Bb. Pilipinas goes green

SOME of the Bb. Pilipinas candidates wearing sustainable fashion. — BBPILIPINAS OFFICIAL WEBSITE

ALL 40 candidates of the 2024 edition of Bb. Pilipinas, as well as past crowned beauty queens, went on the runway for a fashion show at Gateway Mall 2’s Quantum Skyview on May 16. For the “girls,” walking on the runway is just another Thursday, but not for this fashion show: Reinvent showcased clothes made sustainably.

Eleven designers took on the task of dressing the contestants, and then some. The clothing was by Jean Alta, Don Cristobal, Russ Cuevas, Adam Balasa, James O’Briant, Rannel Espaldon, Doms Abustan, Uly Marquez, Mark Combe, and Allan Laserna. All the contestants wore accessories by Christopher Munar.

Jean Alta created a collection made with roughly woven strips of stiff material that gave the dresses some body. Don Cristobal’s collection was made of mismatched patches of cloth, coming together for more modern Filipiniana looks. Russ Cuevas did the same, but with more uniform textiles (think denim or gingham).

Mr. Balasa’s clothes were decorated with pleated fabric, making the outfits look fresh. Mr. O’Briant’s clothes took on an earthy look with woven natural materials and traditional beadwork. Mr. Espaldon’s and Mr. Abustan’s designs, meanwhile, express summer with vibrant colors and native textiles.

Mr. Marquez combined white and gold for his outfits, while Mark Combe seemed to channel shipwrecks with his torn-up clothes looking as if they had just come out of the water. Finally, Mr. Laserna cleansed the palate with all-white outfits and chic straw hats.

Former beauty queens joined the 40 hopefuls on the runway, including Bb. Pilipinas International 2022 Nicole Borromeo and Bb. Pilipinas International Hannah Arnold. The show had its wrinkles: the lights and music turned off near the finale of the show, when the candidates should have been making their final walk while the Bb. Pilipinas theme song by SB19 played in the background. The hair and makeup teams and the girls’ fans saved the day by singing the theme song themselves.

PERSONAL SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICESAnna Lakrini, last year’s Bb. Pilipinas Globe (who was 2nd Runner-up at the global competition) told media about her own sustainability practices. “Wherever I go, close friends of mine know that I always bring my own reusable straws.” Wearing a gown made of deconstructed jeans by Mr. Cuevas, she said, “I also buy secondhand, actually. And you never notice! These clothes are not bad just because they (have been) worn before.

“I don’t think it’s only important for pageants,” she said about sustainability, which has hit more mainstream runways in the past few years. “We’re living in one world, one Earth, and we only have to protect that. We have to reinvent ourselves.”

Meanwhile, Angelica Lopez, last year’s Bb. Pilipinas International who is set to compete in Japan later this year, takes a more personal stance with sustainability. Her hometown, after all, is in the biodiversity center that is Palawan. Since she was a teenager, she has been participating in environmental seminars, segregating her trash, planting trees, and doing coastal cleanups. “Our province is one of the best islands in the world. We get our source of income from our tourists as well. So, if we do not take good care of our environment, it will really affect our economy,” she said.

“I believe that it’s our moral responsibility as humans to really practice sustainability,” she said. — Joseph L. Garcia