Two years ago, local designer Andi Amora flew to the Land of the Rising Sun to compete at the Japanese International Fashion Designer. This 2019, Andi tried her luck for the second time around and won not just one, but two major prizes from the competition.
The Filipino talent brought home the Japan Formal Association Award and Fujiyoshida Chamber of Commerce President Award for her Blue Morpho Butterfly piece. The competition was organized by the Committee of the Japan Fashion Design Contest of the Foundation Dressmaker Association for the Promotion of Fashion Education, where Andi bested 1689 other entries from all over Asia.
"I was inspired by my Mandaya lineage," Andi tells Preview. "I am the child of a Mandaya storyteller, and in our ancient tales, the butterfly has always been known to carry the soul between lives." The designer chose the striking blue color of the morpho butterfly because it's a meaningful sentiment for someone who has made transformational changes. "I have changed myself from another stage and felt inspired by the butterfly, who usually becomes a beautiful and graceful adult," Andi adds.
"In many cultures, the butterfly symbolizes the soul. The name in Greek for butterfly and soul are the same. I recently lost my brother and saw the butterfly as a symbol or rebirth and new life. The freedom and splendor of the butterfly are mesmerizing and fanciful as fashion should be," Andi explains. "In the chambers separated by black ribbons, the form of the dress is representative of the butterfly's form. The beadwork is a homage to the pixie-like specs of color in the corners of the morpho."
Additionally, she incorporates her Mindanaoan roots with his fashion construction."The woven constructions are also symbolic of how my [Mandaya lineage] weaves brightly colored natural fibers with neutrals. The bright blue here is a bold statement of color. The infrastructure of the weaving is stylistically Mandaya but shows the actual detail of the butterfly. If you zoom in on them, you see the grids just like the tribal weaving. My piece is meant to transform the wearer into a beautiful and whimsical visage, beyond the ordinary," she concludes.