Young Filipino fashion designer lone PH representative in Hong Kong competition

An upcycled collection of discarded textiles and secondhand bed sheets of 21-year-old style innovator Darius Jireh Juson is the country’s representative in Hong Kong’s Redress Design Award Competition, the world’s largest sustainable fashion design contest.

Spearheaded by Redress Asia, a non-government organization and environmental charity that promotes sustainability in the fashion industry, the competition was launched together with the government’s Create Hong Kong (CreateHK), an agency that champions for the promotion and development of the creative industries in Hong Kong.

With the goal to transform the global fashion industry, the event opens the eyes of emerging designers on the circular fashion system and its sustainable design theories and techniques. It likewise serves as a platform and rewards promising fashion game-changers to maximize the long-term impact of their design innovations.

As the lone Filipino semi-finalist, Juson raised the flag of Philippine artistry and craftsmanship among a roster of fellow designers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Italy, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, Spain, Sri Lanka, U.S.A, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

The budding artist from Davao City finished a Basic Fashion Design Course from the Fashion Institute of Design and Arts Davao. He is currently honing his creative talent under the Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) Program of the De la Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila.

Entitled Bedroom Fairytale: Act 1, Juson’s Redress Design Award entry is a 10-piece womenswear line that narrates the life cycle of a garment.

Conceptualized and created with versatility, functionality and sustainability in mind, the collection utilized discarded textiles and secondhand bed sheets, sourced from his home and thrift shops, as well as quilted cotton commonly found in placemats and aprons.

His inspirations come from childhood memories and his fascination with transformative costumes in theatrical shows and animated feature films. “I can recall how I used to drape bed sheets around me and how I turn them into different looks with just safety pins and belts,” he beamed.

“Bedroom Fairytale: Act 1 shows the cyclical process of how we can extend the lives of fabrics: From a bedsheet, revived into a garment, then back as a textile for kitchen or dining use,” he explained.

The series is also Juson’s contribution to reduce waste and lessen the use of raw materials. He even opted for natural dyeing techniques to decrease the overall environmental impact of the production.

“I want my audience to see beyond the glamour and sophistication that fashion can offer. I want them to value the things they already have – there’s always beauty in it,” he expressed.

“I think it’s time to be responsive to the current environmental issues,” he added. “Now that we’ve seen the alluring side of fashion, I encourage them to join the slow fashion movement by renting, swapping, or wearing their clothes longer or by buying secondhand, pre-loved, or vintage pieces. Let’s be conscious of creating an impact on the environment.”

“It is reinventing the idea of clothing – its life does not end after being sold, rather, there is a new journey of what it can be on the hands of the end-user,” Juson explained.

Discover more about Bedroom Fairytale: Act 1 through this link. Those who wish to support Juson advance into the final round may vote through this link.