It is a singular honor for any person from a developing country like the Philippines to show his or her talent in a fashion capital like London.
In recent years, Filipino fashion creativity is slowly being recognized in the United Kingdom, after our musical talents have been hailed so resoundingly at West End.
Lesley Mobo, who grew up in Aklan, honed his craft further when he was appointed head designer of Jasmine Di Milo at Harrod’s.
In 2010, the multi-talented milliner Mich Dulce was awarded the prestigious British Council International Young Creative Entrepreneur (IYCE) International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year (IYDEY) Award for Fashion at London Fashion Week.
Last year, design wunderkind John Herrera won Britain’s Top Designer, a competition hosted by Fashion Finest, with his “Agila” collection.
At the House of iKons presentation at London Fashion Week at the Gloucester Millennium Hotel in February this year, three Filipinos were able to flaunt their artistry: Aandre David, Che Aranjuez and Mimi Parrel-Pimentel.
“It is rare for a Filipino fashion talent to be invited to showcase and exhibit her works on such a global scale, alongside the best in the world. As such, it was a privilege for me to participate in that event,” muses Parrel-Pimentel.
House of iKons, under the Lady K Productions of the dynamic Savîta Kayê, scouts for emerging designers from around the world and gives them a platform to show in London, one of the Big Four fashion capitals along with New York, Milan and Paris.
Filipino fashion designers Cary Santiago, Jaki Peñalosa, Happy Andrada and Rocky Gathercole previously joined House of iKons shows in the past years.
In her “Romantic Interlude” collection, Parrel-Pimentel’s sophisticated, classy and tasteful aesthetic was on full display. For the ladies, she used piña strips, cotton silk, Indian sari, Cerutti fabric and Mindanao Silk.
Three of the models were Fil-Brit beauty queens such as Kiara Giel Gregorio, Miss Philippines Air 2016; Kimberly Escartin, Miss Philippines UK 2016 and Miss Great Britain finalist 2017; and Christagale Borja, Miss Philippines UK 2015 and Binibining Pilipinas 2017 Top 15.
Parrel-Pimentel’s ladylike confections attracted several women, receiving inquiries in the process. One of those drawn to her creations was the inspirational Cynthia Alcantara-Barker, the first Filipina councilor in the UK.
Male models, meanwhile, were transformed into dashing, distinguished gentlemen in her piña cocoon silk and Mindanao Silk barong Tagalog.
Parrel-Pimentel created President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s barong Tagalog during his inauguration. She is responsible for the statesman look of the President as his Presidential Fashion Consultant. In this capacity, she also dressed up the ASEAN Ministers and their spouses at ASEAN 2017, as well as top executives of the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, National Defense and Energy.
She is currently practicing in Makati, with an offer to open a shop at the Clark Freeport Zone, but originally hails from Cagayan de Oro. As a native Mindanaoan, she fiercely promotes Mindanao Silk in all her shows and collections.
This devotion to an indigenous product earned her the support of the Department of Tourism’s Tourism Promotions Board’s COO Cesar Montano, who believes in advocating for Pinoy-made products to be be showcased on the international stage.
“I felt overwhelmed and grateful because I was given the opportunity to show my collections at one of the world’s fashion capitals,” said Parrel-Pimentel. “It is so fulfilling because it is my ultimate dream to have a show in London and to see my clothes worn by international models.”