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Fashion First: Is Japan the Next Big Frontier for Filipino Designers?

Fashion First: Is Japan the Next Big Frontier for Filipino Designers?

From CJ Cruz’s collection. CJ interned at Phoebe Philo-era Celine before heading back to his homeland and starting his brand Image. The designer is featured as one of the speakers from the CJ Cruz website

We’ve made our fashionable mark in Dubai with Furne One and Michael Cinco then Hollywood, with Monique Lhuillier. Could Japan be the next frontier for Filipino fashion designers?  For the people behind the first comprehensive fashion conference in the country, it’s a perfect fit.

“The Japanese fashion industry turns over approximately $143 Billion. It’s one of the most exciting and most important fashion markets in the world” says Teresa Matera, PHx Fashion Conference project adviser. “That’s why it’s also exciting to look into it and see how we can learn from it.”

Go Global but Make It, Fashion

If you’re a designer struggling to find guidance and assistance on how to take your label to the next level, the PHx Fashion Conference could be the ticket you need to get you there.

As a designer-led fashion conference, it aims to provide a holistic, inspirational and informative fashion experience for Filipino practitioners with the goal of expanding the market for Philippine labels.

Something that current president of the Fashion and Design council of the Philippines and founder of ARANAZ brand, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, struggled to find when she first launched her label.

“Personally, for my own brand, I had to figure my way through on my own. There was no one to ask, what do I do?”

PHx will bring together resource speakers and lecturers from both the creative and business ends of the fashion industry to discuss overseas market opportunities and best practices in a regional and global level. It’s an event created by Philippine fashion practitioners for their colleagues, especially for designers working on their labels. A first of its kind in the country.

Alunan further adds, “We want to share this with the next generation of designers, who I know will be able to achieve so much more than (what) the current group of designers have accomplished”

Big in Japan

A look from Proudrace, a contemporary brand founded by Patrick Bondoc (industrial designer) and Rik Rasos (creative director). The brand is featured as one of the creative speakers in the event Image from the Proudrace website

Encouraged by the enthusiastic inquiries she would get from Japanese colleagues and friends about Philippine design labels, Teresa Ortiz-Matera thought it made sense to focus on Japan for the first edition and teach how local fashion businesses can break through this lucrative market.

“We are looking forward to hopefully having this event once a year and including other markets aside from Japan. We are committed to making this conference a part of the conversation that young designers will have every year.” Ortiz-Matera adds.

The four-day event will dive into the Japanese market’s culture and patterns, export costings, pricing, and modes of distribution. It will also tackle how Philippine fashion can create a relevant global presence and advise local designers how to compete in today’s digitally operated global fashion industry.

See Also
woman splashing ocean water

From the Spring/Summer 2019 collection of Connesse, one of the brands carried by H3O, which brings emerging talent to the Japanese market. H3O will feature in the first PHx Fashion Conference
Image from the Connesse website

Highlights from conference include creative talks from award-winning Australian fashion editor Jason Lee Coates and Hirohito Suzuki of H3O Fashion Bureau. H3O, is a group responsible for connecting emerging talents with the Japanese market. The first stop for what’s hot in Japan and Asia. Plus, select conference participants will also get the chance to have their design portfolio reviewed by key industry stalwarts.

“There is a place for Philippine fashion in the international market.” Alunan insists.

“Its time designers think beyond the local market and tell the Filipino story to the rest of the world.”

With the exuberant support of Philippine Fashion community behind it, I have a feeling that Japan is only the first stop of what could be a global invasion for Filipino designers.

The first PHx Fashion Conference happens on Nov. 11-14 at the Philippine Trade Center in Pasay city. Visit for further information.

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