The entire Philippines was delighted last year to see three of its Queens come together in a rare and explosive photoshoot of Miss World Megan Young, Miss International Kylie Verzosa and Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach. Behind the lovely jewel toned satin dresses worn by the three Queens is noted fashion designer and stylist John Rufo.
Rufo has extensive experience designing for various celebrities such as Nadine Lustre, Jessy Mendiola, Coleen Garcia, Carla Abellana, Melai Cantiveros, Maine Mendoza, Arci Munoz, Janine Guiterrez, Kathryn Bernardo and many more.
Despite his illustrious career as a designer, this nursing graduate has not forgotten to give back to society. Rufo is collaborating with the social enterprise and clothing brand KANDAMA. A big part of the proceeds of the sale of Rufo’s designs will go to the construction of a weaving center and help desk for underprivileged Indigenous women from a tiny village in Ifugao. The said social enterprise aims to create products that incorporate traditional designs with modern aesthetics.
In an exclusive KAMI interview, Rufo said that he wants to help the weavers in Ifugao because its weaving tradition is dying. “I see the potential of the weave fabrics with the right design for every pattern. I think it will be wearable”, Rufo adds.
Aside from doing good to the indigenous women in Ifugao, Rufo wants to help fellow designers who are also designing for KANDAMA. “[I want to help my] fellow designers in starting their careers because I know how it feels like…starting as a new designer. It is really hard to make a name.”
John shared that he always wanted to be in fashion but his parents wanted him to take up a medical course. So after finishing nursing, he pursued his dreams of becoming a designer.
When asked about what the public should expect about his designs for Kandama, Rufo said, “you'll [see] cleanliness and wearability. More separate pieces to mix and match and fabric manipulating.”
If one wants to feel like a queen just like Pia, Megan and Kylie, Rufo is definitely the designer to turn to.
The official launch of KANDAMA will be on July 1, at FEU Manila. Please join Rufo in helping the indigenous community in Ifugao with their livelihood and in continuing their tradition by buying their “bulul” shirt. Proceeds will go to the weavers of Julongan Village in Ifugao.
To know more about KANDAMA Social Enterprise, watch their video and like them on Facebook and Instagram.