Filipiana meets Kiwiana

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CROSS CULTURAL INTEGRATION AT NZ FASHION WEEK

By Mel Fernandez

Photo credit: NZ Fashion Week

AUCKLAND – A second Filipino Fashion Designer from Auckland has made a big impression in the emerging couture category of the New Zealand Fashion Week held in August this year. This annual fashion showcase brings together local and international fashion designers, fashion editors and suppliers.

Last year Ruscoe Busternera-Kirby, who moved to New Zealand in 2011, rocked the runway at this event with his edgy fashion creations: www.filipinonews.nz/events/street-fashion/designer-fashion.

Following in his footsteps, Dwayne Mallo, 50, an electronics and communications engineer by day and a creative powerhouse in events and fashion after hours, was persuaded by friends to take the plunge this year.

“I guess I had a latent interest in fashion from a young age. My mum was a seamstress, dad worked in textiles and my brother is a fashion model.

“I became an accidental fashion designer. At a business meeting someone was looking for a designer to present a collection for an event. They asked me and I just went for it.”

What was the inspiration for his designs? “You could say that I am striving for cross-cultural integration. I combine New Zealand spring colours and Philippine fashion elements to create a range that has got people talking.

“My range features boleros, butterfly sleeves and other Philippine inspired designs using stunning fabric, beautiful colours and overall they look very vibrant.”

Dwayne voices the lament of other Filipino designers like France Matirez that there are limited materials to work with in New Zealand. “I have to get supplies from the Philippines and I also have a seamstress there who makes my dresses,” confides Dwayne.

At Fashion Week his designs were paraded by mainly Kiwi models, including two Filipina models. In an interview with media, the fashion models who paraded his clothes said that they were delighted to wear his refreshing designer fashion.