Kawaii in Manila 2

The first kawaii convention in the Philippines just ended, and I’m so hungover that I’m already blogging about it! I can’t remember having this much fun at any other convention I’ve been to. I need this to happen annually!

You could really tell that everyone in the convention truly lived the kawaii lifestyle, and were overjoyed that this movement is really starting to flourish in Manila. There may have been differences in which subculture they were most inclined to (i.e. gyaru, different kinds of lolita, mori kei, fairy kei, visual kei, decora, etc.) but everyone shared the same love for Japanese fashion and culture. I couldn’t help but be amazed at the fact that I can actually be part of this happy, kawaii community! Just positive vibes everywhere! 

So I went to the convention to support my wonderful friends Kaila, Anne and Ashley, meet the people in the community, and take photos of their outfits!

(Very slumberdoll circa 2009-2011. I also didn’t plan on having my photos taken so pardon the lazy and unkempt ponytail – oops!)

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KawaiiPH! <3

Had some business to attend to in the morning and early afternoon, so I arrived at Whitespace around 4:15-ish already. I missed the first fashion show. Boo! 

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First things first (I’m the realest! – couldn’t help it)

I checked out the Kawaii Art Exhibit! The theme was “My interpretation of kawaii, and how it influenced my art.” 

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By Anne Pinero and Nina Nguyen.

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By Mariness Rivera and Erica Rielle Gapas.

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By Franchesca Mae Acpal and Alexis Matic.

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By Tish Valenzuela and Ran Soneja.

There were more featured artists whose work I wanted to take photos of, but due to time constraints, I couldn’t, huhu. MISSION FAILED!

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Anyhow…

I’m so glad I finally met Reese! I really feel strongly about her personal style (and she’s got a wonderful singing voice too)! We actually graduated from the same course in Ateneo (Information Design) but I’m a year or two older, I think! 

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Speaking of Information Design, I was batchmates with Miguel/Merky (or in this photo, Miguelita?), and even had a few classes together! And I knew Jin from way, way back my cosplay (photography) and deviantART days. Definitely two of the most talented (and most humble) cosplayers of our generation! Always so nice to bump into them! I always get so nostalgic.

Around this time, I started taking more people photos! I swear I need to take notes from these lovely people when it comes to doing kawaii poses! I used to do them a lot, but I somehow unlearned it? Teach me thy ways. D: 

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Everyone can definitely fit right in Harajuku! Japanese fashion brands (at least the ones that are not fast fashion) may not be easily accessible in the Philippines YET, but this event has just proven that it all boils down to intense passion.

If you like something strong enough, you can find ways to do it, even with limited resources! Thankfully, some of these kawaii girls had booths during the event, sharing the kawaii love with their handmade accessories, DIY products, original design dresses, re-worked vintage pieces, etc. Nothing is impossible!

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One of my ultimate dreams is for Japanese clothing brands to open stores in Manila, and I’d like to think that we’ll get there someday. Hopefully, in this lifetime! For now, thanks to the organizers, there’s Lucy Pop! They had a pop-up store in Rockwell a few months ago.

Lucy Pop is a Japanese brand that is all about the kawaii schoolgirl look! They had a booth where you could freely try on some of the uniforms.  

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Loved the Lucy Pop fashion show! I used to be such a huge fan of the Japanese school girl look that I’d improvise by using existing items in my closet.

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LucyPop now makes it so much easier though. The uniforms can be bought as a set, or you can just get one or two individual items to complete an existing outfit. P.S. They have the best neckties!

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Thank you Lucy Pop!

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The Harajuku fashion show followed a few minutes after. This was what I anticipated most.

I’m so proud of Ashley for styling this segment! I knew she worked super hard to get these items from different stores in Harajuku. She even flew in from Japan just to attend this event! Talk about dedication and hard work. 

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Some of the participating brands were Josiah Chua, Lactose Intoler-Art by Brandon Rierson, Funktique Tokyo, PIN NAP Harajuku and Punk Cake Harajuku.

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Kawaii lifestyle isn’t just for girls. It’s for everyone!

These guys rocked their outfits like professionals! I’m pretty sure they also have a unique sense of style to be able to pull these kinds of outfits off!

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How to properly do neon and print-on-print. This is so tasteful! I love you, Ashley.

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Real life doll!

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BAE! <3

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Last but not the least – KawaiiPH founders Kaila and Anne talked about the history of Kawaii in Manila. They were on the verge of tears as they mentioned how this event only started as a dream. I was so ready to cry with them, huhu. I’d like to think that I can speak on everyone’s behalf when I say that we all shared the same dream. Thank you Kaila and Anne for making this collective dream a reality! It could not have manifested without the KawaiiPH team!

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Kaila, the lady of the moment, and her brother who is one of the organizers. We also have to thank him for supporting Kaila’s dream! I got to talk to him after the closing speech, and their story is so unbelievably inspiring.

As long as you believe that something can happen, it will happen. Things may seem like a long shot, but you will never know until you try your hardest to make them work. 

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With Kaye, Reese, Kaila, ChiChi and Ashley. From this picture, you can conclude that legwear and socks are essential to the Japanese kawaii look, lol. 

I’m so in love with this photo because it shows various interpretations of Japan’s long list of fashion subcultures!

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Matched with Anne too! And together, we formed the Gingham Girls.

Where you lead, I will follow~ (If you don’t get this, it only means that I’m old)

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SO CUTE! You just want to put her in your pocket. Such a doll! 

Bonus: Photobomber Reese!

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What’s more genius than incorporating Filipiniana touches to Japanese fashion? Kaila wore butterfly sleeves too!

Before I left, I took some photos of the booths. Didn’t get to buy anything because I had to leave asap for another appointment, so I have no choice but to look at these photos and hope that I can get full with purely eye candy.

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Laforet Harajuku feels!

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I hate how my iPhone doesn’t have a space to insert these kinds of phone charms…

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Can’t get any more kawaii than false lashes and ribbons.

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Pimp your phone! 

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Rilakkuma is not a bear, but a personification of a bear.

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SUGAR RUSH! This stuff is made of happiness. No wonder kawaii girls are also the happiest girls!  

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Can I bring the whole Dolly Wink booth home? I still think that Dolly Wink produces the best false eyelashes in the world. If you’ve already given up on cheap, low-quality false eyelashes, let Dolly Wink enlighten you once more. 

What a way to end a stressful week! Congrats to the KawaiiPH team! Kawaii in Manila was successful in addressing and representing different aspects of Japanese kawaii culture – art, music, fashion, beauty, and a welcoming community that is open to all kinds of styles!

Sad I couldn’t stay longer and chat with everyone! Wishing and praying for Kawaii in Manila 3 to come sooner!