We’re not sure who coined the term “Milan of Asia” to describe Cebu and the many design talents who hail from this part of the archipelago, but we haven’t heard a single complaint about that analogy yet. There must be truth to it.
Maybe it’s the water, or the inherent creativity that Cebuanos have come to be known for, which stems from our long history of artists and artisans who have infused their creativity even in something as mundane as the pusó (hanging rice).
Whatever the case, the one thing that we can all agree on is that there’s one Cebuano name that’s evidently leading the pack—Kenneth Cobonpue.
Much has been written about the world-renowned industrial designer, and if you haven’t heard of him yet, then welcome back from your trip to Mars. As somebody who is already on top of his game, Cobonpue has recently decided to channel his efforts toward another of his passions—cultivating and mentoring young talent.
This is how the Progeny Series by Kenneth Cobonpue came to be. He says, “Progeny is a series that unveils talented young designers and artists who are unique in the marketplace. We are closely watching the careers of the artists and designers who pass through our doors. We support each other like family. They will be the face of Filipino design tomorrow.”
Progeny will be seen in Kenneth Cobonpue’s Manila showroom at The Residences in Greenbelt. It will kick off on Nov. 24 with fellow Cebuano and 27-year old accessories designer, Neil Felipp.
Neil says of Kenneth: “It is a privilege to work with a Filipino designer who is globally recognized. I am honored to be a part of his roster of progenies as it was through Kenneth’s mentorship that I was able to further hone my craft and gain a better understanding of what it takes to become a global design brand.”
Under that mentorship, Neil went on to win the Inquirer Lifestyle’s Look of Style Awards in 2014. He credits it as “one of the crucial events that catapulted me into developing my brand. By winning that competition, I was sent to Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom for an intensive study to refine my craft and understand the global market.”
Of Neil, Kenneth says: “He is one of my former students from the University of the Philippines-Cebu. He spent time in my studio as an intern working on designs for accessories. He is very creative and his designs are full of fantasy and imagination. He definitely has a story to tell, and I see how passionate he is about building a brand.”
That fantasy and imagination will be on full display in Neil Felipp’s collection of minaudieres especially created for the Progeny series.
He says, “Overall, I think this is one of my most playful collections yet.”
We can’t help but agree. As with most of his designs, Neil’s pieces for the Progeny Series look as appealing on a shelf as they do on a woman’s arm.
The two anchor pieces, “Antoinette the Mad” and “Halcyon,” are stories waiting to be told.
The first, which comes in dainty colors of periwinkle blue and rose quartz, is about Marie Antoinette falling into the same rabbit hole that Alice in Wonderland found herself in.
The edgier “Halcyon” clutch in your choice of aluminum, blue or red, looks like a miniature city in the wearer’s grasp.
With a growing national fan base of women (and some men) who like to have fun with and through fashion, we asked Neil if he’s ready to make the move to Manila like many Cebuano artists before him.
He says, “I have considered moving to Manila, but there is nothing like home which is Cebu. There is something about Cebu that inspires me to create.”
The Progeny Series by Kenneth Cobonpue featuring Neil Felipp will be on Nov. 24-26, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., at the Kenneth Cobonpue Showroom in The Residences at Greenbelt, Makati.