There’s never a dull moment for Philippine fashion as seven proudly Pinoy brands dominated the global stage once more at the Premiere Classe Trade Show in Paris last September 27 to 30. An annual gathering of high-end accessory brands at Paris Fashion Week, the exhibition showcases the crème de la crème of the industry’s rising stars, proving the prestige of this impressive achievement. “Recognized for its high-end selection, the show features brands and creators of jewelry, shoes, leather goods and accessories specially chosen for their creativity, originality and style,” says a representative from the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), a branch of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) that promotes exports. “For 30 years, the event has presented the accessory trends of the coming season and the young creators who are creating the fashion of tomorrow.”
The seven participants included Aranaz, Beatriz, Filip+Inna, Joanique, Mele + Marie, Merriam Batara, and Zacarias 1925. All of which are particularly hailed for their distinct and eye-catching designs whether you’re in need of a handbags with local flair, tasteful statement jewelry, or indigenous garments with a modern twist.
As for a first-hand account of what happend during the trade show, handbag label Mele + Marie expressed all gratitude after being met with a revolving door of new opportunities abroad, “Our brand, was well received by many buyers because of the uniqueness of the collection and the message of the designer as conceived from his life story,” the brand recounts. “We also experienced forging relationships with existing brands and new buyers. [In fact] Le Samaritaine, an iconic Parisian department store now owned by LVMH, has presented its intention to include Mele + Marie in their list of brands, and the princess of Saudi Arabia ordered all our Hannah Bags.”
For Filipino creatives and bold visionaries hoping to land themselves on the same stage one day, learn about the experience as Preview talks more with CITEM, below.
What is the Paris Premiere Classe Trade Show all about?
“Premiere Classe, the event organized by WSN Développement is an unmissable platform for designers and professions in fashion and fashion accessories. It is a key meeting point during Paris Fashion Week, and an active member of the international fashion industry. For 30 years, the event has presented the accessory trends of the coming season and the young creators who are creating the fashion of tomorrow.”
“Recognized for its high-end selection, the show features brands and creators of jewelry, shoes, leather goods and accessories specially chosen for their creativity, originality and style. The bonus of Premiere Classe is a full ready-to-wear collection. It has showcased almost a thousand French and international fashion accessory collections and over 10,000 visitors go there every edition.”
What was CITEM’s objective for bringing these designers to the trade show?
“CITEM aims to promote the Philippines as the source for unique and high-quality fashion pieces crafted by promising brands for the international market through high-level media and publicity awareness. CITEM, as an export trade promotions agency, also aims to provide the opportunity for these brands to meet new distributors, trade buyers, partners and representatives, and increase the geographical spread of the fashion brands by joining Premiere Classe.”
What was your criteria in choosing the brands or designers that would represent the Philippines?
“CITEM set the following qualifications to make sure that the Philippines represents only the best at Premiere Classe during Paris Fashion Week:
- Philippine companies or brands carrying 100% Philippine-made products.
- Philippine companies that belong to the top fashion brands and that have made headway in international branding; purveyor of design and craftsmanship, companies that have showed commitment to the branding initiative and have sustained efforts to globalize brands, even on their own personal capacity.
- Philippine companies who have joined a previous Manila FAME edition or commit to join the October 2019 Manila FAME.
However, Premiere Classe has their own set of strict criteria where they will assess each brand applying as an exhibitor based on the brand’s quality of design, and brand positioning.”
How much of their work did they get to showcase? Did they have to produce new designs for the trade show?
"Participating brands release their new collections at Premiere Classe, some of which are the following:
Aranaz featured their Spring/Summer 2020 Fresh Catch collection reflecting the textures, patterns and icons of a fisherman’s life from above and under the sea. Bringing these to life are mother of pearl paillettes that mimic fish scales, wooden beads reminiscent of floating buoys and macramé weaves that represent ropes.
Joanique’s latest collection called Pintados is an ode to the indigenous painted men from Cebu during the Spanish colonial era. The Pintados collection are bags are hand-carved and nicked from wood, representing the tattoo-covered warriors who believed that the patterns on their skin possessed spiritual powers and magical qualities."
What activities did the chosen brands get to do and experience during their Paris visit?
"Premiere Classe takes place during Paris Fashion Week where the entire fashion industry gathers, from designers to editors. And like Paris Fashion Week, fashion buyers visit Premiere Classe to source for what’s new and what’s next. It is also a multi-sensory event and positions itself as a true meeting point with entertainment, exhibitions, live concerts and unmissable parties."
How can aspiring creatives and designers who hope to be showcased in the future prepare in order to be considered for next year’s selection?
"Designers that wish to join Premiere Classe must have existing brands. Most importantly, they must have a clear business plan and know if they wish to explore the international market."