FASHION designer Hanz Coquilla is set to be the first Cebuano whose works will be featured during the upcoming World Fashion Week France 2019 in Paris, France this Oct. 24 to 26.
Coquilla was nominated by the organizing body to be one of the select few from around the world who will get to showcase their works in the “City of Lights” during the prestigious fashion event. This year's program, which promises to be bigger and better than previous installments, will be held at the iconic Palais Brongniart, the same place where French and Italian designers from Fendi to Chanel have shown their creations during Paris Fashion Week.
"To be nominated by the organizers to represent the country is big enough, and it's something to be thankful for since not everyone is given the same chance," Coquilla shared to SunStar Lifestyle about his reaction to the news.
"As an artist, I've always wanted to showcase my works abroad. And every time I finish a show, I tend to crave for an even bigger audience and platform. There's that sense of fulfillment hearing the applause of people and seeing them embrace you and your artwork," he said.
During the recent live interview on “QuickTalk,” one of several online shows produced by SunStar Cebu on social media, Coquilla revealed that he will be showcasing an exclusive 10-piece collection by Hanz Coquilla Alta Costura during the prestigious weekend. Hanz Coquilla Alta Costura's admin and marketing executive, Ichael Serneo, joined the designer during the show.
“Doing 10 (pieces) would be feasible because we are also doing the Macao Fashion Festival a week before going to Paris,” Coquilla said. Serneo confirmed that it would be the brand's third appearance for the Macao Fashion Festival. Coquilla is also the first and only Filipino to be invited to the Macao Fashion Festival.
The gravity of the guesting is not lost on Coquilla, as he notes several challenges the brand has to get past in order to succeed at its first show in Europe.
“In this day and age of social media where everything is based on something that has already existed, you need to create something that is new; (something) people from Europe haven't seen yet. That's the biggest challenge in terms of the artistic side,” Coquilla said.
“(The theme) is still open,” the fashion designer said. “But I want to present something Filipino; something Cebuano. Cebu is known for our natural resources here and we have a lot of international designers who are actually Cebuano—Monique Lhuillier, Kenneth Cobonpue, Furne One—these people were born and raised here and they made it big abroad... Since it's called World Fashion Week, why not bring something Filipino, something Cebuano to the world stage.”
Then there's also the challenge of coming up with the funds for the event registration. The registration will cover the talent fee of the models, hair and makeup charges, venue rate etc.
“For now, the biggest hurdle is coming up with the funds (for registration),” Coquilla revealed. “14,000 Euros (More or less P900,000) is no joke. It's a very big amount.”
The team revealed that it plans to launch its ready-to-wear resort wear line just in time for summer. Hopefully, with enough pieces sold, it will be enough to bring the brand to Paris this October.
World Fashion Week France 2019 will be attended by guests composed of international buyers, celebrities and worldwide news media that could help reach a global audience of up to 200 million. The event also uses the international exposure to promote an advocacy, which focuses on the contribution of fashion for female empowerment in Africa and the end of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation).
“(The event is) pushing for the awareness and eradication of FGM in Africa. Part of the registration will go to the proceeds in helping these women,” said Serneo.
“World Fashion Week will be the biggest (event we will be joining so far),” Coquilla said. “(But) it's not just about the show, it's about pushing an advocacy.”