Baju Raya fashionistas


BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro

Brunei will receive plus AstraZeneca vaccine batches in June, Modena vaccine by late June or early July, followed by Pfizer-NTech vaccines, to cover Covid19 vaccination for 70 percent of the population by yearend.

Yet, some Bruneian seniors are not keen on being vaccinated during Ramadan, which doesn’t violate the fast.

Tailors are glued to sewing machines days before Ramadan blooms into colorful Hari Raya baju kebaya, women’s long-sleeved dress, and baju kurong, (traditional dress).

“Elegance is the name,” pronounces Kalibo, Aklan’s Edwin Bantigue, Brunei’s original Filipino fashionista since the ’80’s.

Edwin came in 1986 as Brunei’s first Filipino fashion designer, and worked with Siti Noraizah Borja aka Andy Latif’s Whealten House of Beauty and Fashion.

Edwin, Rene Salud and Gener Gozum’s ex-ghost designer, sketches before customer a different design for every fabric.

“Because of time element that the baju has to be finished before Hari Raya, I combine beads in a way it looks like there is embroidery when there is none,” Edwin says.

“I play with embroidery all over the body, coordinate the print and fabric style, and toy with the beed that crawl away from the embroidery, with tone effect, from dark to light,” says the couturier par excellence.

Philippine Ambassador to Brunei Virginia H. Benavidez introduced Bantigue to the diplomatic community in the 1990s.

Ernesto “Boyet” Paulino was 28 when he started cutting, sewing and beading baju kebaya for Brunei women to wear on Hari Raya to celebrate the end of the 1978 fasting month.

Says Boyet, who turns 65 on May 24: “One customer usually orders a set of five clothes plus three sets each for every child and carries a bag of clothing material.

Every year, last minute customers send five or six orders and want to pick the completed sets on first Raya.

He stops accepting sewing orders during Ramadan.

“I don’t want to face an angry, scissor-wielding customer threatening to cut my clothes over her unfinished baju kurong to wear on Hari Raya,” he says.
He stops accepting sewing orders during Ramadan.

“From Puasa (fasting month) to Hari Raya, we usually make 12 sets a day,” he says.

Last year’s Covid19 dropped Hari Raya customers by up to 70% when mosques were closed, open houses discouraged, social distancing imposed.

Fashion designer Eddie Baddeo staged a glittering fashion show featuring Filipino and Bruneian models in the upmarket Alsec Couture at Komplex Harapan in Kuala Belait on July 31,1993.

Sarah Anido, actor Alfie’s mom and Mang Ben Farrales’ part time model, stole the pool side show of a local proprietress, whose business partner, Veron Enriquez, brought Baddeo to Brunei.

Veron also brought fashion czar Rudy Fuentes to Brunei in July 1993.
Rudy’s first fashion show in Brunei in honour of Her Majesty the queen on her October 1993 birthday featured Brunei women wearing Rudy’s creations in a 40-minute show that went 10-minutes overtime at Brunei’s Parliament House.

Pinoy fashionistas’ stitch on time saves them late busy sewing nights.

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