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Raffles Design Institute Manila Presents Ascent Fashion Show

Albert Andrada's collection

At a very young age, I knew that I was in love with the arts.  I think I was six years old when I started dreaming of becoming a fashion designer.  Accordingly, I can still remember that I used to fill up my school pad papers with drawings of brocaded gowns.

I can still recall my excitement whenever my mother would bring me to the boutique of our long time couture, primarily because the idea of being surrounded by dresses made from finest materials and designed in an intricate manner is just heaven for me.  The boutique is the exact vision of what I like to have when I grow up.

Yet, as we grow up, we tend to change our dreams. Not because we consider it absurd, but probably because society would consider it ridiculous.  For instance, here in the Philippines, fashion design as a career is not a popular choice.  Parents would always want their children to become a doctor, an engineer, or a lawyer.  Rarely, you would find a parent that would dream of his or her child to become a fashion designer, probably because there is a notion that fashion school is too costly or not practical.

In that line, I find myself taking a course in social science believing that I can continue my studies in law school.  Nevertheless, my dream as a child walking along the ramp and being applauded by people for your designs still lingers.

Raffles Design Institute (RDI)

Raffles Design Institute Manila Logo

Raffles Design Institute Manila Logo | Photo source from

One of the schools here in the Philippines that offers a course in fashion design is the Raffles Design Institute.  The school is a brand from Singapore that has dramatically established 30 campuses all over 13 countries.  Twelve campuses are mainly in Asia and one campus is located in Australia.  Raffles Design Institute specializes in creative design and business.  Specifically, the institution offers the following courses Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing and Management, Interior Design, Visual Communication and Business Management with Specialization.  The Philippine campus of Raffles Design Institute will just be celebrating its 4th anniversary this coming July.  Moreso, their campus is located at Metropolitan Avenue in Makati City.

Raffles Design Institute Graduation Rites/Fashion Show

Last June 27,2015, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Raffles Design Institute Manila’s graduation and fashion show. The event was held at the poolside pavilion of the Dusit Thani Manila.  Upon receiving the invite, I instantly felt thrilled because for the first time in my life I would be able to watch a fashion show live.  I felt like I would be re-living my dream that was always there inside me.

Raffles Design Institute Graduation Theme 

The event's program booklet

The event’s program booklet

The theme for this year’s graduation rites is Ascent, meaning to take-off.  I suppose the theme was chosen because it signifies the students’ enthusiasm and readiness to fly high and aim for their endeavors.

So some of the event particulars to resonate the chosen theme include a boarding pass that serves as your ticket and a passport inspired program booklet.  Also, instead of having emcees as front-runners of the program, the event organizers decided to utilize the public address system for queuing.  Definitely, the organizers successfully made us feel that we’re passengers that are about to board a plane.

Raffles Design Institute Student’s Exhibit

Ascent Exhibit

Upon entering the venue, you will be immediately welcomed by a mini exhibit of different art pieces.  The exhibit includes some drawings, photographs, and some crafty figures specially made by the students of Raffles Design Institute.

One of my favorite pieces found in the exhibit is this lamp made from metal keys.  What I love about this piece is how the designer, Jessica Sabido, turned a seemingly ordinary everyday tool into a fashionably spectacular and useful art decoration.

Draco Lamp

This Draco Lamp is made from metal keys fashionably designed to create playful shadows when turned on. Designed by Jessica Sabido an Interior Designer graduating student of RDI Manila

Aside from the gallery, the venue also has an area dedicated for the cocktails.

A Message from Raffles Design Institute’s School Director

The show was welcomed by the Raffles Design Institute’s Director, Mr. Justin Seow.  I can describe his speech as candid.  According to him, until the very last minute, he was still clueless whether to draft a formal speech or just be spontaneous. Yet, he said that he realized that Raffles Design Institute is not a traditional school; hence he decided to deliver it impromptu.

Mr. Justin Seow's welcome remarks

Mr. Justin Seow’s while having his welcome remarks

In his short speech, he mentioned all the names of his entire faculty and thanked them for a wonderful professional experience he had with them. More so, the Director mentioned that all of the graduates will pursue their Masters degree either in Raffles Design institute’s Singapore or Australia campus.

He also expressed his compliments to the parents of the graduates and assured them that their children will receive a very competitive education abroad.

The school director ended his speech by wishing all the attendees to have a wonderful night.

Raffles Design Institute Fashion Show

The ramp of Ascent 2015

The runway of Ascent 2015

The show is a parade of stylish collections from the fashion design graduating students of RDI and from the institute’s fashion gurus, namely Albert Andrada and Ronaldo Arnaldo.  I must say that each participating designer has their own underlining theme in their collection.  Say for instance,this collection from Kim Ang can be considered as urban since the materials used were mostly leather.

Kim Ang's Collection

Kim Ang’s Collection

Meanwhile, the collection of Maria Angelica Manaligod looks so sexy and feminine because of the different stylish cuts she used in her designs while using sheer materials to accentuate her ensembles.

Maria Angelica Manaligod's Collection

Maria Angelica Manaligod’s Collection

Among all the student designers who participated in the fashion show, Mirabai Sebastian’s collection is my favorite, first because it looks comfy to wear and at the same time, it looks very stylish.

Her collection used native materials with intricate tribal details.I also believe that her designs would be perfect for our tropical climate.

Mirabai Sebastian's Collection

Mirabai Sebastian’s Collection

As mentioned earlier, Albert Andrada, the student’s fashion mentor, also participated in the show wherein he showcased her formal wear line.

Albert Andrada's collection

Albert Andrada’s collection


Raffles Design Institute Graduation Rites Proper

Following the fashion show is the graduation rites proper of the students wherein Mr. Justin Seow presented the graduate’s diploma.  To conclude the show, the students had their final runway walk.

The final walk of RDI Class 2015

The final walk of RDI Class 2015

After the show had concluded, a sudden wistfulness came into my mind.  What if I was the one who had the chance to show off my designs on the runway?  What if I was the one who was having a walk on the ramp and being applauded by people?  What if I pursued my childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer?  Would it make me feel good?P erhaps, that’s the nice thing about dreaming.  The possibilities are endless, and it is never too late to chase it.

Summing up, I believe that this show was a success.  Thank you Raffles Design Institute for this wonderful night of art exposition and appreciation and thank you for making me feel that I was relieving my childhood dream.

For inquiries about Raffles Design Institute Manila you may visit their campus in Makati or reach them through the following:

  • Address:1009, Metropolitan Avenue, Makati City.
  • Tel: +63 927 7389898 / +63 927 7389899 | Fax: +63 2812 6026
  • Email:
  • Facebook Official Page:

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  • Liz Orale Aiep

    Thank you for sharing, Roxie. Everyone has a dream, and yours is something that you’ve dreamed of since you were a kid. I’m sure that whatever you decide to do, that path will lead you to the dream, and that shall lead you to your happiness. Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors, and may you be the best at it. Keep it up! Gob bless! 🙂

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