Young Filipina fashion designer Erika Mae Ng highlights the beauty of Philippine landscapes — and the agricultural problems that go with it — in her sustainable collection as the lone Philippine representative to the prestigious Global Design Graduate Show 2020. This is an international competition that recognizes the journey of graduating art and design students from around the world.
The first-ever online edition of the event is hosted by i-D, a fashion and contemporary culture glossy magazine; and ARTSTHREAD, the leading digital platform and creative launchpad that represents over 300,000 students from around 850 design schools in approximately 100 countries.
Out of 4,482 submissions from different art disciplines, Putik, the graduation collection of the Fashion Design and Merchandising Program student from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, is among the shortlisted entries in the Fashion, Accessories and Textiles Category. This is in collaboration with luxury brand Gucci.
Putik aims to utilize the beauty of fashion to raise awareness on the current environmental problems of the country such as soil erosion caused by plastic and waste pollution.
With Filipino identity, ingenuity and craftsmanship in mind, Ng incorporated traditional hand embroidery techniques to represent the aerial view of Philippine agriculture and rice paddies with innovative yarn embroidery and sewing practices.
The collection likewise explores various handmade fabric manipulations such as beading and braiding with the use of the designer’s own BioPlastik made from natural raw materials such as water, glycerol and gelatin.
“My end goal is to create a new plastic material for a sustainable future, thus, BioPlastik,” Ng said. “Unlike mass-produced plastics, bioplastics help reduce the use of fossil fuels, which promotes sustainability as well as feedstock diversification.”
Ng decided to use her platform to tackle the environmental problems behind the glamorous fashion industry.
“BioPlastik aims to meet the challenges of the local fashion industry by developing innovative solutions for materials, which meets commercial success while still promoting social, ecological and cultural development,” she noted. “If we merely appreciate the surface without learning and understanding what goes on behind the scenes, then I don’t think we can fully come to be grateful for the beauty of things in life.”
Voting for Global Design Graduate Show 2020 is open until Monday, 14 September 2020.