September 2022

Crossing Over: Introducing Vogue Philippines’ Maiden Issue

Paneled dress, Olivier Theyskens. Sharif Hamza

“You’ll have to wait an hour to cross over,” The guide tells us.

The tide on the Biri shore will be lower by 9 AM, he explains, and we will be able to wade comfortably through the warm waters of Northern Samar.

Separated by 400 meters waves of Philippine Sea, we watch as the fashion team shoots our cover story on towering limestone formations, whipped and stretched to the edges of gravity, carved out by the elements some 23 million years ago.  

An hour’s pause is not a problem.

We have been waiting a long time for this.

Three months ago, this otherworldly landscape was just an idea on paper. Part of the cast of characters in our main fashion story, our ambitious adventure set on the Philippines’ three main islands: Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon.

Three years ago, the first steps were taken toward bringing Vogue Philippines to our shores. Email encounters and digital pathways were paved.

Thirty years ago, I first discovered Vogue magazine, with its pages full of beautifully shot, deeply evocative editorials of far-flung places, a window into the world beyond Manila. Everything was aspirational.

Today, Vogue Philippines is a reality.

Serendipitously, the launch of our maiden issue coincides with Vogue’s 130 anniversary. Much has changed from when it all began. With a global, digital reach expanding further and wider than ever before imagined, Vogue remains fashion’s most dynamic platform to speak to the future. By championing inclusivity, diversity, sustainability, craft, and creativity, Vogue chronicles fashion’s evolving relationship with Nature, with each other, and with ourselves.

Our Philippine team charted out a course to explore the Philippine fashion identity. We waded through mangroves and crossed digital skyways. Guided by the confines of sunrise and sunsets, we planned the days judging for rain in the skies. Our waterways yield ways of thinking, enabling us to experience our “archipelagic nature”: how we are connected, not separated, by seas and a horizon.

On the pages of our maiden issue, we explore that narrative, through the lens of fashion.

Our roots are exposed through the extraordinary vision of recently named National Artist, Slim Higgins. Conversely, we celebrate the creations of our emerging designers, spearheading our new fashion generation, set in the Brutalist landscape of the CCP, itself an imposing urban rock formation.

Through stories like Bayo’s collaboration with Carl Jan Cruz and our spread featuring upcycled fashion, we continue the conversation on circularity and offer insight on fashion’s new modes of use: resale , rental, vintage, and investment pieces. It’s an exploration on sustainability, on our own terms.

We also capture the complexity of family, and the tension and tenderness of working together as creatives through features on the Augousti clan as well as other artistically-minded kin.

We launch this edition on National Heroes Day. It is so befitting as, along our journey, we discovered many champions, from the extraordinary mindset of Carina Dayondon, who summited the world’s tallest peaks, to the inimitable Maria Ressa, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Our Main Fashion story evolved into a collection of adventures, layered through fashion pieces, as elemental and timeless as our terrain. With a vibrant roster of designers, both emerging and globally celebrated Filipino talent and international designers such as Louis Vuitton from France, Issey Miyake from Japan, Olivier Theyskens from Paris, and J’amemme from Ukraine.

It is told through the lens of Sharif Hamza with our cover model, the singular Chloe Magno, international creatives who both have roots in the island of Mindanao. Their voices hold that echo of home and of homecoming.

From Sharif, who lends his deep industry expertise, come these inspiring words, “As creatives working in commercial fields, we are most fortunate when the work takes us to a place of reflection. This was a chance for me to use my talents to represent a country and a people that I truly love and wish to serve.”

Vogue Philippines hoped to be guided by the Filipino values of Malasakit (deep empathy), Bayanihan and optimism that defines so much of our culture.

Instead, this bounty was showered on us, openly and generously, by so many of our fellow countrymen. Audrey Carpio’s cover story captures some of these moments.

Bringing this edition to reality could only be done through the immense efforts of the whole Vogue Philippines’ team. Their bright vision and tireless spirit bring all of our stories to life. I stand from a place beyond gratitude for the opportunity to have created this with all of them.

Vogue Philippines arrives, in a world reshaped by the Covid pandemic, and by monumental global, socio-political siftings.

But, we discovered that we are also formed and fashioned by the things we love. We too are landscapes, fluid, mutable, and adapting to our environments. We are a people enriched by time and tide, forged by family, by deep empathy and bonded by familiar kindnesses.

Vogue magazine remains fashion’s creative stage for discoveries, a pathway to connect culture to context, and urge new ideas into flesh and bone, all celebrating this precise unfolding moment.

Welcome to fashion’s new world. This is just the beginning.

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