“A slap on the face.”
This was how leaders of the Davao Fashion and Design Council Foundation, Inc. (DFDCFI) described the decision of the Miss Universe pageant hosting committee to designate a “non-Mindananoan” designer in dressing up the candidates participating in the cultural fashion show to be held in Davao City.
The fashion show is going to be an auxiliary event of the pageant as previously announced by Department of Tourism (DOT) which will highlight the culture of Lumads (indigenous people) in Mindanao.
Guesting during the Habi at Kape media forum at Abreeza Mall, Davao City yesterday, renowned international fashion designer Alfonso “Boy” Guino-o who is the group’s mentor expressed his disappointment towards DOT on permitting showbiz designer Renee Salud to be the designer and overall director of the event.
Guino-o pointed out that the fact that both Tourism secretary Wanda Teo and President Duterte are coming from Davao City, it is best that Mindanaoan designers will be showcased on the event.
DFDCFI member Dodjie Batu said the committee has already planned a program wherein they created a story of Mindanao fabrics and tapestry.
“That is what we are saying: why not the Mindanaoan designers will do this? Why a non-Mindanaoan designer?” stressed Batu.
The DFDCFI member further stated that the group does not demand on dressing all the candidates for the event.
“We are not saying we want to dress all the 40 candidates, but what we want is to showcase Davao designers by dressing some of them,” he said.
Batu explained that a proposal was given by the pageant committee stating that a separate event before the program proper will be conducted for DFDCFI featuring their designs worn by local models.
“However, the invitation is only to those who will approve the proposal,” said Batu, adding that the group is even more insulted when they learned they will be showcasing only at the cocktail area.
The DFDCFI member further stressed that contrary to Salud’s statement that they were consulted and invited, “there was no meeting that happened”.
“They just wanted to say, ‘Okay we invited them’ but obviously, plantsado na’,” he added.
Batu clarified that the group does not want to create disorder, they only wanted to vent disappointment on “what has transpired”.
“We are waiting for the decision of DOT”, said Batu, adding that they will conduct another meeting with the organization if the indifference will continue.
According to Guino-o, during the 1994 Miss Universe pageant held in the country, a fashion roadshow was also conducted, however, the committee considered Mindanaoan artists to showcase their designs.
“Margie Moran wanted to bring Manila designers in Mindanao but we said no, we should be the one to dress them and in the end they listened. They gave it to us,” he explained.
According to Batu, at present DFDCFI has 11 members, eight of them are in Davao while three are abroad aside from a number of young artists being trained, a proof of the “vibrant and flourishing fashion industry in the region”.
DFDCFI emphasized that with a lot of Davao-based designers renowned in the international arena, there would be no reason to consider Mindanaoan designers in showcasing their craft in the global scene.
The cultural fashion show will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City starting January 19.