Gabbie Sarenas collection showcases multicultural modern fashion, inspired by Philippine tradition

by Elizabeth Reymundo, ABS-CBN News


VANCOUVER, CANADA — Modern takes on Philippine tradition and heritage graced the runway at the recently-concluded fashion week in Vancouver.

Over 80 designers from Canada and around the world showcased their fall/winter collection at the 2017 Vancouver Fashion Week.

Celebrating multiculturalism and emerging talent, a variety of designs stood out during the week-long event.

Among them were designs by Gabbie Sarenas.

Vancouver fashion bloggers Nancy Deol and Lexi Dien talked with Sarenas at the event.

“This does not compare to anything that we’ve seen. We’re gonna be honest with you, this is definitely one of our favorite collections,” said Deol.

“I love how she focuses on her community. There’s a story behind her collection. That’s what’s really important,” agreed Dien. “We also wanted to explore the fabric, and explore the story behind the prayers that are on the bags; the prayers that are embroidered on a lot of the fabrics.”

Manila-based Gabbie Sarenas made her debut as a fashion designer just last year — and her first collection, called Pintuho, already marked her as a rising designer to watch.

This year, her Pagtánom collection pays homage to the culture and rituals of planting rice, while championing Philippine artisanship.

“Ang ginamit namin is Philippine cotton woven by Bontok weavers,” she said. “It’s thicker fabric kaya maganda ang weave niya. And it’s so small, it’s only a 19-inch loom. Secondly, we used piña shifu from kalibo, aklan, and then lastly, hand-sewing techniques, so hindi siya perfect.”

Gabbie’s designs always aim to introduce and re-introduce culture, morphing them into something that is contemporary for everybody to wear.

“The structures of the pieces are just absolutely amazing,” Dien noted. “They’re very symmetrical, and they look like they’re very easy to wear in any situation.”

Vancouver’s fashionistas lauded the romantic and whimsical skirts, voluminous sleeves and clean lines that were prominently displayed on the runway.

Features that promote Filipino identity, history and heritage.

“Very Filipino… that this farmer outfit can mesh well together with fashion, which is very incredible,” said model Shermaine de Ramos.

“Our culture is so rich, it’s very rich,” Sarenas said. “So, there’s so much inspiration for that. I think it’s high time that we use those in a contemporary manner, so that we think of the future as well.”

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