Contrary to popular belief, fashion isn’t all optics and visual appeal. Sometimes, it can be utilitarian and pragmatic. Taking inspiration from the vaccination rollout happening across the globe, Cebuano fashion designer Ia Coca created “The Cold Shoulder Collection,” a well-informed yet fun take on “pandemic fashion.”
The idea for the collection came from the viral “bakuna blouse” incident, involving a photo of Dr. Flordeliza Grana, the doctor who was mistaken for Vice President Leni Robredo, getting her vaccine. When the image first surfaced, netizens were quick to call the vaccination a ruse because her sleeves weren’t rolled up. Later on, it was revealed that her blouse had arm slits.
“That moment reminded me that fashion is functional and practical. I realized that fashion can be used as a tool to celebrate getting your vaccination instead of being this nerve-wracking and intimidating moment,” shared Coca.
The Cold Shoulder Collection consists of four looks, including a shirt dress with split sleeves and a front knot drape detail, a midi dress with a ruched top and a button-up skirt, a sheath dress with buttoned sleeves and a flirty cutout on the back, and a striped two-piece terno consisting of an asymmetrical top with a butterfly sleeve and a pair high-waisted wide leg pants—all in delicious candy colors perfect for the summer. Because hey, a great milestone in this pandemic such as getting the vaccine should merit an equally fabulous outfit, no?
More than fashion, Coca, along with the creatives he collaborated with to bring this dreamy editorial to life, hopes to start a conversation on the importance of getting vaccinated. The 29-year-old, who also happens to be a registered medical technologist, wants to get the word out there and urge people “to trust the science behind the vaccine and combat vaccine hesitancy.”
While designing the collection, Coca made sure that there was something for everyone, pieces that women of all body types and age groups could wear. More than just being trend-driven, he also puts emphasis on accessibility. All orders are custom-made and manufactured in exquisite cotton-based seersucker fabric, which is a light and highly breathable material perfect for the perennial heat of the tropics.
The highlights of this capsule are the exposed shoulders and arm slits. The prints Ia chose for the garments are a nod to the checkered Band-Aids he used to wear as an accessory during his college years. “I think Band-Aids act as good symbolism for vaccination, so I was inspired by that too.” With these looks, women no longer need to roll up their sleeves or disrobe when getting their vaccine.
Ia Coca’s atelier is most known for elegant modern gowns and sharp suits. The young creative admits that although the aesthetic for this collection isn’t new territory for him, he doesn’t get to do these kinds of garments as much as he would want to due to the volume of his wedding clients, which he says, is his “brand’s bread and butter.” It wasn’t until the pandemic when he was able to slow down and channel his creative juices in something more casual and ready-to-wear.
Prior to this release, he also took a swing at designing face masks and PPE (personal protective equipment) sets. “The pandemic has added another layer to my craft, which is focusing more on design’s functionality and user safety.”
With this pandemic still ongoing, Ia Coca is keen on creating more designs that are reflective and relevant to the times. Visit www.iacoca.com/pabakuna/ to see more of The Cold Shoulder Collection.