Jay-R Gamboa Flores doesn’t have formal fashion education, but growing up in Sultan Kudarat with his parents, both dressmakers, taught him the value of hard work and patience—invaluable skills in the industry.
Flores is the winner of the 2016 Moda Mindanao, the south’s longest-running fashion design competition organized by SM Malls in Davao. Though he finished two bachelor degrees (elementary education and nursing), it is his work experience that largely shaped his artistic skills and identity as a designer.
“I am uncertain when exactly I started dabbling in fashion, because even when I was studying in college, I was already sewing and making gowns,” he recalled.
He added that he also helped make dresses while in high school, working on the side in his parents’ shop every summer and whenever he had free time.
“I remember sewing skirts for school uniforms and being paid P15 at the time. My experience and learning from my parents helped me a lot,” he said.
Today, Flores runs his own small dress shop.
He won Moda Mindanao for melding various Mindanao aesthetics into pieces that highlight the beauty of diversity.
Empress of Mindanao, his winning piece in Moda, featured details that represent tribes in the south.
Flores pointed out that the Manobo, T’Boli, B’laan, Maranao and Maguindanao all live harmoniously in his hometown of Sultan Kudarat.
He carefully curated fabrics of the Maguindanao and Maranao (Inaul), assembling these next to the intricate weaving patterns of the B’laan.
Painstaking beadwork of the T’Boli and the bells of Manobo adorned the dress, commanding visual and aural presence.
Renowned fashion accessories designer Ken Samudio, one of the Moda judges, expressed delight at the designs showcased in the competition.
He said that local aesthetics are a growing global trend and designers coming from an island rich in tradition and culture, such as Mindanao, have strong potentials in the industry.
Photography Clyde Gabriel Styling Luis Carlo San Juan Makeup Chuchie Ledesma for Maybeline New York Hairstyle Syd Helmsley Model Alaiza Malinao