Today's hip fashion goes like this: Red, blue and yellow. Three stars and a sun. The modern terno. The barong, reloaded. Pinoy fashion, it seems, is definitely treading the nationalistic route.
With the demise of Philippine icons, former President Corazon Aquino and rapper Francis Magalona, Pinoys worldwide now find it cool to sport apparel that showcase their love of country. These days it is normal to wear Pinoy pride on one's sleeve.
One clothing company that carries this trend is My Philippines Lifestyle, Inc., an apparel brand that concentrates on advocating Philippine pride. Started on 2003, the brand sells shirts, bags, jackets, caps, and other products that identify the nation.
In line with this year's National Heroes Day, the brand held a fashion show last Sept. 1 in Aresi Bar and Restaurant in Il Terrazzo, Quezon City titled "Nasyonalismo." Celebrities and exemplary Pinoys who have made change possible in their respective fields volunteered to model the clothes for the good cause.
Brian Dy, brand owner, told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) that the fashion show aimed to promote nationalism on "a more personal level."
He explained, "Nasyonalismo, we did this kasi we want to achieve nationalism in a more personal level. If we see the shirt worn by a particular person—a doctor, a student, everyone—it reminds you to be the best you can be for your family, for your country."
By just buying specially designed "Nasyonalismo" t-shirts, Filipinos actually contribute to achieving this goal. A sizable amount of the sales get contributed to several charitable institutions, like World Vision, Gawd Kalinga, He Cares Foundation, and the Philippine General Hospital.
Former Pinoy Big Brother housemate Uma Khouny was one of the celebrities who walked the runway. He wore the shirt "Tutulong Ako sa Pilipinas."
After the show, he told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) he was very shy because he is not accustomed to modeling.
"Hiyang-hiyang hiyang-hiya. Nung dumating yung moment, di ba nakita mo nung una yung ulo ko nakababa and I start laughing," the Trip na Trip host said.
But Uma took strength from Kythe Foundation, an organization that helps cancer-stricken kids. The sales of a shirt he specifically designed, titled "Gayuma," benefit the charitable institution.
"I am designing a shirt. I have my design, it's already out, and it's very good kasi tutulungan ko yung mga bata na may cancer," he said.
Niccolo Cosme, celebrity photographer and contestant of Celebrity Duets 3, said he wants to contribute to society. He walked the runway wearing a shirt with the print, "The Land of My Birth, The Home of My People."
"It's always welcome naman to give something to society," he said. "We always work, we always get tired, so something like this, it feels very good."
Aissa Penafiel, director of one Filipino short film that made it to the last Cannes Film Festival, and one of the winners of this year's United Nations "Democracy" Video Challenge, wants to promote lasting change.
"I'm doing this for social relevance, giving back to the country, in line with the UN award," Aissa said, who sported a shirt with "Mag-aaral Ako Para sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan."
How different is this t-shirt brand from several others like it? Owner Brian Dy had a nationalistic answer.
"Marami tayong competition, pero like I said, ang panalo country... we promote the same thing, eh. You have your own branch, I have mine, iba-iba lang yung look natin. That's why panalo yung country dito," he asserted.