Saturday, March 19, 2011

...the green fashionista

Fashionista with green conscience

Once in a lifetime you meet women of substance whose contribution to the global society has such an impact on all levels of the economic echelon. On March 15, 2011, Philippine’s environmental fashion guru Dita Sandico Ong presented her latest runway collection of Filipiniana dressing at the Philippine Center located at the heart of New York’s elite fashion district, Fifth Avenue.

It was a delightful fete to New Yorkers who are tired of the dreary winter, a green showcase of our home-grown pineapple and banana fiber hand-woven into elegant paru-paro (butterfly) wraps, her trademark of modernized Philippine fashion. Spanning 25 years in her ingenious craft, Dita Sandico Ong is a household name in the exclusive Makati City villages, and among dignitaries wearing her famous banana linen and rayon wraps.

A foremost advocate of environmental conservation, Dita owes her success to her tribal weavers, from whom she continues to draw inspiration.

“Art is about weaving, weaving the untold lives of our tribal communities, our cultural link to the past so that we can pass it on to the future generations. The use of banana fiber (abaca) can help women and prevent them from migrating to foreign lands, particularly in these times,” quipped Dita.

Her interest in tribal communities started 40 years ago when her father used to take her as a little girl to travel to the Mangyan villages of Mindoro. Today she found herself working with the Hanunuo tribe from the distant Bulalacao. Her vision is to set up weaving centers and eco-cultural villages in Oriental Mindoro, Ilocos Sur and Catanduanes.

Through her work, Dita champions the cause for environmental consciousness, calling on everyone to be sensitive to what we can do. In this global launch, she adopted the theme GREEN, symbolic of planting seeds.

Fortunately for Dita, her parents sent her for professional training at Tobe Coburn in New York to study merchandising. Her mother who was then a fashion merchandiser at C.O.D. Manila, served as her mentor. Aside from her own clothing company, Cache Apparels, Dita works as Fiber Consultant for the Center of International Trade Missions (CITEM) which has showcased The Ten Best Fiber Producing Companies in the Tokyo International Gift Show 2010 in Tokyo, Japan.

Hosting the green fashion show is Madame Fe Cabactulan, wife of Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, our Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Her exclusive guest list included the spouses of the United Nations ambassadors, community leaders, guest of honor Loida Nicolas Lewis, and the A-list of Consulate General of New York led by newly appointed Consul General and Mrs. Mario delos Reyes De Leon.

The Philippine Center auditorium was transformed into an haute couture fashion stage, preceded by an excerpt from a one act opera composed by Carmela Buencamino Sinco, Raya and Sagin, based on a myth of the origin of the banana. The featured story of a forbidden love between human and spirit was rendered by Victoria Wefer, soprano and Gregory McDonald, tenor. Miguel Braganza directed and choreographed the show featuring professional models, courtesy of Emmanuelle Modeling Agency, with some dignitaries who themselves strutted the catwalk. It was a most welcome respite, so timely as we approach the lively springtime.

No comments:

Post a Comment