-proclaimed optimist and dreamer, Einar Nicdao pursued a career in fashion design while working as an auditor. (He graduated from the Fashion Institute of the Philippines and became a finalist at the Manila Fashion Festival Design Competition in 2016.) He professes that while he’s mainly into men’s streetwear design, he’s open to exploring womenswear, too, leaning into gender-neutral, easy pieces.


Ia Coca
Emerging Designer for Zalora


Geometry and texture: these are at play whenever a creation by Ia Coca comes into question. They are elements evident in his bridal gowns, debutante gowns, evening gowns and suits, too. Though his Instagram feed may be filled with these custom-made pieces, Coca knows a thing or two about the ready-to-wear format: He has shown collections at SM City Cebu for his graduation show, World Fashion Week Malaysia and Brisbane Fashion Runway.


Justine Llarena
Emerging Designer for 0917 Lifestyle


Though Justine Llarena began as a fashion model at 18, it was the idea of creating a fantasy through clothing that led her to sign up for a fashion design course at DLS-Benilde’s School of Design and Arts. Llarena hopes to not only make a name for herself in the fashion industry but to empower people through her creations as well.


Neil Anthonie
Emerging Designer for 0917 Lifestyle


Neil Anthonie is all about the reinvention of classic pieces. He describes this as a colliding of two concepts, where the end product is contemporary, chic and modern. (It helps that in his design process, he draws inspiration from things like architecture and film.) Currently, he is balancing the StyleFestPH DMP with his studies at the SoFA Design Institute. He dreams of one day furthering his studies in London and establishing a brand that fuses local and international appeal.



For the latest news and updates, follow StyleFestPH on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Up next: a look back at what happened at StyleFestPH 2018: Get acquainted with last year’s emerging designers for 0917 and Zalora.



Art Alexandra Lara


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