The New York Fashion Week is the most awaited season for fashion enthusiasts, world-class designers, and internationally acclaimed models to conquer the catwalk. For this year’s Fashion Week, celebrities, international designers, and models coming from all over the world, gathered to witness the annual fashion feast that was held at the posh Gotham Hall’s turn-of-the-century gilded ballroom, right in the heart of Broadway in New York City.
But what added to the gala’s sparkle was Alegre de Pilipinas’ participation, as it showcased its brands and creations along with their models, advocates, and brand ambassadors. The runway presentation was part of the NYFW hiTechMODA Season 9 and was hinged on Alegre de Pilipinas’ mission to promote and provide an international platform for emerging and indie Filipino fashion designers, models, brands, and companies and give them an opportunity to parade their designs in the fashion capitals such as New York now, and soon, Milan and Paris.
Shane Kin sashays
No one can be prouder than Sheriel Laquio, also known as Shane Kin, who was the only true-blooded Filipino who conquered the New York Fashion Week 2023 runway. Born and raised in Lamitan City, Basilan, Shane proudly walked the New York stage donning the creations of Filipino designers Jerry Feniza (House of Jerry Feniza) and Amiel Noble (Noble Creations). Noble is renowned for his Filipino-inspired designs featuring handiworks made from local fabrics and materials such as pina, abaca, and jusi while Feniza featured his craftsmanship through his Marol collection—all of which Shane wore with pride as she sashayed the Gotham Hall runway.
Noble’s and Feniza’s creations revolve around the Philippines—our culture, fabric, and craftsmanship—as depicted in their Filipiniana designs. The gowns and clothes highlighted during the fashion gala melded stylish classics and contemporary tweaks, which are beautiful ways of promoting the Filipino heritage to the international fashion scene.
“The designs are so beautiful, and I enjoyed wearing them and I am proud to wear what is truly ours,” the CEO, traveler, and runway model gushed. Shane also recalled the moment she stepped into the New York Fashion Week runway: “I had goosebumps! In my past stints in the Philippines, I would always have jitters, but there I was just calm, collected, overjoyed. I never dreamed I would be walking the same catwalk where only global supermodels like Gigi Hadid walked on. But what made it more dreamlike is walking the runway wearing a Filipino creation. The feeling was overwhelming,” she added.
What started as a simple dream in High School, when Shane began to join local beauty pageants in her hometown in Zamboanga City and Cebu, has become a larger-than-life dream that came true just recently. At 16, Shane moved to Cebu to pursue her passion for modeling and she used to be an ambassadress of brands, and had modeling stints for small dress shops. Now that she has come this far, she is still in utter disbelief with the happy turn of events. “It was never in my wildest dreams that I would find myself in New York Fashion Week! When Alegre de Pilipinas invited me last year, I was reluctant because I stopped modeling when I went to Australia. Then I realized that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I gave it a try this year. This was the biggest break in my career,” she revealed.
Looking back, I am just happy to inspire young models that it’s okay to start small and to continue believing that one day, they will also conquer the global runway.
Personally, Shane also dabbles with designing, and apparently, she loves clothes. She has a dress shop in her hometown, where she creates her designs, has the dresses sewn in Thailand, and displays them in her quaint boutique. Shane even wore one of her personal designs during a photo shoot for the New York Fashion Week. “People kept asking ‘Who are you wearing?’ And I proudly told them that I’m wearing my own design,” she laughed. “It gives me a bit of an edge because I do not only wear clothes for the runways, but I do understand fashion, as I design my own clothes too.”
For Shane, everything was surreal…and memorable. At the New York Times Square Electronic Billboard she was also featured, along with other models for ALEGRE DE Pilipinas/Alegre Philippines for New York Fashion Week 2023. Shane also shared that after the NY Fashion Week, she has joined quite a number of their events and she believes that there was a reason why she returned to the runway. She actually got invited to another show in September this year. This time, in Paris! “That would be another first for me but after Paris, it would be time to rest, I guess. I want to focus and grow my business,” she smiled. The model currently lives in Cebu where she manages her businesses including her Highlights Bar and Lounge (located in V. Rama Avenue, Cebu City), a hip and happening venue where free-spirited Cebuanos unwind, to wine and dine, after a long day.
“Personally, I just tried but I know I won’t make modeling a priority. I have already proven myself, as a Filipino, that we could conquer the international runway and that is more than enough for me,” she mused. Modeling during her 20s was a must because that was her bread and butter and it helped send her to school, she recalled. Growing older, Shane has a different set of priorities, and this time, her business is top of mind.
“Looking back, I am just happy to inspire young models that it’s okay to start small and to continue believing that one day, they will also conquer the global runway. I never expected to be part of the New York Fashion Week, so I believe that young, aspiring models—as long as they continue to follow their passion—will also have a great chance to dominate the international fashion scene one day,” Shane concluded.
Filipino designers based in San Diego, California, who represented Alegre de Pilipinas USA at the New York Fashion Week 2023 were Noble Creations Online by Amiel Noble, Bayt Almawda by Mir Tawasil, House of Gerry Feniza, Jean Amour Couture by Jean Pioso, Neal’s Ensembles /Collections /Rental Gowns/Bislig by Neliza Neal.
Alegre de Pilipinas continues to tap the up-and-coming designers who are talented and creative but are yet to be discovered by the global fashion industry and gives them their much-awaited break. Some designs featured were created at home, not in big fashion studios, as Alegre de Pilipinas stands by its credo: to help showcase new-to-market but phenomenal Filipino talent—both designers and models—conquer the global fashion world’s runway.