The dress as a cautionary tale

Published October 22, 2021, 6:00 PM

by Manila Bulletin

Filipino designer exhibits future environmental dystopia in Japan

UPCYCLED FUNK Pleated water repellent jacket

Young contemporary artist and experimental fashion designer Kelvin Morales explores the interconnections of humanity with the future environmental dystopia in his thought-provoking debut collection in Tokyo.

Inspired by the genetical deformations caused by toxic chemical exposure, Morales, who is known for his fascination with peculiar concepts and exploratory design processes, translated the threats of the current environmental issues into futuristic tailoring and semi-rugged ensembles.

Dubbed as Hazard Blue, the 45-piece series features modern barong Tagalog, denim jackets, handdyed jeans, and pleated water-repellent tops and pants with handmade patchworks, prints, and his signature embroideries to symbolize and depict the mush waters and floating plastic bags and crushed bottles.

HAZARD BLUE Young contemporary artist, experimental fashion designer, and Benilde Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) alum Kelvin Morales

“My collections are always connected with human and evolution,” he noted, “and I want to remind the people that our future is going to be a dystopia if we continue being careless in our actions.”

Morales, who formally honed his creativity under the Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) program of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, utilized the endless possibilities of fabric manipulation and took advantage of old and new technologies such as tie-dye and digital printing.

‘The program shows how Filipino artistry and creativity can be brought internationally.’

“I focused on developing a textile design that will bring awareness and translate the urgency of the current crisis,” he said. “I just want to bring light to the toxic waste and pollution and I want us to be more conscious of our choices and really think about our future five, 10, 50 years from now.”

Hazard Blue is Morales’ culminating collection as one of the eight homegrown Filipino labels in the #PHxTokyo showroom incubation program of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

Together with the other participating designers, he underwent group and one-on-one mentorship sessions with fashion consultant Tetta Ortiz-Matera and Japan-based showroom H3O Fashion Bureau’s Jason Lee Coates and Hirohito Suzuki to assist him successfully curate and introduce his brand in the fashion capital of Asia.

Morales found his shared vision and mission with the Japanese focus on materials, quality, and story. He extended his appreciation to be able to present his advocacy as well as his avant-garde creations for the first time in a global scale.

“The program shows how Filipino artistry and creativity can be brought internationally,” he beamed. “The lockdowns made it really hard to produce a collection, from sourcing and production process, but we are lucky enough we were chosen to showcase our brands and our works in Tokyo because the Japanese market is hard to penetrate.”