With an inherent creativity and ingenuity, these Filipino fashion designers and collectives are coming together with relief efforts to aid Covid-19 affected communities.
In a time of crisis, one of the many perceived fears, especially when framed with what remains to be an unclear and well, currently non-existent plan to see this healthcare pandemic through, is how long the spirit of giving and generosity will sustain itself. While everyone is doing everything they can to usurp the onslaught of COVID-19 and its effects on mankind, extending help when and where necessary from the limits of their capabilities and capacities, there will come a time when the strain of the situation will manifest itself in what is called the donor fatigue. A normal occurrence in philanthropic and humanitarian efforts, this exhaustion exists for many different reasons, one of them being a depletion of resources and spirit in the face of an ongoing threat that shows no end in sight.
As we are situated in an unparalleled period of our lives, it is understandable where everyone’s limits lie, especially that we are all affected by pandemic in various degrees. However, even with the unceasing outbreak, it appears that the magnanimity of the people are showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, a little over a month since the world collectively strapped up to face COVID-19, the help that is being funnelled to many worthy causes, including relief efforts for the benefits of healthcare workers, essential front liners, and displaced employees and communities have multiplied exponentially.
The oft-used phrase, “every little help counts,” gets thrown a lot, but it couldn’t be any more true these days, what with virtually everyone trying their very best to give to whatever fund drive or relief effort they respond to. Locally, this spirit of bayanihan is felt in swelling and surging waves, with many individuals and collectives mobilizing their advocacies and actions into tangible relief. Even for a slice of society that is often relegated as frivolous, fashion has stepped up to the plate, using all its resources to aid the front lines with their skills. Almost immediately, almost all brands and designers have shifted their productions into making PPEs and face masks for healthcare workers. Meanwhile, other creative have optimized their talents and sold their wares for funds to produce protective gear or feed and fund affected families and communities.
Sure, the COVID-19 crisis has destroyed the very world we once knew, but in its path of destruction, it has revealed a new order, one that anchors itself of the tenacious and indefatigable human spirit that will persist and endure no matter what. As we continue all means necessary to flatten the curve and to curb the crisis, these local fashion initiatives and relief efforts are doing their part in seeing this pandemic through, one painting, pre-loved sale, and print at a time.
For those familiar with the work of fashion designer Jeffrey Rogador, his affinity for the bold and graphic is always well represented in his collections. Whether it is an optical feast of lines and primary colors for an urban offering, a quirky splash of human doodles on signature streetwear silhouettes, or a splash of bright and happily infectious monster-like animations on re-purposed staples, there is always something distinctly artistic about his fashion interpretations. In fact, when he isn’t designing a collection or dreaming up costumes for dance companies abroad, Jeffrey Rogador is painting on his free time, which has already gained a cult following to date.
Not one to just take things sitting down, even in a time of global crisis, Jeffrey Rogador is enacting a project of solidarity for COVID-19-related relief efforts. In a series he calls Art For Help, the designer is selling his paintings to raise funds for the production of lab gowns, scrub suits, and face masks to be donated to hospitals and medical front liners. Striking visual pieces from his capsule collection such as Congestion, Dream Weavers, and even from newer efforts including Breakfast: 5:37 AM, which used coffee, tea, and cigarettes, and the inspiring, Power Of A Woman, are available for sale on his Instagram page. “Every little help counts,” says Jeffrey Rogador of this passion project. “The more we can make, the more we can help.”
A sketch from eponymous designer Rajo Laurel, an evocative work of art from Tokwa Penaflorida, or a dress and an accessory from Mia Arcenas and Floreia respectively, these are just some of the items you can shop for at Courage Cebu. Spearheaded by Divine Lee Go, the fundraising relief effort has assembled some of the most illustrious names in fashion from all corners of the country in order to pool resources to help provide the right medical protective equipment for front liners, as well as provide food, vitamins, and other essentials for those infected, affected, and dedicated to flattening the curve in the Visayas area.
What started out as a drive in Cebu has quickly grown, now reaching out to communities in Bohol and Dumaguete, thanks of course to the overwhelming support the undertaking has received from some of the best in Filipino fashion. In fact, some offerings that go up for sale are swiftly sold out mere moments from posting such as the evocative artworks of Mark Nicdao and illustrator Pete Rich. Other artists selling their works, with 50% of the proceeds going to Courage Cebu include OJ Hofer, Cheena Abellon, Francis Sollano, and Uchimura Mona.
For more information on how to help, visit Courage Cebu on Facebook, Instagram, and even on their GoGetFunding page, where they have currently raised P631,289 on top of the P1,758,414,86 raised offline through their efforts.
In a more proactive effort to curb the excess that fashion generates, Vestido Manila has taken a more circular approach to the proliferation by renting out some of the most stunning pieces by local and international brands and designers through its website. However, in light of the crisis the country and the rest of the world is going through, the fashion service is temporarily suspending its rental operations to focus efforts on #FashionForOthers, an initiative that allows them to continue their goal of supporting style sustainability, extending the lifeline of clothing, and this time, give back in the process.
With its curated closet, featuring pre-loved pieces from friends and fashion designers with good hearts and even greater style, such as head honcho Pam Quiñones, Steph Kienle-Gonzalez, Martin Bautista, and Pia Wurtzbach, Vestido Manila has come up with an online benefit sale where 100% of its proceeds goes to your chosen beneficiary partner such as Moment Group’s Project Nourish, which provides 1500+ packed meals a day for medical teams, construction workers in emergency quarantine facility construction sites, and quarantined patients); Rajo Laurel Group, which manufactures PPEs for medical front liners and volunteers; and PAGASA (People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action), which provides survival packs for families in communities that have lost their livelihood. So, more than just the joy of owning a dripping in gold Neric Beltran gown, a Chloe top with gold detail, or a dove gray gathered Robert Cavalli dress, it is the incomparable fact that you have helped someone in need during this harrowing time that makes this process and relief effort infinitely fulfilling.
Prints For A Cause
While temporarily on hold pending the regulation of all fundraising activities in the Philippines by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Onin Lorente’s curated effort christened Prints For A Cause is still something worth mentioning, especially in a time when every bit of relief effort counts. Over the time it has been made public, it has since generated P135,800 in an earlier drive, which was supplemented with P75,778 from Prints For A Cause for the benefit of Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), one of the biggest public hospitals in the region that has received an overwhelming number of COVID-19 cases, as well as Balibago Polyclinic Hospital, Santa Rosa Community Hospital, and Office of the Vice President’s Kaya Natin movement.
Proving that a lot can be done even within the perimeters of the enhanced community quarantine, Prints For A Cause has crossed the borders, albeit virtually, to source the works from amazing Filipino artists around the country and the globe. Apart from his own fashion photography, other artists in the roster include Alvin Rodriguez (oil painting portraits); Anica Qorban A. de Vera (Mixed Media Child Art), Camera Pasapasa (Analog Photography Club), Earl Concepcion (Pencil and Pen Drawing), Franz N (Travel in Film), Jenny Peñas (Still life on Medium Format Film), Jude Macasinag (Fashion Design and Illustration), Lesley Mobo (Fashion Design and Illustration), Micah “Meeka” Hilotin (Soil Painting), MJ Suayan (Mixed Media), Nixon Marquez (Handmade and Digital Collage), Onin Lorente (Fashion Photography), Ma. Pamela O. Aguilar (Youth Digital Art and Traditional Cartooning), Path Ways (Architectural Photography), Rafe Totengco (Digital Painting), Verity Clio (Watercolor Painting), Wado (Film Photography), Wika Nadira (Isolated Landscapes Digital), with links to their individual portfolios for a more immersive discovery of bright and bursting creative talent. “Prints for a Cause will be back, promises Onin Lorente in a Facebook post, before thanking everyone who has helped in this relief effort thus far. “Thank you to all our friends, supporters, donors, fellow artists,” he says.
Prints For A Cause can be accessed through its website.