Negros Oriental’s Finest

lea sicat reyesZEPHYR

Last Monday, I had the singular opportunity to meet a promising fashion designer, Dan Ryan E. Duran.  A Dumagueteño through and through and an alumnus of Silliman University, he walked away with second place honors in the recently concluded National Terno Conference (TERNOCON) Balintawak Category held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

At first glance, you would not know that this unassuming young man was chosen among 28 Filipino designers from all over the Philippines to participate in such a prestigious competition.  “It was so surreal,” David quipped.  “I had to pinch myself to make sure I was wide awake.”  Such humility is one of Dan’s admirable virtues.  Despite the recognition he has gained because of his amazing talent, he remained as grounded as ever.  “While I do want to soar to new heights, I do not want to forget where I come from.  My roots inspire me.”

During the TERNOCON competition, although very Filipino, he drew some inspiration from a fusion of modern Thai and the elegance of Parisian couture.  “I like a healthy dose of eclectic fashion mix without losing the identity of each variable,” Duran shares.  But that, he feels, is his Achilles heel.  “I tend to be so cerebral with my designs so shoot me, “he says with a laugh.  “I want my design to mean something beyond what meets the eye so over-thinking is, admittedly, my thing.”

All that time mulling over the design definitely paid off.  With a breathtaking design as idea and an exquisite Terno as reality, Dan received the Silver Medal for which he won a book about legendary couturier Salvacion Lim-Higgins, a plaque, and a cash prize.  “The award I received was not due to my efforts alone,” Dan says.  “So many people inspired me – my family, my mentors in Silliman University, my friends.  My designs are snapshots of my experiences I shared with them.”  True to form, Dan did not forget his roots.  “I dedicate this award to my fellow Negorenses, “ he says.  “This win is ours.”

Before achieving TERNOCON laurels, David finished a Mass Communication degree in Silliman University.  He spent a couple of years in Dubai to work in a fashion house before coming home to finish a scholarship in SoFA Design Institute in Makati.  He then proceeded to qualify as a designer for TERNOCON where he was mentored by Philippine fashion design heavyweights Inno Sotto, Cary Santiago, and Gino Gonzales.