The official Stylecouncil is clocking in
Runway show after runway show, season after season, the global audience has seen for itself that there is no shortage of talent in the Philippines. The long-standing hurdle, however, remains to be the process of moving from the art space into that of retail. Indeed, showcasing beautiful work at seasonal shows is not enough; for local brands, the challenge lies in arming themselves with the business tools for survival in an immensely cut-throat industry.
How can fashion designers strike a balance between the stylish and the salable? Where does editorial end and commercial begin? How can local labels secure their spot in the industry while safeguarding their financial future? These age-old queries about art and commerce are just some of the questions the lucky participants of the 2018 Stylefestph Designer Mentorship Program will learn the answers to.
As the main highlight of Stylefestph, a groundbreaking event pioneered by industry giants Globe and Saga Events, the Designer Mentorship Program is set to change the landscape of fashion in the Philippines. This all begins with eight budding designers handpicked to be a part of a brand-new design competition. In a two-part showdown, five up-and-coming designers will compete in the “Emerging Designers” competition with ZALORA Philippines while three will compete in the “Future of Design” competition with Globe Lifestyle’s flagship brand 0917. This event is the first of its kind in the country to put the spotlight on both the creative and the entrepreneurial aspects of starting a fashion label.
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This is also where the seven renowned fashion, beauty and retail experts come in: As the Stylefestph mentors (also known as the official Stylecouncil), industry insiders Inno Sotto, Carmina Sanchez-Jacob, Jigs Mayuga, Leah de Guzman, Sarah Santiago, Pam Quiñones and Paulo Campos will work closely with the eight finalists throughout the competition: from visualization to actualization, from drawing board to runway. Under the tutelage of these experts, the finalists will learn tricks of the trade and learn first-hand about navigating art and commerce, managing creativity and originality, producing cohesive collections, mastering technical construction and craftsmanship and understanding retail marketability.
The Fashion Legend
A household name, an industry veteran, a powerhouse: Stylefestph kicks off with none other than Manila’s Prince of Fashion himself Inno Sotto as head mentor. With 38 years of design under his belt, Sotto has discovered the secret behind making a namesake label flourish, adapting to the times and garnering true staying power.
How can Filipino designers make their way to the forefront of a highly competitive global industry? Just ask Fashion Exchange International co-founder Carmina Sanchez-Jacob, whose designers’ collective has gotten Pinoy designers connected with international platforms. Spearheading a designers’ collective that champions local talent (big names like Rajo Laurel, Dennis Lustico, Joey Samson and Francis Libiran are all here) is no easy feat, but for Sanchez-Jacob, sharing Pinoy talent with the rest of the world (be it via Paris Fashion Week or through publications like Vogue Italia and British Vogue) is always well worth it.
The Makeup Maven
The inner workings of the beauty industry in relation to fashion is something makeup artist Jigs Mayuga has mastered over the years. “Part of the job of a designer in establishing their brand is creating a fashion story to showcase their collection. Pam [Quiñones, a good friend and fellow Stylefest mentor] and I began our careers doing exactly that shooting countless of editorials for the major glossies back in the day,” he shared on Instagram. “As you know makeup and styling play a huge role in the storytelling process of the designer.” At the helm of the marketing pillar of Stylefestph, Mayuga intends on sharing what he knows with the finalists about building an image on top of building a brand.
Leah de Guzman
The Lifestyle Purveyor
As the first telecommunications company to dive head first into lifestyle (taking on fashion, no less), Globe wanted to get it right…and so they turned to Leah De Guzman. As the head of Globe’s flagship brand 0917, De Guzman and her team have flawlessly applied their e-commerce know-how to the garment retailing game, producing sold-out collections and bagging exclusive partnerships with brands like Disney, Netflix’s Stranger Things, Star Wars and more.
The Style & Pop Culture Editor
As a former long-time managing editor of one of the country’s top fashion magazines, Sarah Santiago had a distinct edge when she came on board as editor-in-chief of the latest style and pop culture website to join the World Wide Web. Fusing together the best practices in print and digital, and armed with a trained editorial eye, Santiago is here to guide the finalists through the rigorous process of editing a collection and fine-tuning their brand.
The Stylist to the Stars
Former editor-in-chief of L’Officiel Manila, current creative director of Qurator Studio and stylist to the stars Pam Quiñones is trusted by celebrities like Anne Curtis, KC Concepcion and Judy Ann Santos with good reason: she just knows what works. Beyond design, fashion brands must hone the skills a stylist has: an understanding of principles like proportion, fit and balance and being able to look ahead and see how their designs will wear on various body types by various style personalities. These are just some of the style lessons they’ll learn straight from Quiñones.
The Retail Gamechanger
Having brought Asia’s largest online fashion destination to the Philippines, CEO and co-founder of Zalora Philippines Paulo Campos knows how to get an online fashion business from points A to Z and beyond. Campos is here to guide the finalists, who are aspiring business owners themselves, through the oftentimes daunting stages of business development and strategy. He joins Stylefestph not only with the goal to impart retailing basics, but more importantly, Online Retailing 101.
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16 designers are currently shortlisted in the competition, all vying for a spot in the finals. Only eight, however, can join the Stylefestph Designer Mentorship Program. Who will advance to the next stage of the competition? Stay tuned to find out and stay up-to-date by following Stylefestph on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Art Alexandra Lara