It all started 16 years ago when the man behind Runway Productions, Joey Espino, went to New York for a Natori project. He was asked to watch the Miu Miu and DKNY shows in New York Fashion Week and then the big idea hit him: a show like this should also happen in the Philippines. Lo and behold, Philippine Fashion Week (PHFW) is now on its 22nd season, and Joey is tremendously proud and happy of the fact that his vision materialized and grew exponentially as years passed.
Joey Espino giving his "thank you" speech at last season's finale show
“When I was much younger, we only do these hotel shows for designers whenever they feel like it. But there’s no such thing as seasons, and then you are not required to come out with new designs, so fashion seemed like a hobby or just a spur-of-the-moment thing, or you just happen to have good connections that’s why you could mount a show,” says Joey. Call it coincidence (we’d rather believe it was really meant to be), but Ayala Center approached him to come up with an event in Glorietta that would entice people to shop there. Hence, PHFW was born.
By 2000, fashion fever caught on and PHFW’s roster of participants became more varied—from high-end franchisees and designer labels to local brands, both big and small. The year after, local designers stepped up their game and made one clear statement in their runway shows: Filipino talent is world class.
“What would happen to Philippine fashion if we don’t show what we have and how we dress up, why we dress up, and what we wear? That’s the main objective of PHFW: It’s an avenue for Filipinos to find out what’s available in the market, who are the creative minds willing to dress up the audience, and at the same time for them to be aware that these things are really available,” Joey reiterates.
Since then, the ever-increasing audience led PHFW to transfer to bigger venues to accommodate everyone that came year after year. From Glorietta Activity Center to the Hotel Intercontinental, NBC and Rockwell tents, and the most recent being SMX Convention Center with additional shows at the SM Mall of Asia, PHFW proved to be one of the biggest fashion events of the year.