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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Filipino designer tackles toxic waste in collection presented in Japan

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What would the future look like if we do not address our environmental issues?

Experimental fashion designer Kelvin Morales

Experimental fashion designer Kelvin Morales showcased future environmental dystopia in his debut collection in Tokyo, Japan.

Inspired by the genetical deformations caused by toxic chemical exposure, Morales, known for his fascination with peculiar concepts and exploratory design processes, translated the threats of the current environmental issues into futuristic tailoring and semi-rugged ensembles. 

Dubbed as Hazard Blue, the 45-piece series features modern barong Tagalog, denim jackets, hand-dyed jeans, and pleated water-repellent top and pants with handmade patchworks, prints, and his signature embroideries to symbolize and depict the mush waters and floating plastic bags and crushed bottles.

“My collections are always connected with human and evolution,” he shared, “and I want to remind the people that our future is going to be a dystopia if we continue being careless in our actions.”

Denim jacket with embroidered patchworks

Morales, who formally honed his skills under the Fashion Design and Merchandising Program of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, utilized the endless possibilities of fabric manipulation and took advantage of old and new technologies such as tie-dye and digital printing. 

“I focused on developing a textile design that will bring awareness and translate the urgency of the current crisis,” he said. “I just want to bring light to the toxic waste and pollution, and I want us to be more conscious of our choices and really think about our future five, 10, 50 years from now.”

Hazard Blue is Morales’ culminating collection as one of the eight Filipino labels in the #PHxTokyo showroom incubation program of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

Embroidered plastic bottles barong and water-repellent pleated pants

Together with other participating designers, he underwent group and one-on-one mentorship sessions with fashion consultant Tetta Ortiz-Matera and Japan-based showroom H3O Fashion Bureau’s Jason Lee Coates and Hirohito Suzuki to assist him in curating and introducing his brand in the fashion capital of Asia.

“The program shows how Filipino artistry and creativity can be brought internationally,” he beamed. “The lockdowns made it really hard to produce a collection, from sourcing to production process, but we are lucky enough that we were chosen to showcase our brands and our works in Tokyo because the Japanese market is hard to penetrate.”

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