I know, I know, I’m a little late to the game. This has been discussed to death on blogosphere and Twitterverse, and I’ve participated in that discussion already. I haven’t been able to say my piece fully, though, as I’ve mostly been responding to other people’s comments in blogs and forums, and what else is a blog if not for me to say my piece. So here goes…
For me, the issue is not if the Philippines is or is not fashion forward. Before we answer that question, we have to answer a few more (What does fashion forward mean? Is it right to measure ourselves against France, Japan and Italy? Should we take things like seasons, income, etc. into account? Et cetera, et cetera…). And I think that will give us all a headache. So for me, that’s not the point.
What is the point then? What is my beef with Tricia Gosingtian’s statement? Well, I have two:
- Is she qualified to make the assessment that the Philippines is/is not “fashion forward” (whatever the hell that means)? – It’s one thing to be talking about this with your girlfriends over cupcakes, it’s another for you to say it at a blogger’s event for New York Fashion Week on tape. If you’re going to make such sweeping statements about the country at such a global stage, then you have to have credentials to back it up. You have to have done your homework. And from what I saw from her tumblr account a couple months back (when this video first came out) and what people who have read it more diligently are saying, Tricia hasn’t really covered the Philippine fashion scene extensively. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t seen any analysis of trends in Philippine Fashion Week, thoughts on Inno Sotto’s 30 year anniversary retrospective or any sort of coverage of fashion outside her own aesthetic. I’m not saying she knows nothing about Philippine fashion, but she sure ain’t no Cathy Horyn. So how can she make that judgment on the fashion industry as a whole? Some might argue that she’s entitled to her opinion, and of course she is. But I could have an opinion on the Central Bank’s fiscal policies, too, but I’m not going on tape about it just because I studied Economics 190.1.
- There are a thousand different ways to say what she said, even if it were true (and I’m not saying it is): “While we’re a long way from being considered a fashion capital, I think little by little, the Philippines is taking steps to become a bigger player in global fashion.” Or “The Philippines is flying under the radar a little bit in terms of fashion, but we have a lot of design talent like Rajo Laurel and Bea Valdez who’ve been featured in Vogue and WWD.” Or “Fashion-wise, we might be a little behind, but with the amount of talent and potential in the country, I’m very optimistic about the country making a bigger impact in fashion globally.” I think that pretty much explains my point. It’s just so sad that, presented with an opportunity to promote the country, she instead (unintentionally, I hope) dissed it and an entire industry in a very high-profile way.
Tricia has issued a (some say insincere/inadequate. I’m keeping my opinions to myself on that one) apology on Twitter and her blog. And whether you accept the apology or not, I think it’s time to move on and waste our time on other more serious, socially-relevant controversies. I just hope that everyone, not just Tricia , learned from this whole sh*tstorm. The lesson learned is that if you’re lucky enough to be invited to NYFW, don’t diss your country. At least not on tape. Or something like that.
(PS: I’m kidding with that last part, of course.)