Manchester’s Jason Buendia debuts at NYFW with one red gown

The designer and the dress: Bold and powerful color.

The designer and the dress: Bold and powerful color.

By Cristina DC Pastor

Catriona Gray and the jeepney.

They were the creative inspirations behind the red suit gown that paved the way for Manchester, U.K. design student Jason Buendia to debut at New York Fashion Week.

Considered one of this year’s young, promising designers, Jason, 20, presented just one design. Using layers, wraps, and a cape-like blazer worn loosely around the waist, Jason turned a straightforward red dress into a complex piece of clothing using three types of fabric and many layers of possibilities.

“My design is just a simple dress turned into something modern,” he explained in an interview with The FilAm. The three-piece ensemble uses soft cotton satin for the dress, pure wool for the jacket, and polyester for the skirt layering – all of them in crimson red.

“My inspiration is the jeepney,” Jason said. He explained how the dress is the body of the jeepney. The pleated skirt appears to represent the wheels. The overlays and sheets of textile appear to symbolize the tassels, the pop art, the graffiti, and the religious icons that typically adorn this mode of public transportation popular in the Philippines.

Unlike the kaleidoscopic colored jeepney, however, Jason’s dress is a consistent red.

He explained, “I chose red for Catriona Gray (who wore a red gown when she won Miss Universe). Red empowers Filipinos, it’s bold and powerful. Red is our color this year.”

Jason enjoying the Rockefeller Center

Jason enjoying the Rockefeller Center

“Everyone loved (my dress),” he added coyly. As he was walking to his dress, he heard people raving about it.

Jason began drawing and playing with colors and patterns as a young boy of 12 growing up in Baguio.

“I would design dresses for relatives, wedding dresses or prom dresses. Sometimes dresses for high school friends using recycled material,” he said.

The son of a single mother who works as a senior carer in a United Kingdom hospital, the Jason is a full-time student at Salford University in Manchester, England. As a freshman student of fashion design, one of the school’s projects is for students to land a slot at New York Fashion Week. He learned later that his design made the cut and that he was to fly to New York in three weeks for a ramp showcase. Thrilled but totally caught by surprise, Jason launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money so he could ship the dress to New York.

“I still can’t believe it that I got to show my first year work in New York Fashion Week,” writes Jason on Facebook. “Thank you to everyone who helped me and who believed in me.”

Everything happened too fast for Jason. He would like to take things slowly when he goes back home. For sure, he will create new designs and perhaps aim for London Fashion Week.

“I think the bar was set too high,” he said.

© The FilAm 2019

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