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Designer Spotlight: Dan Duran

A young gun from Negros Oriental is inspired by Nat Geo's Afghan girl for his PEFTA collection.
Designer Spotlight: Dan Duran A young gun from Negros Oriental is inspired by Nat Geo's Afghan girl for his PEFTA collection.

Hailing from Negros Oriental, one of Preview's Emerging Talents this year is Dan Duran, a graduate of Silliman University. A true-blue artist, Dan has mounted a solo exhibit of contemporary portraits before coming to Manila, and with a scholarship in the School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA), has entered the world of fashion. "With art, fashion also came as a great passion of mine," he says. "I found the challenge in finding and creating something new in [this] field greatly gratifying."

Describing his aesthetic as "organic," Dan likes to reference earthy, natural inspirations and is largely drawn to sensualist techniques, such as draping. "I love every process in which fashion becomes itself: from weaving to dyeing. You can also always see some amount of draping in my work because I love how fabric moves and how it acts on itself. There's also a great amount of feeling in my work and I always want to show the truest meaning of my intentions in my pieces. Every piece I make, I consider as art that can hopefully inspire the wearer and the people around her or him."

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Given the task to create a collection with the theme "New" for the PEFTA fashion show, he conceptualized a lineup inspired by hope, via the beautiful imagery of National Geographic's mysterious Afghan girl. "From the theme 'New,' I tried to feel the zeitgeist for this time. I found that 'hope' is something new that a lot of leaders are promising. There is Obama offering the hope of change in the U.S., and we have Noynoy who gives us the vision of hope, being the son of two great people that led our country. I then tried to research on hope and found the picture of the Afghan girl from National Geographic. I was thinking of how this girl can still have strength in her eyes regardless of the social climate in her war-torn country."

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Using silk chiffon, cotton jersey, and linen in earthy colors of rust and olive, Dan's draped pieces are immensely wearable embodiments of his inspirations. Most pieces were dyed for an earthy feel—"I wanted the pieces to feel very organic as if they have faced the effects of nature," says Dan—and some pieces are carefully strewn with embellishment for contemporary flair. "The collection is also representative of all the people that the Afghan girl might have encountered: the military, the holy man, the youth, the builder, the man, and the woman in society," Dan further elaborates. "I envision a passionate and true woman to be wearing my pieces."

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As for his involvement in this year's PEFTA, he feels nothing short of blessed. "I'm deeply honored and thankful. It's really a proof that God does work in mysterious ways, making me leaps closer to realizing my dreams."

Click on the photo gallery to see Dan Duran's collection for PEFTA.

Click here to view the PEFTA webisodes to know more about Dan Duran.

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