IN ADDITION to creating original apparel and accessories based on the theme “I am a Filipino designer,” finalists of last March’s LOOK Style Awards (LOSA) 2016 were asked to take clothing from popular retail brand Bench and turn it into something new. The most innovative creations were recognized in LOSA’s Bench #LoveLocal Awards. Five finalists explain the ideas behind their standout designs.
Inspired by the modern Filipina, Lopa, the winner of the Bench #LoveLocal Award, used a button-down polo shirt and blue denim skirt. She reworked the polo into a reversible blouse, and reversed the skirt, turning the back zipper into a slit. Incorporating indigenous woven materials into the outfit resulted in a look that “represents my aesthetic and style, and celebrates the handmade craft of Filipino weavers,” she says. “My design aesthetic is all about conscious clothes that can adapt and have sustainable impact.”
Maat’s use of Art Deco-inspired graphics and lines are a nod to the Manila Metropolitan Theater. He got a long T-shirt, reworked the sleeves and used trapunto quilting to create the graphic details and laser cut stars. Taking black skinny jeans, he applied acrylic latex and sandpapered it, creating white graphic lines.
To convert a pair of jeans into a knee-length tube dress, Pusing kept the button and belt loops but manipulated the pant slightly by creating two separate folds that resemble the tip of a pañuelo. “It peels at the back to sensually show some skin,” she says.
Pusing says her look was inspired by “Fashionable Filipina,” the book published by Bench and Slim’s Fashion & Arts School in support of fashion education in the Philippines. “Since my contest pieces are more on the soft side, I made my Bench piece a bit edgy and funky,” she says.
Bagasao, who mixed fabrics with subtle embellishments for his LOOK Style Awards entries, applied a similar treatment to his Bench pieces. He sewed black thread around the collar of a soft tee and patches on light wash slim denims. A jacket from his collection finished the look. “It gave it a more polished look,” he says of the final touch, “made it look more ‘me.’”
Inspired by Asian street wear, Lang used basic Bench pieces—a black T-shirt and black denim jeans—and played with their proportions. For the shirt, he added length and metallic zippers on the sides. As for the pants, Lang deconstructed them for a more edgy feel. To match the jeans, he made a customized denim jacket and patched the back with a graphic print from a Bench tee.
Photography Juan Carlos Miguel Alomajan Styling Luis Carlo San Juan Makeup Syd Helmsley Hairstyle Mark Familara for Kiehl’s Models Yaofa Dela Cruz of Mercator Model Management and Diego Gutierrez of Primastella Management CHECK OUT THE LOOK STYLE AWARDS 2016 FINALISTS’ ENTRIES IN A SPECIAL EXHIBIT FROM APRIL 30 TO MAY 3, 2016 AT THE SM AURA ATRIUM.