FDCP thru the PFDC

Modernizing the Terno
By Demi Braque

The Fashion & Design Council of the Philippines (FDCP) announced recently the roster of fifteen promising designers as finalists in this year’s Philippine Fashion Design Competition (PFDC) at the Nash Room of the Mandarin Oriental.
All fifteen entrants sent in intriguing renditions to the theme ‘Today’s Terno.’ The selection panel, consisting of senior FDCP members, was on the lookout for originality, wear-ability and the application of indigenous materials; ranging from the all-too familiar textiles (jusi, pinya, sinamay and abaca) to such uncommon scraps as bulalo chips, photo luminescent fibers, water hyacinth, and pandan.
“Designers must approach the Terno construction with utmost care and trepidation. If it were simply a case of any contemporary design, anybody could embellish it in whatever way they want. But when it comes to the Terno, it’s an entirely different story. It’s a traditional dress so it’s best that designers use temperance at wag landi-in o paglaru-an. Detailing to show creative expression is a natural impulse for designers but that should not play centerfield in creating the Terno. Never tamper with the sleeves; otherwise it ain’t a Terno anymore,” cautioned celebrated designer and fashion columnist Christian de Leon Espiritu.
This year’s batch is comprised of Kester Eulo Afable (Samar), Mark Joseph Alminanza (Zambales), Nino Dominic Angeles (San Juan), Charinson Balalilhe and Irene Grace Subang (Negros Occidental), John Michael Dimacali (Pampanga), Jonah Bengt Enrique (Davao), Gilmar Thonee Llaneras (Albay), Rafael Mejia and Angelique Gabriel Sarenas (Manila), Marion Isabel Solon and Maureen Liberty Lezama (Oriental Negros), Rakiel Aurora Talan (Antipolo), Alvin Tolentino (Bicol Region), and Candle Ray Torreverde (Iloilo).
“Designers can be inventive without being scandalous. There must be no skin-baring. The Terno is a very sacred and elegant silhouette; more so that it used in very important occasions. As a designer, you can make a lot of other avant garde or haute couture creations. In the case of the Terno, however, you can make it interesting without going overboard – to the point of desecration! The Terno is sacrosanct,” continued Espiritu, the brains behind the highly-successful XTN label.
PFDC 2013 is a fusion of the best qualities of its previous incarnations, particularly of the 2004 and 2011 national competitions. This year’s theme is reminiscent of 2004’s ‘Rebirth & Renewal: The Philippine  Butterfly’ as finalists are tasked with re-imaging the traditional Terno (butterfly sleeves) as an updated, classic, wearable garment not confined to very formal occasions (like weddings, legislative functions and pageants) and/or customary fabrics.
The contest is also a Social Design Competition, like its predecessors, wherein the goal of revitalizing local economies through the partnership of the finalists and local manufacturing communities are highlighted. As in all editions of the PFDC, finalists receive invaluable education during the Mentoring Phase. There will be two modules on this phase. The first will be on Design Development with Dong Omaga-Diaz while the other module will be on Construction with Jojie Lloren.
“We at the FDCP would like to bring the Terno to modern times; in the same manner that the Japanese yukata or Korean hanbok is being worn by younger generations. We don’t want to limit its usage to ninangs in weddings or ladies attending the SONA, so young people can wear it too. It would be a far and long road to trek but someone has to start the trend. So there lies the challenge. We’re looking for a designer who has the vision in making the Terno more wearable; making designs that are orderly. All fifteen will be guided along the way. We started accepting designs as early as March. The finalists were picked from a field of 80 anonymous entries, un-named and without regional markers,” shared Omaga-Diaz, one of three Filipinos to have won in the global designers’ competition in France; an honor he shares with designers Jojie Lloren and Frederick Peralta.
Each finalist will also be paired with a member of the FDCP to serve as his/her mentor for the duration of the competition. After the Mentoring phase, finalists will begin creation of their collection. Aside from the initial criteria of originality, wearability, and the use of indigenous materials, the judges will be examining the execution and workmanship of all the pieces in each of the final trunks.
“It is imperative that the finalists follow the guidelines we’ve set. The Terno is a symbolic dress so kailangang alaga-an at wag babuyin ang desenyo,” intoned mentor Avel Bacudio.
Some of the interesting details, presented so far, include Rizal province’s contemporary take on the traditional tapis (from the baro’t saya ensemble) that’s given volume and twist through layers of jusi, pinya, rami and hinablon from Panay. Then there are the entries from Oriental Negros – one being inspired by the manton de Manila, translated as a cape on a sleeved shift dress; and an Autumn-inspired layered kerchief skirt using pinya and corn husks shaped like leaves.
PFDC 2013: Today’s Terno will culminate with the grand finals night on Dec. 2nd where each of the finalists showcases three looks for their collection. The said event will also coincide with the FDCP Terno Gala that will feature the works of all its members: JC Buendia (president), Anthony Nocom, Gerry Katigbak, Avel Bacudio, Ramon Esteban, Hindy Weber-Tantoco, and Dong Omaga-Diaz (board members), as well as those of advisers Randy Ortiz, Vittorio Barba, and Jojie Lloren.
The winner will receive P250,000 as seed money that will be allotted for the continuance of his/her design-manufacturing relationship with his/her adopted community. The champions of PFDC 2011’s ‘Weaving The Future’ – Roland Alzate (Apparel) and Adante Leyesa (Accessories) – have proven that the Social Design aspect of the competition can be sustained long after the contest is over. Leyesa, in particular, has continued to work with local communities such as the out-of-school youth in Batangas (for beadwork) as well as with the Association of Disabled Person in Antique province, and weavers in the provinces of  Benguet and Iloilo for his unique accessories.

For more updates, simply check the organization’s social networking sites on-line: www.facebook.com/thefdcp; http://twitter.com/FDCP1; and/or http://instagram.com/thefdcp.      


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