Twelve talented fashion designers showcased their creations at the Puerto Rican Fashion History Council (PRFHC) earlier this month after a demanding evaluation from a group of the island’s fashion gurus.
The 12 participating designers and their creations were originally selected from 80 designers competing to win a spot in “The Emerging” – a fashion provides a platform to showcase the newest talent in Puerto Rican fashion. Their designs were evaluated on the cut, construction of pieces, illustration and conceptualization of their creations, and “total look”.
“It is essential to create the conditions for the professional development of our emerging talents. Against all odds, we are committed to being facilitators,” said Joseph Da’ Ponte, President of the PRFHC.
In August of 2021, in the first round of the competition, 80 young designers virtually presented their collections to a jury composed of various experts in the fashion industry. Their designs were evaluated on the cut, construction of pieces, illustration and conceptualization of their concept, and “total look”. Of those, 40 were selected to continue. In the last round, the Puerto Rican Fashion History Council named the final 12 that would participate in “The Emerging” – a fashion show and platform to showcase new talent in Puerto Rican fashion. “It is essential to create the conditions for the professional development of our emerging talents. Against all odds, we are committed to being facilitators,” said Joseph Da’ Ponte, President of the PRFHC. The show was held on Nov. 3 at the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico, where the 12 designers presented around 10 ensembles each.
Unified by their Puerto Rican backgrounds, the winning designers came from different areas of the island. Most received their fashion education from EDP University’s – San Juan School of Design, or the Lisa Thon Fashion School Design Center. It was a mix of ages, aesthetics, and experiences. Almost all have presented at various fashion venues, including New York Fashion Week, and many have dressed Puerto Rican beauty queens. The participating designers, were: Jorge L. Marrero Oliveras, Wilberto Pérez Irizarry, Kristal Rodriguez, Gabriela Hernández Prego, Gabriel Maisonet, Kristian Alexander, Tania Andrea Torres Pamias, Carmen Peña, Ashleen Castillo, Elvin Joel Méndez Fontánez, William Murphy Guitard, and Bryan Agosto González.
The most untraditional silhouettes and combinations of colors and textures was shown in the WMurphy Collection. Designer William Murphy Guitard hails from Vega Alta. As a youth, his potential was realized after he crafted an unexpectedly stylish dress for his sister when he was 14 years old. Key elements of his inventive ensembles at The Emerging were the use of brightly colored plastic triangles, including a dress and skirt completely made from this material, and absurdly exaggerated, layered puffed sleeves. William’s promise as a designer is to bring unconventional new adventures to the international runway, in a bid to find a unique artistic style through a creatively chaotic mix of textures, silhouettes, and colors. He is an active student at the Lisa Thon Fashion Center and has already had the opportunity to work with iconic artists such as Zion and Lenox, Bad Bunny, and Combo Chimborazo.
Another especially innovative participant was Tania Andrea. With concerns over textile pollution on the rise, Tania Andrea Torres Pamias created TaniAndrea, an environmentally friendly and super-recycling fashion movement that focuses on using recycled textiles. Her movement seeks to create cultural awareness of the problems within garment manufacturing. Thus, her ensembles use textiles recovered and collected worldwide. Her collection at The Emerging was an eclectic mix of fabrics, with an emphasis on recycled jeans. A single pair of jeans, according to Levis Strauss & Co., needs 3,781 liters of water to be produced. Tania came to fashion following years of experience in the communications industry. After her first career gave her perspectives on fashion, trends, and strategic communication, she followed her passion for design and studied at the Dasan Academy. For many years she worked as a dressmaker for Jose Braulio Atelier until she opened TaniAndrea in 2014. Currently, she is an undertreasurer on the board of advisors of the Recycling Museum of Puerto Rico. Tania also offers educational talks about textile pollution to raise awareness in Puerto Rico. Her mission is to create fashion while simultaneously ending the mass production of fast-fashion clothing, applying the formula of the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Miss World Puerto Rico 2016, Stephanie Del Valle Diaz, closed the show praising the participating designers, and reminding the audience that the Miss World 2021 finals will be held in Puerto Rico this December. It will be the first time in the competition’s history that a Spanish-speaking country will be the host.