Presidential designer JC Buendia is the new president of the Fashion Design Council of the Philippines

Fashion designer JC Buendia, now best known for designing the Barong Tagalog President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III wore to his inauguration on June 30, was declared the new president of the Fashion Design Council of the Philippines (FDCP) in elections held July 8 at the School for the Fashion and the Arts (SOFA) in Makati.

Designers Len Nepomuceno-Guiao, Dong Omaga Diaz and Tonichi Nocom were elected vice president, treasurer and secretary, respectively. The new board members are Avel Bacudio, Ramon Esteban, Gerry Katigbak, Tippi Ocampo and Hindy Webber- Tantoco. Elections to the FDCP are held every two years.

SPOT.ph asked Buendia about his plans for FDCP and the local fashion design industry:

What are your immediate plans for FDCP?
I’m meeting the board on July 14, Wednesday (Jour de la Bastille) and we’ll be mapping out our goals for the next two years. I wish for the council to work closely with the government so we can do our share in nation building. [Off the] top of my head, [my first idea] is to meet with Ate Vi, Governor of Batangas, she’s been wanting to revive the "Burdang Taal".

What are FDCP’s most pressing problems and goals?
Honestly, I feel that the most pressing problem for the council now is unity. It’s gonna be tough dealing with designer egos, but I’m optimistic we can rise above ourselves and be moving forces in uplifting the industry.

What are the local fashion industry’s most pressing problems?
A lot of our weavers have lost their jobs because of the lesser demand for local fabrics. Filipino designers have enjoyed using Thai silk, synthetic cocoon silk from China, Korean blends, etc. We have a government agency, the Philippine Textile Research Institute that hasn’t been fully utilized.Also, a lot of garment factories have closed down because of China’s cheap and efficient labor.

What is your reaction to past FDCP president Lulu Tan Gan’s statement about the council given in February at the height of the "cobweb copycat" issue?

Lulu Tan Gan: "It is sad to say that we fashion designers have organized a legitimate council (the FDCP) but have never lead it to maturity to discuss and tackle issues related to the betterment of our sector. We have so far used our council as a marketing vehicle instead. Then, we become too busy to take time to share and participate further, thinking it is no longer worth our time. The council is self-sufficient and by this time, should have tackled some textile issues, set and lead local fashion trends, developed and by now branded with manufacturers worth launching in the international fashion trade exhibits and at last be able to tackle intellectual property issues. The creative industry is a huge industry. If only we had a vision. Through a solid council, creative individuals or groups can easily address and resolve issues."

I do agree with Lulu’s sentiments, but I do believe we’ve made the first step already--we have awakened our nationalism.

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