It’s been days since PhFG2018 Lokal but I’m still in a surreal state. Up to know, I can’t get over everything that happened! My followers in social media would attest to that! Currently I’m uploading photos of the show from different photographers, new and experienced. Plus, I just edited the full video coverage of my segment in the show! So for those who wished to watch my collection unfold for the first time but failed to do so, no worries because with my Facebook page, you are updated! But behind all those photos and videos is the unforgettable experience of being one of the designers for the show. One word to describe it: fulfilling.
The Day Before
I started the day before pretty relaxed: all the designs are done, all the accessories and my personal stuff are prepared... except for one thing: I almost forgot one of the props so my mom and I rushed to the nearest palenke. My biggest problem was my outfit. Of course, I prioritized the collection so I had no time to make one for myself. I had a reject piece from my collection though, a tapis made out of the handwoven outfit and good thing it fits me knowing I already gained a lot of weight since my last fashion show! I looked through my closet and my past designs to find garments I could style with it. I found a cropped top from Divisoria and the slitted palazzo pants I designed last year. After preparing everything, I went to bed early but failed to fall asleep because, as usual and expected, I got anxious. I had so many worries like “Will they like my collection?”, “Are they open to my style of designing?” and “What if they laugh about my models going barefoot?” At the end of the day, I just lifted up to God and had my goodnights with my friends wishing me good luck and my boyfriend being really excited for me.
I woke up 7AM to put all the dresses in the family car (because they won’t fit in my own car lol). I left the house at 9AM to fetch my boyfriend/usher on the way. We even got into a small fight because of a really hilarious reason: I didn’t like his outfit LOL. Anyway, we arrived at the venue at 12:30 because I had to buy my models food and traffic along EDSA was bad! Entering the venue, the first thing I saw were the banners of each designer and I immediately saw mine! “This is it!” I checked my models first before unloading all the stuff. Ate my food really quick and hang my designs at the backstage.
Having a skin disorder where I sweat more than the normal level, having a really humid backstage did not help me at all. All the staff and bouncers and even Mr. Mike Tagle, producer of the show, were concerned about all the sweat that’s coming out from me. I had to retouch my makeup three times and even took a bath again in my hotel room but the heat was just intense so I just let it be and focused on the collection. All the models I brought were already dressed up until I noticed something: one of my models is missing! I checked my messenger and found out she got into a car accident. Based from experience, I know there’s no such thing as a seamless event so I wasn’t that stressed out but of course I was concerned about her. MTP was also efficient enough to be able to give me a new model. She was also perfect for my collection! Some of the models for my lineup had to walk for the designers before my turn so a quick change is going to happen. I already sent my boyfriend to the show area. Seems like I can already handle myself backstage! Chatting with my models and my co-designers while waiting, I felt no nervousness. Sir Mike lead a prayer backstage which helped our minds to be positive and relaxed.
The waiting time was pretty quick. Just like that, it was already my turn. Me and my models were already having our game faces and our bare feet on! Mine was unintentional though. The wedges of my shoes loosened until the whole shoe broke apart. Ditched the whole footwear and joined my models in the barefoot party! In my mind, I was just lifting everything to God and lifting to him the main purpose of my collection: to showcase the beauty of Mt. Province.
Right when my music was played (musically arranged by Jer Cruz), my heart went from relaxed to excited. One-by-one, the models walked on the runway while I was watching from the backstage. Monta
The host finally called me: “Ladies and gentlemen, Yna Mendez”. Walked bouncy like a kid to the front of the runway, unknowingly forgetting my fone was just on my tapis, still sweating a lot, but feeling only happiness and gratitude, bowing and thanking the audience whose faces I don’t really see. All I saw were flashes of cameras and my boyfriend giving me a bouqet of sunflowers. I was enjoying the moment, in my white pants and barefoot. As I went back to the backstage, I jumped for joy and my models and I took some photos outside. My closest friends also surprised me outside and congratulated me for having a great show!
I already sent my models to my hotel room so they can change clothes and take I rest. I fixed my stuff alone backstage. I had no assistants because I wanted my guests, even my boyfriend, to watch the show. Being really busy, I missed the final curtain call and I just laughed it out. The first show was already finished and my family greeted me outside. A friend also handed me another bouqet! I received a lot of congratulatory messages, but for me, these two were really special:
“Your creations were very original yet practical. Congratulations. Keep up the good work.” – Felipe de Leon Jr., former chairman of NCCA
“Good job Yna! Grabe naexperience ko talaga yung Sagada sa collection mo. Yun yung iniimagine ko talaga for the show. Congratulations!” – Mike Tagle, producer of Philippine Fashion Gala
These two validations and the proud faces of my family, friends, and boyfriend really fulfilled me. God answered my worries. Indeed, the purpose was already fulfilled. I did not need to please everyone; I just wanted to get my message across. So I came up with my official tagline: “Designer with a purpose”.
I came back to my hotel room where my models and my special guests waited for me. We ate dinner outside, and then went to my co-designers to have a small victory party! I ended the day with a really happy heart, still feeling surreal! Another one from the bucket list has been ticked!
The Days After
Right after check-out, I met with a client and watched a movie to treat myself. I took a good rest. The following days were all about thanking everyone who supported me, looking for photos and videos of my segment, and going back to reality little by little. My friends from Sagada already saw the photos and videos thanks to social media! I am glad they liked and felt happy about the collection. They immediately shared it to their accounts! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
I know not everyone liked it. You can see it from the photographers who did not take snaps from my segment or from media who did not even remember it; maybe because it was different, wasn’t your usual eveningwear, but like what I’ve said, I made my collection for a purpose: to give tribute to the Igorots in Mt. Province, to celebrate Filipino ingenuity, to show that local fabrics can be turned into wearable pieces, and to fall inlove with the Philippines.
To Philippine Fashion Gala, thank you for giving me this chance to share my love for our culture. Sir Mike Tagle, thank you for taking a chance on a young and unknown fashion designer. Thank you for your trust.
To my mentor, Mr. Felipe de Leon Jr., thank you for guiding me on the way. Thank you for sharing to me resources that helped me build my collection.
To my parents, thank you for your unending support. For bringing me to the bus station, for assisting me while I sew the collection, for simply being there.
To my boyfriend, thank you for being my strength. Thank you for not allowing me to give up. Thank you for always reminding me that I can do it and that I have a big purpose.
To my friends and followers, especially to those who went to my show, thank you for showing your support and feeling proud for me.
To my co-designers, congratulations! Thank you for being my mini mentors. Especially to Jobert Cristobal, I learned a lot from you. :)
To the people of Sagada, thank you for supporting me in this collection and for helping me know more about your culture. Thank you for being very open and accommodating to me.
To God, “thank You” is not even enough. I have no words. You are simply the best. <3
I am hoping that I could still join more shows so I can share more about our cultures as well. This is just the start my journey. I learned a lot of lessons yet I still have a lot to discover. Watch out for my future shows!
Yna Mendez Couture: "Montañosa" Collection in Philippine Fashion Gala 2018: Lokal held last June 2, 2018 at Green Sun. My modern interpretation of the life and culture in Mt. Province, this collection is a tribute for the locals of Sagada, Mt. Province whose culture and stood the test of time despite years of modernization and colonization. The collection shows the beauty of the province's flora and vegetation, mountain ranges, and the beautiful Igorots. The main fabric, the handwoven fabric, was made by the weavers of Sagada Weaving 1968. Models walked barefooted to symbolize dignity and liberalization. The finale girl is the chieftain who exudes power. The modern version of Salidumay used in the show was arranged by Jer Cruz
Models: Rene Mefranum, Trinity Zamar, Vanessa Gremio, Emi Ventura, Alvi ela Cerna, Shey Condicion, Veronica Gualberto, Allynna Macalintal, Josh Wano, Trisha Duncan
Special thanks to Aranduque Family, Alwad Henry Akian, Lynn Dimiag and the rest of Sagada