MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW 2016
FASHION

BEHIND THE MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL RUNWAY

Manila Fashion Festival has already done 7 season shows (2 among those are capsule collections) from its modest beginnings that ring bells, which slowly bloomed into a “must attended event” on the top of editors, bloggers and fashion lovers list. The event gathers and exposes the best of the best talents, and allows like-minded individuals to mingle and share the same passion and love for fashion. For hard-working models, it is a bread-and-butter avenue for them as well as to sell themselves to editors and photographers for possible gigs and to thicken up their tear sheets. On the designer’s perspective, Manila Fashion Festival can help them market their collection for publisher’s write-ups/ features that can entice potential clients. They can also generate revenue afterwards through buyers both actual and coming from event’s online-partner platform.

It is surely a business at the end of the day, but its effect on the local fashion scene is more than a profit making machine. From all the glitz and jaw dropping collections presented on the runway, we breakdown some of the elements that makes Manila Fashion Festival on prime, which are beyond what our lenses would capture.

FASHION FOR EVERYONE

Screenshot of Manila Fashion Festival registration page.
http://www.manilafashionfestival.com

It is a fashionista’s dream to be in the actual runway show. Believe me, I was one of those yuppies who are willing to do anything just to be seated on a designer show. Just like in the big fashion markets, most of the shows, if not held by brands on open mall areas are only exclusive to a few (celebrities, media and the elites). Before, the sure way to get in is to be an intern on the event or to any of the backstage/ partner media team; to actually know the designer; beg for an invite from the designer; or if the first three fails, cleverly sneak in while the guards are busy. Forums are usually flooded with questions on how to attend shows and no one would even bother to provide clear steps to address this. Basically, you’re on your own to figure things out. At some fashion event, most of us are left wondering how come empty seats were not given to those who are really interested in fashion, pleading for that chance to watch the show.

Manila Fashion Festival has cracked the alta-sociedad system on the runway shows and opened opportunities for the fashion lovers outside the elite circle to be seated in the event proper. This move has not released the exclusivity a runway show has, but rather brought that exclusivity to wider-range of audience, longing to be part of the fashion crowd. It’s like a perfect occasion for newly-immersed fashion lovers to learn about the business and its aesthetics. Every season, guests have the access to register on their official website and voila, your part of the guest list. No more stress and email confirmation that you may miss. Plus, they gladly reply on queries on how to watch the show, unlike others whose comments like such are left unanswered.

FRESH FACES

Promising faces that have been introduced in Manila Fashion Festival
Above: Howell Medina, Mabelle Corpus (Art Personas)
Bottom: Hana Dy (Art Personas) and Brandi Branfuhr (Yeoh Models)
Photo by yours truly.

Ofcourse we love the nyoras (Filipino fashion slang for the established models) that ruled our catwalk. But we are also starving for raw fashion faces that are timely and can be held as successors of model royalty. We are thrilled to see them grow each season and carve a career out from their footsteps. Every season in Manila Fashion Festival is a cultural mash up of models from different ethnicity, gender and appearance. Casting team and designers do their best to mix deserving newbies with the established ones to bring that atmosphere of growth and opportunity. Model line ups are always diverse, allowing models of color to represent the collection.

Trans-model Maria Rivera walking for AZUCAR.
Photo by yours truly

They have also included the introduction and well acceptance of androgynous faces and even allowing a transgender model to walk the show. Due to this, a lot of undiscovered androgynous and transgender models were encouraged to pursue their dream of becoming models by attending the event’s casting. Manila Fashion Festival has maximized the definition of what a model is, which goes beyond muscles, pretty faces and between our legs.

FRESH TALENTS

Bobson Design Competition
Photo by yours truly

From behind the scenes, the team has broken the nepotism mentality where only the top media and designer friends are allowed to be in the know. They have given share of the spotlight to designer new comers and  even the graduating students from various fashion schools in the country. They are also staging design competitions apart from runway shows to search and cultivate talents from those with undiscovered potential.

Media area crowded crowded with magazine photographers, interns and some bloggers.
Photo by yours truly

This move also the opportunity for young photographers, interns and bloggers to gain the similar access that they give to big wig media/ publication. They believe in cultivating talents from the different corners of the fashion industry, and success for them includes the success of everyone in the circuit.

YOUNGER AND UP-TO-DATE CONCEPT OF THE COLLECTIONS

Renan Pacson x Gnarly (left) and Anthony Ramirez (right)for Manila Fashion Festival Now
Photos by yours truly

Collections presented are fit for the audience with a touch of innovation. The runway shows from this event has departed from the old-tita belief of “Santa Cruzan” clothes which are nearly impossible to wear in our real life situations. Gone are the endless sparkles, embellishment and grandma embroidery.

Say hello to modern approach of interpreting clothes that represents not solely the designer’s inspiration, but has taken into consideration what the consumers would want to wear and who they are.

INNOVATION  

Screenshot of Zalora website where the latest collections from Manila Fashion Festival NOW is up for buyers.
https://www.zalora.com.ph/mnl-fashion-fest/

It was a new take when Manila Fashion Festival took over the runway scene in the Philippines. They introduced by the “see now – buy now” concept through their partnership with Zalora. All collection pieces are posted on Zalora website after the show. The year-end edition surprised many of us when they decided to parallel the collections to the current season by using the “NOW” tagline. The succeeding shows will be named depending on the current season it is held.

Model Lou Yanong (PMAP) holding Samsung Gear 360 while heading the pack of models
Photo by yours truly

They also incorporated the 360 technology with Samsung on their wing. Teaser for the NOW season has been recorded using a Samsung Gear 360 camera, and with the use of VR or even the actual motion rotation of your smart phone, you will be able to experience the season’s preview beyond a single dimension photo. Some models walking on the show holds the Gear camera while walking. According to Sir Ronnie, the event is planning to bring the runway experience to the audience via glimpse of how a model sees the catwalk on their perspective. Such a good treat for model lovers like us!

RUNWAY FOR A CAUSE

Candies with ostrich antibodies from Better Future Foundation
Photo by yours truly

Fashion is stereotyped as an industry full of snobbish people who only care about clothes and youthful beauty. For Manila Fashion Festival, they always make it a point to include their community service on video reels and speeches from Sir Ronnie Cruz. They were able to use fashion’s strong following to show the beauty of helping others and to raise awareness that we can extend help even in the simplest means.

Together with Better Future Foundation (BFF), they launched the 10/20 Can-D Day. It aims to distribute candies infused with ostrich antibodies to children living in impoverished communities. On their recent show, they made a jar of candies available on front row guests and in the BFF booth. Sir Ronnie encouraged all of the audience to give the candies to street children as a sweet and healthy treat.

Just like a newbie model who walks on her first show, helping those who are in need also take one step at a time. But every step we make can create a huge difference, and it can start by using the influence we have in hand.

Ben
GeekyBF.com

Manila Fashion Festival
FASHION, MODELS TALK

INSIDE THE CASTING CALL – MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW

Model Compcards at the deliberation table.

The first day of October for 2016 is the day that will determine the who’s-who on the designers’ list of runway army. They have the responsibility of representing the story of the collection, and ensuring that every moment in the spotlight is translated into footsteps on gold. That is why a crucial casting process is part of the main ingredients that makes up a stellar show. My blog is spilling the beans on what happens within the casting process which is normally secluded to the majority of the industry’s followers in the country.

The Waiting Game

Upon arriving at the Art Personas office, a group of models, looking effortlessly flawless in the midst of the waiting game will welcome your sight. Some would scroll endlessly on their mobile phones, some would engage in small talks with model peers; some would carry a novel with them, and some center and gather their energy for the casting directors.

Welcoming rights

The models would first register on the agency’s lounge. Their measurements are taken by the assigned staff and a number They are quickly snapped for a digitals (soft copy of what we usually call as Model Polaroid) and assigned with a number for their batch line up.

The “Judgement Hour”

They are being called by batch for the eyes of top fashion Director – Jackie Aquino and the designers themselves. They are given few minutes to impress the panel with their presence and walk. Sometime in the middle, Dir. Jackie would take a moment to review the model digitals per batch to see how they look with in natural light without makeup. I was fully amazed and focused how good he indentify those who are runway ready and has that “bookable potential” from the group. He is very specific on the things that he points, showing how experienced he is on doing things like this.

The Casting Team carefully scrutinizing each model. 

On the other side of the table are the designers busy jotting down the names and numbers of the models that they think best embody their collection. Some of them shared their insights on their model criteria:

“ I’m looking for new faces from different races. They must look international.” – Rhett Eala.

“Someone who has a proportionate body. Not pretty, but appealing.” – Arleen Sipat-Sutton of AZUCAR.

“My current collection is about passion, love, woman and flamenco. It’s a celebration of diversity in womanhood.” – Cheetah Rivera.

Final Look Up

Day-end model check to complete their squad. 

As the day reached 6pm, the panel collated all compcards and checked whether they can still dig and find an undiscovered or overlooked potential from the number of model applicants. From the last minute, a few were selected as final addition to the designers’ model crew based on their cards. This is the point where we can really stress the importance of having a professional-looking compcard with strong-edgy images that is worthy of a second glance. Those who will make the cut will be notified accordingly and will be invited for fittings. I have noted some new face favorites that I’m truly dying to see walking the most coveted designer shows. In a few weeks, it will be another round of fresh-from-the cutting room pieces, parading to satisfy the editors and fashion people’s craving. For those who qualified, the runway is your next grilling room.

Ben
GeekyBF.com

FASHION, MODELS TALK

MODEL CASTING – MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW

Image Source: Facebook

They look fierce; they make their flaws perfect; they represent the collections; and they are team #unstoppable. Give your best foot forward this October 1, 2016 to join the runway gang for Manila Fashion Festival NOW casting call. Details are as follows (Source: Facebook):

October 1, 2016
1:00PM – 6:00PM
Art Personas Management‘s MAIN OFFICE
2nd Floor, Legaspi Suites
178 Salcedo Street
Legaspi Village, Makati City

REQUIREMENTS :
HEIGHT :
Female : 5’9″
Male : 5’11”

DRESSCODE :
Female : Mini Black Dress & heels.
Male : Black T-shirt & jeans.
PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO BRING YOUR SETCARDS.

So impress the casting team with your strut and get your name listed as one of their living mannequins. Best of luck and don’t forget to practice your walk and update your compcards.

Bless the models!

Ben.

manila-fashion-festival-ss-2017
FASHION, MODELS TALK

JOIN THE GUEST LIST – MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL NOW

 

Manila Fashion Festival NOW promotional. 
Image via Manilafashionfestival.com

The runway of all runway shows in the Philippines is ready to bring the lights back and present the freshly-tailored collections for the next season. Witness the parade of high fashion ensembles at Edsa Shangri-la (click to see in Google Maps) on October 18 to 21 2016.

As the event was voted as the as Best Fashion Show of 2014 by Stylebible.ph readers (source: Wikipedia), the people behind Manila Fashion Festival constantly aims to bring the show outside the “fandom mentality” by allowing fashion lovers within and outside the elite circle to watch the show in flesh.

Manila Fashion Festival NOW schedule and show list (click to enlarge)
Images sent via email by manilafashionfestival.com after confirmation of registration. 

Go ahead and visit their official website and click Registration->Runway Shows. Complete the needed details and select the preferred date and show block that you wish to attend. By the looks of it, it’s going to be a long day of fahsiongasmic moments as Day two and four have afternoon shows. I can only commit to attend evening shows due to my real job responsibilities. Battling the 6pm traffic going to the venue can be true fashionista challenge, but we know it’s all worth the sweat. You can catch me there snapping models all the time. Hope to see you there.

Bless the models!

Ben.

FASHION, MODELS TALK

FACE OF THE PHILIPPINES DELEGATE MAKES THE TOP 10 CUT

Those legs are meant for the runway!
Image source: Facebook

Asia New Star Model Contest – the competition that shows the diverse Asian beauty scouted representatives from the corners of the biggest continent through their respective networks per participating Asian countries. Last October 2016, the winners from the Face of Philippines S2 were selected from hopefuls. Along with the handpicked candidate, they were flown to South Korea this May 2016 to compete to the said contest.

A face made for beauty. Kathlyn is giving her 101% for this backstage photo
Image source: @faceofthephilippines

As a clear stand out though her obvious sky scrapper height, Kathlyn Asuncion has been an early favorite even in the rounds of local fashion shows. The girl doesn’t have to try hard as she is born with feline-like gaze straight from the 50s era. Continuously booking jobs for two seasons on Manila Fashion Festival became her training ground to build her confidence more and live in accordance to demand of her high heels. Aside from her hard work, her ever-supporting family are always there to witness her glide with the pros and give life to the theatrics of the shows. Fast forward to May 2016, she and other delegates from the Philippines jet set to South Korea to battle it out step-by-step with the delegates from other Asian country.

Kathlyn walking for Randy Ortiz in Manila Fashion Festival F/W 2016
Photo by Blessthemodels.com

Walking with all her collected gears through months of experience, Ms. Kathlyn impressed the crowd and finished at top 10. It’s just months since she started submerging herself to the actual fashion scene, but we are puzzled if it is still appropriate for her to be called as newbie, knowing that she works like she’s been doing this for years. She may have not grabbed the number one spot, but her experiences and her potential is more than just number one. A big congratulatory hugs to you and your fellow FOP delegates.

Bless the models!

Ben.

FASHION, MODELS TALK

MODEL SPOTLIGHT – JAKE VILLUMSEN

Photo from Art Personas Management

The local fashion scene in the Philippines is also a breeding ground for new faces. Joining the catwalk cliques of the established ones may be a tough challenge for an inexperienced one. Success doesn’t just rely on looks and hard work. Reality is, everything should happen on the right timing, demand and opportunities. For a newbie, the game is just get noticed and book more, or get lost and be forgotten. As one of the models would say – “You really have to hustle”.

Jake in action. Walking for Mark Tamayo on Manila Fashion Festival F/W 2016.
Photos from StyleBible.ph

From the pool of hundreds of models who attended the open call, one lucky guy who just recently signed up with Art Personas Management made us recap the meaning of the law of attraction. The Danish-Filipino mix gave birth to Jake, whose height and killer brows would speak as runway ready. He was welcomed by the agency heads (Mr Ronnie Cruz, CEO of Art Personas and his wife, Ms Sara Kae) and has easily made friends with the other models because of his friendly nature.

Look who’s working?
Photos from zalora.com.ph

Being lined with aircraft technology as his education, we have seen him applied the same theory of being fly when he walked the F/W 2016 season of Manila Fashion Festival. Due to his prior commitments, he only stayed for the first day despite other bookings. We even overheard someone saying “Please just stay here and do more shows”. Mr Villumsen was discovered by Casting Director –Junel Quinones and though having a new career, he has to juggle lots of stuff before catching his flight- fittings; Zalora lookbook shoot for Mark Tamayo & Chris Diaz; actual runway show, and the whole waiting game for the show preparation. Before he packed his bags, he shared some of his time for a quick chat.

No bad angle. He works that backstage photo like a pro.
Photo from megastyle.com.ph

B: What excites you about modelling?
J: The people in front of you, cause even though you can’t see them because of the lights, you just walk and focus on the cameras.

B: So how did you prepare for your first runway show?
J: Ms Sara, she thought me how to walk through a workshop in Art Personas. After that, wherever I go I just practice walking even just on the streets.

B: How does it feel walking on the runway?
J: Well, in the backstage I’m not yet nervous. I feel excited, but when I’m walking its like black out and go straight.

B: What do you think is your trademark as a model?
J: Maybe my right ear. It’s a bit smaller than the left one (laughs).

B: Do you have any dream job other than modelling?
J: It’s the course that I took – fixing aircraft. I also studied bar tending in Thailand. But that is just my hobby, I just want to learn.

B: How about your goals in modelling?
J: I never thought that I could be a ramp model til I was discovered. During wardrobe fitting I had a brief talk with Mr. Jackie Aquino, the shows Director and he welcomed me to the modelling world and to the Art Personas family also. With that, I am forever grateful to them. I realized that modelling is not only glamour, the lights, make up but also the hardworking and good people behind it. That inspires me to love and do my best at least to fit in to the industry and become one of the best male models around. (laughs)

B: What do you miss about your life before modelling?
J: Haircut. Before, you can do anything to your hair or something. Right now, you need to ask your agent first if it is okay. Like the past few weeks, I wanted to have my hair cut but my agent said no because you have a look book shoot, and i need to look the same on the runway.

B: Has walking Manila Fashion Festival changed your style?
J: Yeah. Before I don’t like colourful stuff. Now I managed to walk with it around. I feel comfortable now walking in any clothes.

B: Despite of your busy schedule lately, how do you find time for yourself?
J: If there is no show, I just ask my friends what’s the set up if you’re going out? I wanna’ join you guys. I’m also travelling back and forth in Denmark.

B: How do you see yourself here say after 5 years?
J: I want to see myself working in airlines and maybe as a model at the same time.

B: How do you manage stress whenever you are preparing or the actual show?
J: Just relax and do what I had prepared

B: What was your dream before becoming a model?
J: When I was a kid, I have a lot of dreams. Like becoming a doctor, being a pilot. Now I realized, I enjoy more on fixing stuff so I studied aircraft mechanics.

B: If you can trade your life with a fellow model? Who is that and why?
J: Maybe Daniel Matsunaga. Since he has good looks and is confident when walking on the runway, just having fun.

Bless the models!

Ben.

FASHION, MODELS TALK

BEHIND THE RUNWAY- MANILA FASHION FESTIVAL F/W 2016

Its prep up time! Rayane Lopes being dolled up minutes before the show.

Fashion show goers are used to witnessing the actual runway show – models’ face all polished and clothes hanging gracefully on their slender frame. Whether standing on the peanut gallery; or seating on the front, the back, or the media row, we managed to swing through the energy of the collection. However, a trip to a part of the behind-the-scenes would make you appreciate the amount of work that has been put to create a visually arousing show.

Sam Lewis (left) and Carla Humphries (right) with their off the runway moment.

Backstage feels…

This short but memorable trip leads us to the lower ground of the show venue. I and my bff Rowell (from stylebyrandomguy.wordpress.com) were given the opportunity by the lovely people from Art Personas team to take a sneak peek of the hair and make-up room. We immediately rush inside the assigned room and saw how they get down to business. Forgive my amazement cause it was my first time witnessing the whole backstage thing live. Models sat down on a glam station while the hair and make-up artist preps them up to look flawless. An effortless skin with the designer’s desired look is a serious obligation to the team. Uniformity is the key point and as much as possible, the face should be concealed from imperfections.

Talk about #brushgoals for the make-up savvy

 

From L-R: Jhen Maica Valencia (Art Personas) and Hye Won Jang (PMAP) with the team

Asia’s Next Top Model C4 alum Gwendolyn Ruais (PMAP) looking sharp and edgy

Its just her second season but Mariah Jowett (Art Personas) will always channel Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Model Maria Rivera showing us how to be dreamy and sultry. You better work girl! 

While rooming around, some of models managed to say “hi with half eyes shut due to make-up application. With my camera flashing, they steadily gave that backstage bts look for my blog. We also manage to have small talks with them to check if how they are doing so far. My eyes tried not to blink seeing majority of my favourite models packed in one room. As they leave minutes before the show, I was lucky enough to snap some of them before they exit. It’s nice to see again some of the models whom I have established friendship through my blogging journey, as well as the new ones whom I’ve recently made friends with.

Since I was getting used to my new camera, I wasn’t able to take tons of after show moments like what we’ve been used to before. Then again, these few shots are really my favourite, especially the one I took with Julian Culas (in yellow)- the dude is super fierce you know! Cheers to them who are still cool to have their photos taken despite of their tiring day. Thanks also for the hugs! It was nice catchin’ up with you guys even for a short time. Till next show.

P.S. Big thanks to Sir Ronnie, Ms Sara Kae, Tito Jonel (Art Personas Management) and Sir Joshua (Yeoh Models).

Please credit me & my blog upon usage of the photos. All photos taken by Ben L. Ferrer

Bless the models!

Ben.