DESIGNER Christopher Zamora’s Bagobo Tagabawa tribe-inspired creations won him top prize in the first Kadayawan Ball Fashion Apparel Design Competition.

Kadayawan Ball is one of the new events launched in this year’s Kadayawan Festival. The criteria list that the entry, a design for male and female, should be inspired by one of the eleven tribes of Mindanao and wearable in a formal event. The winners will be awarded with P150,000, P75,000 and P50,000 cash prize.

“I had an immersion with the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe and I took bits of information from them and incorporated in my garments,” said Zamora, “My inspiration is the ‘pangulabe’ or beadworking technique of the tribe. The patterns are incorporated to the symbolic meaning of the triangle that emanates Manama (God), Manobo (man) and banwa (earth),” said the designer.

Zamora created the apparels’ embellishment himself using polymer clay. Emulating the characteristic design pattern of the Bagobo Tagabawa, the designer laid out the pieces of baked white ornaments on his flesh-toned sheer fabric made of banana fiber he sourced out from Tadeco, a banana-growing company in Tagum, Davao del Norte. The entire process, from cutting to finished product, took seven days, said the designer.

The result is impressive — a striking contemporary gown that can be worn at any formal event.

Renowned Cebu designer, Cary Santiago, sat as the chairman of the board of judges that included the country’s foremost creative minds- Lulu Tan-Gan, Rajo Laurel, John Herrera, and Ronnie Cruz.

“Personally, I believe the winner was very precise with his elements and he knows what he was doing. It was safe, it was clean and it was ready to be worn. Aesthetically, it was ready to be sold. He was able to defend himself on the pattern he used and was quite creative on his rendition. On stage, the pair had visual impact,” said Cary Santiago.

Ranking 1st runner-up was Richard Palache’s entry inspired by the Maguindanaoan tribe. He incorporated the tribe’s inuol fabric into his apparels. For his gown, he fused his own designed fabric.

Santiago said, “I love the 1st runner up so much, there was creativity and craftsmanship involved. We checked the fabric, which was made of soft tulle, and there was a hand stitched yarn on a circular pattern. For me, that’s very difficult to achieve. There was a labor of love involved. It was very wearable and on the Rigodon de Honor, it was flawless.”

Mark Joseph Sayad was 2nd runner-up. His entry was inspired by the Deya, a fairy from the 11 tribes of Mindanao.

Sayad said, “It’s inspired by fairy wings. The fabric was patterned after the emotional abstract of the dreamweavers, the lumad, and the Moros.”