In the aftermath of 9/11, VogueÂ editor Anna Wintour was at the forefront of efforts to help save New Yorkâ€™s battered economy. Together with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), she created Fashion for America, a collective, selfless effort of the fashion industry to raise funds for relief efforts after the tragic events that shook the world.
Fashion for America comes from the same charitable streak as the CFDAâ€™s Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, the industryâ€™s way of assisting people with breast cancer; the CFDA-Vogue Initiative, a philanthropic collaboration with Vogue magazine which provides funds for organizations that care for persons living with HIV/AIDS; and Fashionâ€™s Night Out, or 7th on Sale, a global initiative created to â€ścelebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence and boost the industryâ€™s economy.â€ť
The past two years saw the fashion industryâ€™s concerted and far-reaching efforts to help the earthquake survivors of Haiti and the tsunami victims of Japan.
In the Philippines, specifically the Dean of Filipino Designers Ben Farrales, are just as quick to respond to calls for assistance from victims of calamities. With his Fashion for a Cause, which gathers industry insiders of all generations to participate in fundraising galas, the venerable Mang Ben raises funds for the Philippine National Red Cross to help in the rehabilitation of the affected areas.
On a less grand scale, though as remarkable, Cagayan de Oroâ€™s fashion stalwarts are doing their share to rebuild their city after it was devastated by Typhoon Sendong in December 2011. True to its reputation as the City of Golden Friendship, people from far and wide readily responded to the pleas of Kagay-anons for help and assistance.
â€śThe Oro Fashion Designers Guildâ€™s direct effort was geared on relief operations and feeding programs for the victims of Sendong. Together with the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines, the Young Designers Guild and designers from abroad, we had the Water for Life project,â€ť says OFDG president Gil Macaibay III. Â â€śTogether with the Glitterati and Gil Ex Models, we did two charity shows to raise funds for the victims. Models, hairstylists, fashion directors, makeup artists and industry friends also assisted in the feeding and relief operations.â€ť
Alma Mae Roa, who has two shops named Cameronâ€™s and Fiona Clara, can only marvel at the outpouring of love and support from her fellow fashion designers and long-time friends.
â€śPeople in the fashion industry are unbelievably compassionate and generous to us Kagay-anons after Sendong, the most difficult time of our lives. The care, the prayers, the emotional, social, and emotional support are all that we need to rebuild CDO and we were given those. In fact, look at CDO now, we have risen after only a few months,â€ť Roa says. â€śLife is beautiful because God is good! He touches many peopleâ€™s hearts to let us all know of His greatness.â€ť
Slowly and surely, sometimes with steady high-heeled steps, Cagayan de Oro is on its toes again.
â€śThe local fashion community is slowly recovering, though we really felt the effects of the typhoon because of cancelled proms and rescheduled weddings,â€ť bares Benjie S. Manuel.
He is currently employing several of his dressmaking students from the Alternative Learning System at City Central School and getting apprentices among selected flood victims from the non-formal education classes particularly in Barangay Iponan and teaching them how to beadwork.
â€śThese are some of my efforts in helping rebuild CDO. My other plans would be to request instructors from TESDA to teach tailoring, weaving and shoemaking to victims who have lost their livelihood because of Sendong,â€ť Manuel adds. â€śItâ€™s going to be a huge job but step by step, with the help of the local government, CDO will rise again. Hopefully, with lessons learned.â€ť
Hair And Makeup By Jhong Banquerigo And Eric Duero
Models: Vence Mae Bacus, Emie Lou Yamba, and Nicole Charmaine Salise