I grew up with the idea that fashion is a highly competitive and glamorous world, with waif-like, picture perfect models and members of the
elite class for its citizens.  Maybe this is partly true, but what I saw from the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Sikat Pinoy National Fashion Fair at the Megatrade Hall in SM Megamall showed me a different side of fashion.

(From L-R) Marchel Lirio, Individual Loan Credit Officer, Nanay Adelia Jamco, Waterlily Bagmaker and Christine Ann Salazar, Marketing Communications Officer

For TSPI’s second Lakbay Aral, the Planning and Business Development Team invited clients whose businesses are related to fashion such
as ready-to-wear (RTW) manufacturing, footwear manufacturing, bag-making and fashion accessories making to attend the National Fashion Fair. While the turnout of the participants was not as high as the first Lakbay Aral, the impact that the Fair had on them was still very good and positive.

The stars in this Fashion Fair were not the gorgeous models but the brains and hands behind the business of the products these models endorse.  DTI-assisted microentrepreneurs hailing from the fifteen regions of the country  (with the exception of region 12) gathered to promote the natural riches of their respective regions, showcase their skills in making beautiful, sellable fashion products and sell them at affordable prices!

It was a feast for the eyes. We saw exquisitely designed costume jewelry made out of carabao horn, brass and semi-precious stones to quirky,
everyday wear fashion accessories made out of wires, paper and langka wood. There were fashionable and functional bags and shoewear made out of pandan, water lily and nito. There was even a mini exhibit for the inabel cloth and a full length abaca-made evening gown.

TSPI client Nanay Adelia Palacios, a waterlily bag maker from Pinagbuhatan, Pasig and the 2010 Semi-Finalist for the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year, was very happy that she was able to attend the Lakbay Aral. “Malaking tulong sa akin ito. Meron akong nakuhang technique sa
mga nakausap ko dun sa Lakbay Aral. Masayang-masaya po ako,” she says. During our lunch together, she was sharing how inspired she was when she talked to a councilor who started a livelihood in her community and is now helping 10 barangays. “Yung handle nung bags niya ay gawa sa cotton cord, colorful at soft yung material, maganda po,” she shared.

Another participant in the Lakbay Aral was Ms. Marchiel Lirio, one of TSPI’s Individual Loan Credit Officers (ILCOs). When asked what
she learned about the Lakbay Aral, she said, “I learned about new products. I saw new designs. I learned that we are not limited to making just one product.  For example, the water lily plant. We are not limited to producing just bayong bags out of it. We can also make shoes, slippers, wallets and other bags, not just bayong bags, out of water lilies.”

Our participants went home with a refreshed mind, with widened horizons, new contacts, realizations and ideas that could boost the
growth of their enterprises.

And this is precisely what we organize the Lakbay Aral for.


The article was written by Maria Christine Ann Salazar, Marketing Communications Officer.

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