Together with his collaborators, photographer MJ Suayan brings forth the colorful and rich tapestry of Philippine culture and its bountiful resources to the international scene with Vogue Italia.
The Philippines is widely known for its rich resources—from minerals, textiles, to our ever-beguiling flora and fauna. Time and time again, we witness the raw beauty of our motherland being featured all over the globe. But every time the allure of our archipelago is put on the limelight, it never fails to mesmerize us all over again. That’s because we get to have another perspective on how we look at its grandeur—all thanks to the ingenuity of Filipino creatives.
Constantly on this creative pursuit is photographer MJ Suayan who started doing editorial projects by collaborating with Filipino designers who have distinct points-of-view. As he did more and more shoots showcasing his work on various platforms, Vogue Italia’s Sara Maino (famed for scouting emerging talents worldwide) saw his creations as promising and deserving of being published on their platform.
As the times are changing and with Vogue becoming more and more open to featuring not only of their own, but rather any talented creative out in the field, MJ Suayan has successfully landed on Vogue Italia for a digital feature of his works. Of course, part of his success is also the Filipino designers who collaborated with him creating such breathtaking pieces.
Recently, he was featured for the fourth time on Vogue Italia, he shed light on the historical and cultural roots of the Philippines. According to Vogue Italia, the photographs are reflective of “the roots [of the] Philippines [which] helps us understand the inspirations and influences of our culture on a new generation of designers who are gaining popularity in the local fashion scene.”
So, from the likes of Jinggay Serag, Ann Ong, Rei Escario, Datu Leo, Protacio Island Girl Ph, Charming Baldemor, Reya Floresca, Zarah Juan, Vito Selma, and Maco Custodio, these designers magnificently linked the spellbinding splendor of art, fashion, and culture.
“A colorful and rich tapestry such as the traditional fabric of indigenous communities emerges. The natural resources as well as the local raw materials in contact with the innate artistic inclination of the Filipino designers generate art forms even before fashion, giving voice to the exuberant talent of the country,” Vogue Italia wrote.
The Unexpected Dress
The thing about art is it never has boundaries as an artist is compelled to think and create outside the box. However, upon doing so, it must prove its essence; why using such a technique is necessary for the art. One of the photographs and creations that stood out the most was renowned furniture designer Vito Selma’s first-ever dress he designed.
A sculptural piece made solely from wood, the reason behind it is because working with wood his whole career, he still has yet to discover more techniques and the beauty that the material can showcase.
“This dress wasn’t designed with a shape in mind, nor to emphasize the material used, but as an idea to push the extents of how wood bends and moves,” Vito explains on his Instagram post. Hence, from what he normally incorporates when designing furniture, he also used the same technique as he created an unexpected dress.
From what was supposed to be only a stunning lamp, it evolved into a dress that truly lures you to go near and appreciate its form. After all, as he scaled the design to a larger size, the outer bands of wood encircle an inner wooden corset, woven together and then looping out to show an infinity of movement. In the long run, Vito explains that much like the wood manipulation, “sometimes you have to let loose, free your mind from everything you know, and let material and your hands guide you.”