Kandama’s “The Emancipation of Maria” to showcase an empowered Filipino woman at NY Fashion Week

by Troi Santos

Victor Mari C. Baguilat Jr.’s portfolio of his designs modeled by celebrities | Photo via Kandama

NEW YORK – Victor Mari C. Baguilat Jr., CEO and Creative Director of Kandama Social Enterprise, will launch his latest collection, “The Emancipation of Maria Clara,” at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW). This collection will feature a dynamic fashion experience with other talented designers at the Rise NYFW at Studio Arte on 265 West 37th Street in Manhattan.

Poster via Kandama

Kandama is a social enterprise incubated under the Young Social Entrepreneurs Program of the Singapore International Foundation in 2016. Its mission includes providing economic opportunities to indigenous women, preserving the tradition of handloom weaving, and helping the community protect the environment that sustains the rice terraces, specifically in Julongan village in Kiangan, Ifugao.

Victor Mari Baguilat Jr.’s portfolio of his designs modeled by celebrities | Poster via Kandama

Kandama applies commercial strategies to make its social impact sustainable. As such, Baguilat says, it co-creates with the weavers in making artisanal garments that appeal to the global market. Kandama connects the weavers to the global market by participating in trade shows and by showcasing its products in fashion shows in New York, Paris, Melbourne, and Hong Kong, among many others.

Victor Baguilat Jr. | Contributed Photo
Baguila’s Portfolio featuring Indigenous collection | Contributed Photo

Kandama’s latest collection pays homage to the journey of the Filipino woman who has been adapting to the changes necessary for her to claim her prominent role in society and the world as opposed to the original Maria Clara archetype, a myth perpetuated by the Spaniards to subjugate strong, powerful women who existed before they colonized the Philippines.

According to Baguilat, by showcasing “The Emancipation of Maria Clara” collection at the NYFW, Kandama gets to share on a global platform their unique point of view of “an indigenous cultural enterprise of what an empowered Filipino woman looks like, in the board room, the bedroom and everything in between.”

Victor Baguilat Jr. is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer featured in Vogue Italia. His works were featured in New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, Melbourne Fashion Week, and several global fashion events. He was nominated as International Designer of the Year at the International Indigenous Arts and Fashion Awards in Toronto, Canada, in 2020.

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