The designer experience in the Philippines is unique in that clients or wearers actually have a personal relationship or connection with creators of their garments. In pre-COVID times, clients would visit the atelier of their favorite designer, have a chat, collaborate on a new piece. Sometimes, client and creator would even step out for coffee or cocktails. This is high fashion in the Philippines—intimate, personal and perpetually imbued with affection. Clients are friends and vise versa. Fittings with designers are as special are the events themselves. In fact, the process of finishing your ensemble is, in itself, a special event.
Intrinsically, the local fashion landscape is anchored on craft and all things bespoke. Once in a while, a regarded designer would launch a ready-to-wear line, but never fast-fashion market. Pieces would consistently be limited and handcrafted. Transitioning to a digital realm has also been an ongoing conversation in amongst industry players, but it was only during the recent pandemic that it had become an inevitable and immediate prerequisite for moving forward into a new world order.