EXCLUSIVE: Rabiya Mateo’s Go-To Designer Ram Silva Creates A Filipiniana Collection

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Following the success of dressing up the reigning Miss Universe Philippines, Ram Silva is all set to make his mark in the local fashion scene.

Change is an inevitable concept waiting to happen every second, every minute and every hour so long as the world goes ’round. So whenever we say that change is coming, we know that already. And we heard this tagline nonstop during the 2016 national elections—every politician says that they will change the Philippines. But what some of us forgot to ask is will this so-called change make our society better or worse?

When Iloilo designer Ram Silva was conceptualizing his exclusive capsule collection for MEGA, his primary inspiration came from a very simple yet profound idea: his love for his country. “The collection represents my admiration and respect for Filipino women and our motherland. For me, this is symbolic of how the motherland endures even though she suffers at her ruthless children’s hands,”he explains. “I wanted to give attention to some of the inequalities that are suffered by my fellow Filipinos. Because in the Philippines, many are deprived of basic rights, such as free and equal access to education.”

An Artist’s Role

Artists help us to see the world from a new perspective. They make a record of the people, places, and events of their time and place. Regardless of their chosen medium—whether through painting, sculpture, or wearable art—they all share the same purpose: to create art that is beautiful, expressive, and political. While achieving this may be challenging, Ram Silva understood that this was his responsibility in society. That’s what he learned when he joined the MEGA Young Designer’s Competition (YDC).

MEGA gave me an opportunity to challenge myself that truly helped me bring out the fullest of my potential,” he humbly admits. “Because of this, I felt like a diamond ready to shine brighter after being exposed to pressure.” A few years after taking part in the prestigious nationwide competition, he slowly and surely made his mark in the local fashion scene. But more than showcasing his ingenious craftsmanship and talent, he didn’t forget to shine with a purpose.

“My role is to speak through art, to encourage through art. Art is a form of silent protest. It can be a weapon against all forms of oppression. It possesses the ability to express truth in a way that influences people for the better,” Ram Silva says. So, as he wanted to put his love for his nation front and center, he thought of no better way than to showcase this through Filipiniana’s traditional terno.

Revolving on the colors of the Philippine flag, each piece of his collection denotes an important value that Filipinos must ingrain in their minds. The blue terno symbolizes truth, peace and justice. The red hablon stands for patriotism and valor. The yellow patadyongrepresents liberty.

Ram Silva Rabiya Mateo

But the pièce de résistance of his entire collection is none other than the white terno. This served as his main canvas to write his message to his countrymen. It reads:

My art is my voice, and my voice cries out change through its fiery reds and its steely blues, its blinding whites, and its mesmerizing golds.

We stand so that our youth will still have a Philippines that is worth loving.

Loving means not being afraid to call out, criticize, and correct because true love is caring enough to take action.

I weep for our motherland who suffers at the hands of her own ruthless children.

Even on its darkest days, ravaged by the winds of devastation and disaster, I am proud to be a Filipino.

When the skies weep, and the lands shudder, when her sons and daughters betray her, our motherland still endures.

I am an artist, not a soldier, but I love the Philippines. I am willing to fight for her

Ram Silva Rabiya Mateo

According to Ram Silva, “when you accomplish something that you’ve spent your entire life trying to create, you start looking at everything else you thought you could do with fresher eyes. Then you develop a yawning hunger to make meaningful things happen because of this.” After all, this is what a Ram Silva woman—like Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo—is all about: she knows who she is, she loves herself, and lastly, she honors diversity and equality.