Bringing Big Apple’s street style to the runway
New York is known for many things—Broadway, the Statue of Liberty, and the bright Times Square—but what truly makes it “the center of the world” is its people. It has an abundance of diversity, creativity, and style, and New Yorkers best exemplify those through their clothing. Its streets are like its fashion runways, always full of look-at-me fashions with attitude to match. As the late photographer Bill Cunningham said, “The best fashion show is definitely on the street. Always has been and always will be.”
Agreeing to this style notion is Filipino fashion designer Bessie Besana. That’s why during his showcase at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), he brought the urban vibe from the streets to the runway with his collection titled “Pavement.”
“It is inspired by how I see the people of New York walk down the street,” the designer told Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “The materials used in the collection are primarily soft wool and denim. These are materials used by regular New Yorkers who are naturally unapologetic with what they wear. Every day is a fashion runway in the city.”
It is not new for Bessie to present his works abroad, but his participation at the 2022 NYFW through VIP Pageantry is a special one as it caters to a wider American audience. His journey to NYFW started with former beauty queen Dani Walker, who introduced him to Holly Lynch and Laylah Rose, the owners of VIP NYFW.
“During the introduction meeting with them for a different endeavor, they mentioned that they are staging a show for NYFW and invited me to be one of the designers in the roster. Of course, I took that opportunity to showcase my creation since this show is a registered event with the Council of Fashion Designers of America,” he says. “Most of the pieces I have showcased during the show are still made in the Philippines but I decided to add a couple of looks that I personally constructed out of my small office out here. Those looks are the opening look modeled by a friend who is now signed with Elite Models New York, Nikita McElroy, the other is worn by Danias my final look.”
Making a mark in a major fashion city like New York is a dream for many designers, and the same goes with Bessie, who always wanted to grow his brand in the US. To make that dream a reality, the designer is back in school and taking a short program at Parsons School of Design. In the future, he plans to widen his design knowledge by attending classes at Central St. Martins in London.
“From a brand perspective, I will be migrating my brand to be based in New York and will also venture into other areas of fashion within the United States,” Bessie muses. “I am very excited to improve my capabilities and enjoy every moment of this opportunity.”
Check out his “Pavement” collection below: