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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fashion Foreplay

Fashion Foreplay

Fashion has always been a definition of a people’s culture, and a reflection of one’s self. It has been the topic of controversy, and it has, to some extent, brought people together. Fashion is one of the biggest industries in the world, but it is also one of the most popular passions. However, in one key city down south, fashion is relatively young. Fashion choices are somewhat limited and students and yuppies still stick to the fashion super-brands that offer a million and one pieces of the same design.

So it is not surprising that the fashion-forward Davaoeno has an un-fed appetite for true fashion; fashion that isn’t commercial nor mainstream; fashion that is organic, not copied; fashion that can truly make a statement and is a reflection of one’s self, or his/her current mood. To get their fashion fix Davaoeno fashionistas shop, and even study, in other cities. However, that does not have to be the case anymore.

Fashion 101

October 16, 2009 marked the opening of Davao’s first fashion school: the Fashion Institute of Design and Arts (FIDA). They hosted a cocktail party, attended by a mix of Davao glitterati and the who’s who of the local fashion industry, where they unveiled their line-up of workshops and guest instructors to give the Davao crowd a taste of things to come.

They unveiled several workshops to cater to all fashionistas, no matter which field of fashion they wanted to explore. From fashion illustration (instructed by Danilo Franco), Pattern Drafting (with Aries Lagat, Winner, Project runway Philippines season 1), and Modeling (with Marina Benipayo) to Fashion Business workshops and even Children’s Art Days; FIDA has got all your fashion cravings covered! And if you decide to pursue fashion education full-time, FIDA plans top offer short courses, and vocational fashion courses by next year.

Unlike most fashion schools in the country, FIDA encourages students to concentrate on their studies, instead of indulging in many social events and parties. And since it is located right in the middle of Juna Subdivision, FIDA (which used to be a hose and was made-over a month before the opening) is free from the hustle, bustle, and distraction of the city; making it an ideal spot for the fashionista who is truly dedicated to learning the ins and outs of fashion.

The brainchild of Christine Munda, a seasoned fashion instructor who has taught in some of the more important fashion schools in the country, and her husband, Gerry Munda, a retired banker, FIDA does not only cater to the creative side of fashion, but also teaches fashionistas the business side of it. Aimed at inspiring Davaoenos to truly immerse themselves in all facets of fashion, FIDA is slowly starting a fashion revolution in this little city down south.

Fashion Monstrosity

In a city where t-shirts and jeans reign supreme, and being too indulgent with fashion experimentation is not applauded, people find other ways to stand out and make a statement. And when Davaoenos look for bags that are easy on the budget, functional, and gloriously trendy, only one brand comes to mind: Fashion Monster.

Fashion Monster started as an online shop created by two friends in their early twenties. They sold bags that were big enough to carry school essentials while being stylish and attention-grabbing; and you do not even have to worry about seeing other people using the same bag as you, because they only release a limited number of bags per style.

They first released Voodoo Bags, which are huge messenger bags that come in several candy colors like Hot Pink, Lemon Yellow and Cherry Red; and come with free hand-made Voodoo key chains in contrasting colors that are too cute to resist! These bags are favorites among students because they retail at 650 pesos, inclusive of shipping, and are big enough to carry all their school essentials. Much to the surprise of the fashionable duo, their Voodoo bags sold like pancakes at their online shop:

Soon after realizing the potential of their gorgeous bags, the duo behind Fashion Monster started joining bazaars and consigned several shops to sell their products. With a clientele that reaches Manila, Cebu, General Santos, Cotabato, Iligan, Loaog, Baguio, Cavite and even, Jolo; Fashion Monster has proven to have mass appeal, while remaining to be quirky and unique.

Now, Fashion Monster has added several different lines to their already impressive roster like their Laptop Bags that are named after fashion Icons like Iman, Tyra, Twiggy and Aerosmith; their Lollipops (design-it-yourself laptop bags) ; the VoodooBots (robot-looking messenger bags); and their I Hate Plastic Bags (messenger bags that look like plastic) among others.

Fashion Monster manages to merge street-fashion, a preppy sensibility, and bubblegum playfulness into high-quality, budget-friendly, products that are hard to come by anywhere else. This type of monster is definitely welcome in any closet… or a fashionista’s shoulder.