This designer-led conference is changing the business of fashion

This designer-led conference is changing the business of fashion

Contrary to popular belief, design talent and trade savvy can make the perfect pair.

Photos courtesy of PHx Fashion Conference


There is a question every young fashion designer must ask themselves: “How do I take my work to the global stage?” In the Philippines, the business of fashion and dealing with the worldwide market is an elusive part of education, with most schools focusing on design and dressmaking. A group of young fashion designers aims to change this once and for all, which is not to say that they are revamping local fashion education, but creating a fashion conference focused on creating business ties.

Called the PHx Fashion Conference, the initiative is headed by Esme Palaganas, Seph Bagasao, Jennie Contreras, Bea Samson, Ken Samudio, and RJ Santos. The idea for the conference came about as the group encountered the realities of navigating the business side of the fashion industry. “Personally, I had several missed opportunities for my brand Basic Movement just (from) not knowing the right way to conduct business outside (of the country),” Esme shares. “During these situations, we turned to each other, us designers and designer friends, on how they were able to go about this before making a decision.”

The conference aims to broaden the horizons for Philippine fashion, by providing a holistic, inspirational, and informative series of talks and workshops. It will run for four days, from Nov. 11 to 14 at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City. “PHx’s goal is to equip aspiring and current fashion and lifestyle business owners — be it designers, employees in operations, or product developers — in attaining the best practices and global standards by bringing in like-minded professionals and lecturers from here and abroad,” Esme adds.

PHx Fashion Conference speakers include designer Carl Jan Cruz, co-owner and design director Rik Rasos of Proud Race and retailer Mike Concepcion.

For its first conference (organizers say they are in it for the long haul), the focus will hone in on Japan, and how our designers can penetrate this market. Industry stalwarts Teresa Ortiz-Matera and Trickie Lopa have signed on as advisers (that’s how you know it’s legit), which is part of the reason why Japan is the focus for the conference’s first run — OrtizMatera serves as the Philippine consultant for Tokyo Fashion Week, and was also a judge at the recently-concluded Bench Design Awards, which is sending its winners to Rakuten Fashion Week in Tokyo.


Design talent and business acumen don’t always go hand-in-hand. This designer-led conference aims to change that.


Over the four days, attendees will dive deep into Japanese market culture and patterns, export costing and pricing, modes of distribution, and more — really the nitty-gritty of what it means to make a business out of fashion. 

Speakers include award-winning Australian fashion director and editor Jason Lee Coates, marketing and business administration expert Hirohito Suzuki of H30 Fashion Bureau, Aranaz creative director Amina Aranaz-Alunan, fashion retailer Mike Concepcion, London-trained Filipino fashion designer Carl Jan Cruz, Tokyo-based skincare brand Damdam co-founder Giselle Go, Tokyo-based clothing and shoe brand JMan founder and designer Johann Manas, Proudrace co-owner and design director Rik Rasos, and of course, Ortiz-Matera. If that already sounds like a lot to take in, hold on to your thinking caps: more speakers are set to be announced soon.

Apart from the business discussions, the conference will also include a series of creative talks and panel discussions, led by the aforementioned designers on the roster. What’s more is that select participants will get the chance to sit down for a portfolio review with the conference speakers; however, it will be opened to 16 pre-selected participants only. So if you think you’ve got the design chops but don’t have a clear direction on how to take your brand global, submit away.


Passes for the conference are now available at Regular 4-day passes will cost P12,500, but are available at an early bird rate of P11,000. Students can get them at P9,500. For more updates, follow @phxfashionconference on Instagram.

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