As part of its online cultural activities and the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW), a virtual fashion show entitled, “Empowering the Filipino Women Through Fashion,” was launched on 25 November 2020 featuring the Filipiniana collection of Filipino fashion designer Lionell Christian Lanuzo. Of special interest were the Philippine indigenous raw materials sourced from women entrepreneurs, and the contribution of Filipino women seamstress in crafting the gowns.
“I commend Mr. Lanuzo for promoting the use of Philippine indigenous raw materials in his designs, sourcing these from Filipino women entrepreneurs and employing women seamstresses in crafting his gowns. I wish to emphasize that employed women contribute to the well-being of the family and the progress of the society. It is a given fact that socially and economically empowered women result in reduction in domestic violence,” Philippine Consul General to Frankfurt Evelyn D. Austria-Garcia said.
The virtual fashion show featured Mr. Lanuzo’s meticulously-designed Filipino dress terno and the traditional men’s barong tagalog made up of indigenous materials such as banig, t’nalak, capiz, sigay, beads, and pearls. These indigenous materials were sourced from Filipino women entrepreneurs from the textile and handicraft shops of Ifugao, Cebu, and Mindanao, while Filipino seamstress from Milan and Pampanga assisted him in crafting the gowns.
The virtual event highlighted the process of bringing value to local materials, which in turn empowers Filipino women by giving them a source of income and an opportunity to be part of the fashion industry. It also helped raise awareness on the contribution to the fashion industry of “shell workers” in many of the Philippines’ coastal areas. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Coastal Resource Management Project, they are comprised predominantly of women in their 40s who gather and clean raw shells, make shellcraft items and sell them in shops. Some of the gowns featured online are also currently on display at the Consulate’s exhibition area during the Campaign period from 25 November to 12 December 2020.