Miss Universe fashion show to push through in Davao City on Jan. 19

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 December) — After half a day of consultation with Davao fashion designers on Saturday, the Department of Tourism announced it would push through with the Miss Universe fashion show in Davao that it cancelled days ago.

“Tuloy ang Mindanao Tapestry Show sa Davao City!” Tourism undersecretary Kat de Castro posted on Facebook Saturday noon. De Castro said she was tasked by Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo to fly to Davao City to look into the concerns of the disgruntled designers.

“Lahat naman ay nadadaan sa mabuting usapan. A few days ago, I decided to cancel the Davao leg of Miss Universe. This was because the parties involved would not compromise at that time. But after a long conversation with my boss, DOT Secretary Wanda Teo (who is a Davaoeña herself), she decided to push through with it because that’s how much she loves Davao and its people,” de Castro said.

“I was asked to fly to Davao City and talk to the upset designers. After a couple of hours, we were able to sort things out. Mabuhay ang mga designers ng Davao City!!!” she announced.

The candidates of the 65th Miss Universe taking ‘selfie’ at the Rizal Park noon of December 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of www.tourism.gov.ph

The consultation happened on Saturday morning and was attended by a total of 22 fashion designers — those affiliated wit the Davao Fashion and Design Council Foundation, Inc. (DFDCFI) and independent and young designers. It was also attended by DOT XI regional director Roberto Alabado III.

Emi Englis, renowed Davao fashion designer and educator, said Davao designers, led by veteran designer Alfonso “Boy” Guinoo, were finally given a significant number of Miss Universe candidates to dress up for the Davao fashion show.

Englis sits as one of the 12 council members of DFDCFI.

“The number of designers will be selected yet by the Miss Universe organizing committee after evaluation of credentials and bodies of work,” Englis said.

Englis added that there will be 40 pageant candidates and Davao is rooting to dress up at least half of this number.

But this will depend on the number of designers to be accredited by the organizers.

Nevertheless, every designer–including those young in the field–will still have the chance to participate in related Miss Universe events in Davao.

“Apart from the fashion show, there will also be an even equitable opportunity to accommodate more designers for a special show at the same venue featuring more local and regional designers. The details could not be released yet, not until the approval of the organizers,” Englis said.

Last December 14, DFDCFI expressed in a statement its disappointment at DOT for the “explicit disregard of local Davao-based and Mindanaon designers, in general, at the January 19th event of Miss Universe in SMX Convention Center.”

“Call it proper and befitting, the Mindanaoan designers have all the rights and benefits to best represent the distinctive fashion and style of Mindanao, in the first place.

“Adding insult to an injury, is the proposal of the committee to ask local designers in dressing up local models instead during the pre-show cocktails of the main event ironically featuring a non-Mindanaon designer, Renee Salud, himself,” the group said.

This caused DOT to cancel the fashion show to avoid further controversies.

Englis said Saturday’s consultation was a “good meeting” that generated “good insights.”

“At least now everything is cleared already,” he said.

There are more than 50 fashion designers in Davao City. There is also a growing interest in the field, mainly spurred by local fashion schools and shows mounted by both the government and the private sector.  (Jesse Pizarro Boga / MindaNews)