‘Filipinxt’ is all set to conquer New York with four talented Filipino designers

In the spotlight are Michael Leyva, Veejay Floresca, Wilson Limon and Bessie Besana.

“Filipinxt” is an event that celebrates Filipino talent in fashion design and the arts. The fashion show will take place on May 5 at the historic 4W43 Building, a Renaissance Revival style building that was once owned by Columbia University.

The brainchild of New York-based fashion designer Bessie Besana and restaurateur Rob Mallari-D’Auria, the event is envisioned to be a showcase of Filipino talent that will open doors of opportunity in the Big Apple for Filipino creatives.

The word “Filipinxt” combines the gender-neutral -x suffix with “Filipino” and “next,” and is all about representing Filipino creativity on all fronts.

Joining Bessie and Rob is Yancy Trinidad, an experienced producer and creative director. He will be directing “Filipinxt” which will feature a grand twin runway.

Filipino documentarian Kenneth Anderson will chronicle what goes on and behind the runway to give everyone an all-access view of “Filipnxt.”

A platform for Filipino talent to be celebrated

Filipinxt founder and COO Rob Mallari-D’Auria says its time to make some “bold moves” in promoting Filipino creativity and talent. Photos by Johanna L. Añes-de la Cruz

“It’s time to make some bold moves,” Rob said during his welcome remarks at the Manila press conference of Filipinxt at the Marriott Hotel Manila last March 12.

“Because this generation of Filipino talents is creating designs that will grab the attention of the global audience if given the right platform. And that is Filipnxt.”

He described Filipinxt as a project that will tap young, talented, and “greedy” Filipino designers to showcase their work for people to see and purchase. With resources, mentorship, and “killer platforms,” Filipnxt will provide a showcase of their work.

Rob emphasized that Filipinxt aims not just for Filipino talent to be recognized but celebrated.

With this, they won’t just stop with a fashion show, there will also be a highly anticipated Manhattan soiree and an after-party that they promise will “attract the attention of the New York fashion scene.”

“So buckle up, friends! Let’s show the world that Filipino talent doesn’t blend in, it stands out,” Rob said to the excited crowd.

Four talented Filipino designers

Filipinxt founder and COO Bessie Besana speaks during the Manila press conference of Filipinxt last March 12 at the Marriott Hotel Manila.

“Filipinxt is a dream come true. One of my goals is to become a show producer and Filipinxt is my personal foray into that,” Bessie shared.

“I am also passionate in showcasing the talent of the Filipinos and this is the core identity of Filipinxt—to present the world-class talent of the Filipinos in New York City.”

He said, “The reason why I moved to New York was to be on that stage; I want to give myself an opportunity to be the next Filipino, the next Asian to be recognized. But I also recognize that I should not be limiting that opportunity to myself. That’s why when we’re building the show, it’s not just for me, it’s for all the designers.”

For the inaugural show of Filipinxt, there will be four designers who will showcase their work in New York, but eventually there will be more. 

(From left) Designers Bessie Besana, Michael Leyva, Wilson Limon, and host Janeena Chan

Present during the Manila leg of the press conference were Manila-based Michael Leyva, Davao-based Wilson Limon, and Besana himself. Los Angeles-based Veejay Floresca completes the four-member team.

Leading the pack is Bessie, who is known for his dreamy silhouettes that celebrate the beauty of the human form.

Filipinxt is set to witness the designer’s newest line, “Whispers of the Cosmos,” a 15-piece collection for men and women imbued with the “allure of the universe.” 

Bessie Besana is known for his dreamy silhouettes that honor the beauty of the human form.

Manila-born designer Veejay Floresca, meanwhile, is highly acclaimed for her minimalist and contemporary works. She has already produced numerous collections that enabled her to build a strong brand abroad.

Veejay’s craft now sees her delving into purposeful designs coupled with sustainable practices. By merging her aesthetic with her green initiatives, she was able to produce unique garments while minimizing environmental impact and promoting ethical production methods.

On “Filipinxt,” Veejay will unveil a collection that’s a refreshing and provocative take on men’s dressing attitude.

For “Filipinxt,” designer Veejay Floresca will launch a collection that’s a refreshing and provocative take on men’s dressing attitude.

“The collection draws inspiration from menswear, incorporating tailored silhouettes and classic elements with a modern twist to create a sexy and fashion-forward aesthetic,” Veejay explained.

“Featuring sleek lines, bold textures, and unexpected details, each piece exudes confidence and sophistication while pushing the boundaries of traditional menswear fashion.”

Wilson Limon traces his introduction to the fashion world to his family. Having a dressmaker grandmother and a fashion designer uncle, it was but natural for him to get into fashion design.

He found his own voice in the industry through local tapestries. With his brand, NIñOFRANCO, he was able to craft pieces that wove together the story of modern Filipinos and the heritage of Mindanao’s vibrant ethnolinguistic communities. This is something New Yorkers will see on the runways of “Filipinxt.”

Designer Wilson Limon draws inspiration from the skilled craftsmanship of the T’boli artisans in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

“This collection draws inspiration from the celestial realm of astral agriculture and the skilled craftsmanship of the T’boli artisans in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato,” Wilson said. “Titled ‘Taniba,’ it encapsulates the essence of preparing the land for cultivation, reflecting the intricate blend of cultural richness and artisanal expertise.”

Michael Leyva is no stranger to the global runway as one of the most sought-after designers in the Philippines. For “Filipinxt,” he is crafting an all-white parade, finding the beauty in fine details through luxe materials and complex embellishments.

Designer Michael Leyva will craft an all-white parade for Filipinxt.

“Each garment is crafted to embody the essence of refined luxury, couture, and intricate detailing,” Michael explained.

“My Filipino heritage and couture background are still very much present, infusing every piece with that touch of artistry and craftsmanship. This time around, I’m really focusing on textiles, fabric manipulations, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in couture,” he added.

Michael’s collection will feature about 40 looks for men and women, each crafted to embody elegance, sophistication, and a sense of cultural pride.

“It’s truly a collection to look forward to which I am super excited about.”

For more information, follow @filipinxt.show @manilamarriott on Instagram and Facebook. Contact +1 917 724 6061 or +1 91) 590 2589 and belle.cahulogan@sheratonhotels.com, mabuhay@filipinxt.com for more details.

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