A young Filipina designer was adjudged top designer in the recently concluded Fashion Week San Diego (FWSD).

IMG 3678 - Filipina designer adjudged top designer in California fashion tilt
Bea Cruz
(Photo by Josh Garcia)

Bea Cruz, the lone Filipina designer in this year’s show, bested eight other California-based designers for the title “FWSD 2020 1st Place Top Designer.”

Aside from being named top designer for this year’s fashion show, the 22-year-old designer’s fashion startup brand Bea Cruz PH also bagged the Art & Beauty Behind Fashion 2020 Best Team award.

Cruz showcased her “Vivirá” collection in the FWSD 2020, which was inspired by the country’s traditional clothing baro’t saya, panuelo, and barong.

“Vivirá is a Spanish word that means “will live”. Traditional clothing will live beyond generations as fashion further evolves. It is our root. And my collection is my modern take to it,” Cruz told Manila Bulletin in an interview.

FWSD is a fashion week, which features budding fashion designers from around the world.

Founded in 2007 by fashion design professor Allison Andrews, the FWSD is known as the only “bi-national Fashion week in the world.”

Based on its official website, it is also “the longest-running and biggest Fashion Week that is independently owned and operated.”

This year, the FWSD held an actual show last Oct. 17 with very limited guests, which were also live stream on their social media platforms.

Cruz, a budding designer from Nueva Ecija, said her experience in FWSD was “very humbling.”

“It’s very humbling to know that you are able to make things happen that are once out of your reach. It makes you passionate even more. And having this kind of recognition is just something I have never imagined,” Cruz said.

“This is also my parents’ recognition for their never-ending support since day one. I’m a ‘late bloomer,’ most especially in school, and seeing them happy and proud with what I do now is really heart-warming and accomplishing,” she added.

‘First steps to the catwalk’

Cruz said she handed an application to be able to join the show.

After getting accepted, she started making plans for the fashion show, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic all her plans went “downhill.”

Since she can’t fly to San Diego for the show due to restrictions, Cruz said she had to ship all her garments from the Philippines.

“I had to pivot and work on the best I could amidst the uncertainty. Working under time constraint had me breaking down while sewing my garments,” she shared.

fwsd - Filipina designer adjudged top designer in California fashion tilt
(FWSD / MANILA BULLETIN)

The 22-year-old said the whole process was “literally going through ‘butas ng karayom’.”

Though she only watched FWSD virtually, Cruz said she felt “intimidated” during the fashion show as it was her first international runway and she was competing against designers who have been in the industry for years.

“Here I am, just 22 with starting experience. But Fashion Week San Diego kept me motivated and inspired despite the situation we are in right now,” Cruz, who has been doing fashion design for two years, said.

When asked about what sets her apart from other emerging designers, Cruz said: “I know throwing yourself into this industry, you should know your edge but I, myself, is still finding my common ground.”

“I love telling stories and reaching the hearts of many through my clothes. Sultry and sophistication will always be the BeaCruz brand,” she added.

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