Davao fashion designers slam Secretary Teo on Miss Universe gown design

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Dec) – A group of homegrown designers blasted Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo for brushing them aside in designing the gowns of the Miss Universe contestants during its fashion show here that is supposed to feature “Mindanao fabrics and tapestry.”

Davao Fashion and Design Council Inc. immediate past president Dodgie Batu, in a press conference on Wednesday, said that they are not taking lightly what appeared to be an act of excluding them in making the gowns to be worn by the Miss Universe contestants.

He maintained that the pool of homegrown designers know better the culture of Mindanao and that they should be given the chance to showcase their outputs.

“I think we have to talk to the group again to see what we will do. We are not taking this lightly. We wanna be heard. The sentiment of the group, with their theme showcasing Mindanao fabrics and tapestry, it is best a Mindanawon designer will be the one to showcase,” Batu said.

He added that they were only informed that their participation to the Miss Universe will be limited to designing the costumes of the local models for the pre-fashion show event.

“They want us to be a bit player in the event,” Batu lamented.

He said they were disappointed when he learned that fashion designer Rene Salud will be doing all the designs for the contestants.

“We are rooted to our culture. Hindi naman tipong nakabili ka lang ng isang Mindanao fabric and make it as a dress, you are a Mindanawon. Mas kultura natin ito, dapat tayo ang magkukwento,” he said.

Council honorary member Alfonso L. Guinoo, who is dubbed as the “Mindanao fashion czar,” said that he was perplexed by the reaction of Secretary Teo when he informed her of the local fashion group’s sentiments.

“The way I understand it, we are being excluded. Why did this thing has to happen samantalang we are capable of doing things in Davao? Besides, Wanda is from Davao, the President is from Davao,” he said. Guinoo added he will get in touch with Wanda to see what is happening.

He said that he does not believe the secretary who said she had no hand in choosing the artists who will create the gowns, when in fact she sits on top of the organizing committee.

“That’s impossible because you are secretary of tourism, bakit hindi mo kami i-protect. The way I looked at it, Wanda and Rene Salud, who are good friends, nag-usap sila. Wanda commissioned Rene Salud to do the dresses to be worn by Miss Universe [contestants] here in Davao. Ayaw ko, bakit ganun?” he said.

The fashion show for 40 Miss Universe contestants will be held at the SMX Convention Center Davao.

Organizers have yet to finalize the schedule but it will be between January 15 and 19, 2017, more than a week earlier of the coronation night on January 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)