Young fashion innovators showed what it looked like to wear outfits inspired by iconic landmarks and historical and renowned events that have helped shape Manila.
Coined as Batang Kalye, the sustainable and inclusive 35-piece collection was launched as the Prologue of Sinulid, the highly successful annual culminating show of the graduating students of the Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) Program of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.
Batang Kalye featured exquisite looks that exhibited the various facades and narratives of the country with the use of unconventional recycled materials such as paper, paper plates, supermarket boxes, plastics, straws, cellophane, single-use candy wrappers, masking tapes, ang pao, Chinese lanterns, tea bags, scraps of textiles and leather, rubber slices, linen and tulle, abaca and rattan, as well as metal, wires, radiographs, and LED strips.
The assortment included upcycled outfits that encapsulated the noteworthy architecture and interiors around the City of Manila: the stained glass windows of the chapel of St. Scholastica’s College, the shape of the ceilings of the National Museum of Natural History and its foyer of The Tree of Life, the Art Deco elegance of the Manila Metropolitan Theater, the renovated Jones Bridge, and the cantilevered edifice of the Philippine International Convention Center.
Other looks captured the dramatic contrast between the undulating beauty and the environmental issues of Manila Bay, the golden sunset that touched the arch of the Fort Santiago, the seamless weaving of the contemporary art and legacy of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the abundance of good luck in Chinatown Binondo, the neoclassical aesthetics of the Manila Central Post Office, and the red carpet and controversial story behind the Manila Film Center.
Ensembles that embodied the aerial view of Rizal Park, the old Manila night life of Ermita, the nostalgic sari-sari store tradition, the vibrant University Belt, the renowned pedestrian lanes of Recto Avenue and España Boulevard, and the remarkable craftsmanship, creativity, and resourcefulness of Filipinos also contributed to the assembly.
Batang Kalye likewise included dresses that narrated the rich history of the country, from remarkable events such as the Battle of Manila Bay and the Edsa Revolution to figures from the Ilustrados to the gwardiya sibil (civil guards).
FDM Program Chairperson Christine Benet shared that the design process behind the collection allowed the aspiring fashion designers to unravel their identity as designers and artists, while highlighting their organic approach that goes beyond the conventional interpretation of Filipino ingenuity.
“Our students are also stakeholders of the city given that Benilde is located in Manila and the expanded concept of Batang Kalye encompasses their day-to-day experiences—from their childhood to their ambitions,” elaborated Benet.
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