Life changed immediately for fashion designer Avel Bacudio when he experienced blindness due to retinal detachment 14 years ago. But instead of giving up, he was motivated to use this experience to help others like him, all while using his talent for creating clothes.
By putting his advocacy for the visually impaired children at the forefront, Avel is using fashion as an initiative to raise awareness and fund to support the children in La Trinidad, Benguet. “Napanood ko sa isang TV (show) na kailangan ng mga bata sa La Trinidad ng help kasi mga visually impaired and abandoned children sila. 'Yun yung ginagawa ko ngayon, helping them,” he shares with ABS-CBN Lifestyle.
Last year, Avel collaborated with actor Matteo Guidicelli for a collection of ripped jeans, wherein a percentage of the sales went to the said foundation. And just last month, he launch a collection with Alden Richards of athleisure clothes benefitting the same foundation. Avel adds, “Kasi yun lang naman ang pwede kong gawin. Yun ang talent ko—to design and create, to share them your talents.”
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And fittingly, the upcoming ABS-CBN Ball’s philanthropic efforts for Bantay Bata 163 is in line with Avel’s advocacy. “Very connected din sa akin, (which) is for the visually impaired children in La Trininidad,” says 2014 Asia’s Most Influential Designer.
The same artistic talent that makes Avel a go-to by celebrities is also reflected in his modern Barong Tagalog creations for the upcoming ball. “To stay true to my aesthetic or design, I wanted na lahat ng gagawan ko ngayon, lalaki. Para naman maiangat yung sinasabing Modern Tagalog,” he shares.
This year, Kapamilya stars like Jameson Blake, Carlo Aquino, Jerome Ponce, Ketchup Eusebio, Kyle Velino, Pepe Herrera, Bryan Poe, Ryan Santos, and Donny Pangilinan will be wearing Avel's creations. Each Barong Tagalog, Avel says, has a story that relates to our country. He explains, “Kasi diba pag sinabing barong, barong na simple lang? So, this time barong siya na classic with a heart sa country natin.”
Carlo's and Jerome's barongs, for instance, are connected to their upcoming teleserye about soldiers. It's silk cocoon dyed to look like fatigue print, and the cultured pearls and Mother of Pearls stitched to the barongs represent the soldiers. Meanwhile, Kyle's barong is inspired by our National Flower, sampaguita, while Donny Pangilinan's outfit is inspired by solihiya chairs, and Pepe Herrera's barong takes inspiration from the Mindanao tribes.
Avel wishes that the ABS-CBN Ball will achieve its goals for the foundation. “Ang ABS-CBN Ball, buong Pilipinas or mga Pilipino sa ibang bansa, inaantay yan. I hope (through the) ABS-CBN Ball, kung ano yung hinihingi nilang help (para) sa Bantay Bata 163, mabigay, kasi kailangan nila 'yun eh.” He thus encourages everyone else to show their support as well. “Kung meron kayong sobra or nakaka angat ng konti, kahit konti, pwede naman tumulong kasi mga kapatid naman natin sila, mga kadugo naman natin sila. May mga taong naghihirap na, sila pa yung tumutulong. Sana lahat tayo ganun.”
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Photos from @avelbacudio