MEGA Young Designers Competition: Why Its Purpose Still Resonates Today

MEGA Young Designers Competition: Why Its Purpose Still Resonates Today


The Young Designers Competition, in its history, remains as the legacy of Sari V. Yap that underscores fashion’s relevance beyond the glossy pages, as well as MEGA’s role in uplifting the grit of Filipino talent

When Sari V. Yap founded the first homegrown fashion magazine in 1991, her vision of fronting fashion and sharing the space for Filipino talent was through flipping pages. Three years later, she kept her words—“We will change and lead if need be.” Before Project Runway, there was the Young Designers Competition. Fashion lives on because of the hands responsible for threading their talent from one fabric to another. The sartorial world continues because of actual individuals who create, but are also more than their designs. Hence, the vye for carrying MEGA’s young designer title was born in 1994. 

RELATED: ARE YOU READY: The MEGA Young Designers Competition Is Back This 2018!

A blueprint in Filipino fashion

When the late founder talked about YDC before her passing, she asserted that it was all about identity. “It’s really [about] emphasizing that the people who would win the competition had to have or manifest that really clear identity that was not only personal, but also national. Otherwise, we would just be a copy of everything else that was going on outside,” she pointed out.

Throughout its history, the competition established its high regard for craftsmanship by inviting established names such as Josie Natori, Cynthia Rowley, FIT Professor Elaine Stone, French Vogue Editor Annie Flanders, Harper’s Bazaar and V Magazine’s Stephen Gan, and Filipino model Raya Mananquil as critics.

A platform for Filipino talent

Nineteen years later, MEGA extended the platform of designers to their television screens. The brand continued its promise that the project was about shared identity. So, with the audience’s evolving sources of taste and trends, the Young Designers Competition premiered on the ETC Channel in 2013. “Looking at the present, I’m glad to see that fashion designing has become a lucrative and respected vocation. And even though the zeitgeist has evolved from those initial exclusive beginnings, providing a venue to showcase design ingenuity is still as relevant as ever.” 

Propelled by the drama and beauty as seen on fashion-related series and films, the reality TV format of YDC added an edge to its purpose and became a hit to its supporters. Eighteen budding talents were selected by Yap, MEGA’s then Fashion Editor Angela Alarcon, and YDC Alumnus Avel Bacudio. Inside the School of Fashion Design and the Arts, also known as SoFA, the contestants designed their pieces and stitched their stories in every work. 

Throughout the history of the Young Designers Competition, a number of notable Filipino designers have found their footing in the industry, such as the first Young Designer winner Furne One Amato, along with Rajo Laurel, Ivarluski Aseron, Gian Romano, Mich Dulce, Patrice Ramos Diaz, James Reyes, Aries Lagat, Russell Villafuerte, Vanessa Ang, Renan Pacson, Patricia Santos, Emir Yamamoto, Jeffrey Rodaror, Mike Yapching, John Herrera, Ram Silva, and Mara Chua.

The keeper of Filipino future

Sari V. Yap’s vision with MEGA goes beyond highlighting fashion in the Filipino lens. Through the Young Designers Competition, it is more than just what’s fashion, but who is fashion and its future. Four years after her passing, the late founder left a few words that remain true for her brainchild’s vision and mission. 

“MEGA wanted to contribute something to the industry that wasn’t just chronicling events. We thought the best way to do that was to discover new designers and infuse new blood into the industry. It was what we wanted to do then, and it’s what we’re doing now.” 

Sari V. Yap

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