Ivatan-inspired fashion reaps international
award for young designer
(from Bandillo Batanes)
In July 31 1999, Ignacio Loyola won for his outstanding design in the
local finals of the Sminorff Fashion Awards. From there, he travelled
from Hong Kong to represent the Philippines in the Sminorff Fashion Awards
International competition. And of course, he won - besting over 29 participating
He is not only the first Filipino to win the award, but also the first
Asian ever to grab the prize. Aside from the cash prize of 10,000 pounds,
he also garnered a full scholarship to the Central Saint Martins School
of Arts and Design in London where he likes to Givenchy's Alexander McQueen
and Chloe's Stella McCarthy studied.
And what outstanding masterpiece won for Ignacio Loyola such accolades
from international fashion community? Why, a vakul-inspired jacket, paired
with a skirt of a paper and a corset of a metal coils!
His winning entries are inspired by this year's theme: virtual nature.
The first one was entire made of paper and indigenous materials. The skirt
is 100% paper with a sinamay lining underneath. The provocative corset
was of glue-gunned paper with metal coils underneath to make the material
stiff. Finally, the jacket made of vakul
material tied to one another, each strand forming the jacket's body with
Batanes grass to add accent. The same grass material was used to make
a bag as an accessory.
Ignacio was actually craftsman by profession. He loves making handicrafts
from natural materials. These he collects in buying sprees all over the
country and sells them in his native town in Carmona, Cavite. Before he
got to handicrafts, he was an interior designer teaching at the Far Eastern
University, a photographer, a visual merchandiser, and a graphic artist.
"I love indigenous materials," he says. " I love collecting things from
Banawe and Batanes, even junk
they throw away because these materials are too old. The like the old
effect. I am fascinated with how beautiful their culture is as well. Batanes
is isolated, so (the culture) is very intact. They don't waste any thing.
And I grew up like that. My Dad is a mechanic and he would make cabinets
out of a car water tanks. He made ashtrays out of kaldero. And he always
picked up things from the mag-bo-bote. Our house looked like a junk shop.
But his lesson to us was that we always had to make the most of what we
had. There was always an alternative rather than spending too much. My
Dad was very artistic, he just didn't know it.
Of his design, Ignacio describes: "Nothing was sewn here. Everything was
made by hands. The judges went crazy when they so my entries. They couldn't
believe the amount of work I put into it. More than the design, the judges
said it was the medium I used. They said that more than the design, it
was the passion I had and the will to make something almost impossible
to do. They said I had limitless imagination, energy and unusual mind.
They called it magic. That was very flattering."
The judges included internationally-renowned fashion designers Central
Saint Martins graduate Antonio Berardi, embroidery and beading specialist
Mathew Williamson, 1994 British Designer of the year John Rocha, Japanese
street wear veteran Michiko Koshino, Diesel's Paul Poole, and famous model
Jodie Kidd, a favourite of photographers and designers world-wide.
"I still can not believe it, I went blank," smiles Ignacio. "I really
wasn't expecting to win. The other entries were very nice. And they really
spent for the competition because their fabrics seemed so expensive. I
didn't know anything technical about fashion. I have no background in
whatsoever fashion. I just tried my luck and submitted a design." As the
saying goes: now, all that is history.
Promote the country, promote the Philippine materials and local talent:
that is what Ignacio Loyola did. He is walking proof that there are still
many young, talented artists out there. You need not be an expert in your
field to do your best. Just like Ignacio, all you need is great passion
and far-reaching creativity.