Behind the glitz, glamour and rose-tinted glasses

 
At Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival, the long-awaited four days fly by pretty quickly. For the designers who showcase their collections here, this entails riding an emotional roller coaster of sorts. Blood, sweat and tears, sleepless nights and crucial months: they all add up only to culminate at a runway show with a five to 10-minute runtime. Then, just like that, it’s over.
The truth of the matter is: what is seen on the runway can generate a surface-level appreciation of what goes into mounting a fashion show. But the nitty-gritty? The aforementioned months of (physically, mentally and spiritually taxing) work? Everything that comes before the actual presentation of a collection? They require getting to know the not-so-glamorous side of the industry, the designers themselves and their process. Because really, what goes behind the scenes of the runway would probably feel like an alien planet to the mere spectator.
   

On Conceptualization and Finding Inspiration

Veejay Floresca, @veejayfloresca
“The biggest challenge is to come up with a collection that has a story, and at the same time, will sell. It’s hard to balance creativity and business. Sometimes you need to make compromises in order to sustain the business side of fashion.”
John Pe Larlar, @jjpelar
“[One main] challenge is finding inspiration. Honestly, medyo masakit sya sa ulo kasi finding inspiration is not easy. You have to be detailed and [be mindful about] what gets highlighted in certain parts of your collection. Because if you are emotionally, spiritually and even psychologically connected with your point of inspiration, it helps you, as an artist, to portray and evoke certain emotions [through fashion].”
 
 
Edgar Buyan, @edgarbuyan27
“It’s not easy to prepare for a collection. [Getting started is hard.] What is your main silhouette? What is your color [palette]? Your fabric? Once you hit the main idea [anchoring] your looks, [the rest] runs smoothly.”
On Fine-Tuning Details
Fred Telarma, @fredtelarma
“Prior to the day of the show, getting the right models to fit the milieu of the look you want as a designer is challenging. (We had several changes in models due to scheduling conflicts and the like.) Also, apart from the collection needing to be perfect, you need to consider other elements or components such as background music, lighting, and background video. These are peripheral elements to a fashion show but they could make or break a collection.”
 
 
Chris Diaz, @chrysdiaz
“Months of prep to be showcased in less than five mins may appear uncomplicated, but there is a lot of work involved. Halfway conceptualizing can sometimes signal that it’s feasible or signal you to scrap the idea and go back to the drawing board. The current demand for menswear is surprising, hence the majority of my Spring 2020 lineup features men’s pieces, but versatile enough to be worn by chic women who favors a boy-meets-girl look. Challenges were probably in the production: plaids should always be perfectly aligned with the patterns and the seams (which entails more yardage, too) and making sure to finish them just in time for my fashion editorial shoot and creative video all before the show.”
Denesse Ramirez, @denesseramirezstudio
“Challenges included: sourcing for the right fabric and materials to achieve the look I envisioned. Choosing and combining the right colors and shapes of embellishments, too. There were a lot of choices––nice and cute ones that caught my attention. But I had to focus on the colors and shapes that I planned. Putting different embellishments with ostrich feathers together was tough because I didn’t know how it would turn out. Until I found the right combination.”
 

On the Moments Before the Runway Show

Renan Pascon, @renanpacson
“Each season, the collection is never really ready until the first look comes down the runway. And before that first look comes out, it’s always a challenge to juggle a hundred tasks during the day of show…like making sure your runway music is ready. There was one time I was told I couldn’t use the music I prepared as it was exactly the same as the other designer, so we had to create a remix in an hour to make it on time for rehearsals. Hair and makeup is another drama; what you have in mind may turn out another way when interpreted by the hairstylists and makeup artists.”
Benjie Panizales, @benjiepanizales
“Your patience will be tested and your quick wit will be needed when [the unexpected] arise. Starting from the fitting, where, if things have to be altered, you have to be ready for it. That’s a challenge considering the lack of machinery backstage. Other unforeseen situations can sometimes be annoying like the wrong execution of hair, missing shoes, disappearing models. If you’re not focused, you’ll definitely break down.”
 
Kaye Morales, @kayemoraleskm
“Before doing a fashion show, we have to be ready with all the expenses. For us designers, the days leading up to the fashion show are very stressful and they can make us very anxious. Likely something will go wrong. As the show draws closer, there is almost no time to eat or sleep. So when the show does happen, it’s a relief. Seeing the people having fun during the showcase makes me very proud of what I’ve created.”
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Behind the beaming lights and strut-worthy music is this chaotic world unseen by audiences. And getting to know these first-hand accounts only prove: clearly, not just anybody is cut out for this kind of hustle. Something to keep in mind the next time Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival comes around.
Words Lord Rebueno
Art Alexandra Lara
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