Philippines’ First Ever PHx Fashion Conference caps off with dialog among 8 gov’t agencies

The first ever PHx Fashion Conference caps off with promising Fashion Ecosystem Dialog, gathering key representatives from eight government agencies to share their mandate, how they have forged connection with the fashion industry, and future plans and projects to address existing gaps.

Leading the dialog (from L-R), held at the Philippine Trade Training Center, are DOLE’s Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) Rep. Judaline Campo, DTI’s Philippine Trade Training Center – Global MSME Academy (PTTC-GMEA) Exec. Director Nestor Palabyab, DOST’s Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) Director Celia Elumba, Tribal Communities Association of the Philippines (TriCAP) Spokesperson Jennifer Sibug-Las, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Rep. Maria Roque, Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) Supervising Project Officer Carmen Lopez, Small Business Corporation (SB Corp) Acct. Officer Jennifer Hernandez, and DTI’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) Exec. Dir. Pauline Juan.

As government agencies have unique, different mandates, CITEM Exec. Director Juan said that “it will be helpful to go through every agency to know how they can move forward in the value chain”.

PHx Fashion Conference is a collaboration among the PHx team, PTTC-GMEA, and Fashion Design Council of the Philippines, aimed at helping to bring the business and creative sides of fashion to a global scale. The first edition of the conference particularly looked into the Japanese Market Access and has brought together some of the biggest names in the Philippine and Japanese fashion industry.

Over 90 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, fashion designers, and students participated in this 4-day conference, bringing with them the vision of entering the global business stage.

To help them translate this vision into reality, the conference included diverse sets of activities – panel discussions, creative talks, business talks, and workshops – on essential topics such as the present and future of Philippine fashion, Japanese and international markets, export costing and pricing, and running a fashion business in the current Philippine setting, among others.

Meanwhile, DTI Trade Promotions Group Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman challenged business and fashion key stakeholders to assist Filipino entrepreneurs in conquering local and international markets.

“We, Filipinos, are known for our creativity and unique ideas. It is vital that we help our designers and our MSMEs to penetrate the global market,“ he said.

Hence, Fashion Connect: A Reverse Trade Fair served as an avenue for 47 craftsmen, artisans, weavers, and local suppliers from the different regions of the country to showcase their skills, raw materials, and proudly Pinoy-made products. The total generated sales of Php 648, 900.00 says a lot about Philippine bountiful raw materials and cultural skills – we have all the resources and skilled workers that are just waiting to be tapped.

Exhibitors have also grown their network and connected with over 90 fashion designers to initiate designer-supplier relationship, and have acquired pieces of advice on product marketing, designing, and quality control thru the Business Matching.

For Mr. Lorino, a fashion designer, the Trade Fair and Business Matching provided an unparalleled chance for him to collaborate with the artisans. He said, “I got to develop ideas from the craftsmen and artisans that I get to meet from this exhibition. We got the chance to talk to artisans and curate a possible collaboration with them, and so this is a good and promising experience considering that for the first time, design talents and skilled craftsmen are involved.”

Likewise, a first-time exhibitor Ms. Del Mundo of Vilcraftyca Handicraft expressed her gratefulness, “Hindi ko po makakalimutan ang experience na ‘to dahil first time ko po sa ganitong fair at nakita ko po kung paano na-appreciate ang native products namin.”

The success of the first ever PHx Fashion Conference paved the way for the Philippine Trade Training Center – Global MSME Academy to identify the existing gap in PH fashion – limited training programs for the Lifestyle sector. With this in mind, it is hoped that more fashion business courses will be generated to help MSMEs, fashion designers, and budding entrepreneurs be globally competitive.