Filipino queens to greet New Yorkers through Times Square billboard
MANILA, Philippines — A group of Filipino beauty queens will appear on a billboard in Times Square in New York City, showcasing a local fabric called “musa,” United States-based designer Katniss Griffiths shared the news with the Inquirer.
Among the titleholders who will grace the billboard are Filipino beauties who shone on the international stage — 2022 Miss Elite International first runner-up Shanon Tampon and 2020 Miss Globe fourth runner-up Rowee Lucero.
International models Anaisz and Jenaya Lee have likewise joined the stellar assembly of billboard models, which also include Binibining Pilipinas alumnae Patricia Ann Tan and Francesca Taruc, Bb. Mandaluyong Shaira Rona, and Bb. Angono Sherrymae Valenzuela.
“The billboards will coincide with New York Fashion Week (NYFW), and will feature my latest collections with ‘House of Musa,’ ‘Musa Bufanda’ and ‘Musa de Kurbata’ by Katwalk Industries,” Griffiths told the Inquirer in an interview.
She said she decided to launch her collections through a billboard because she was not able to mount a show for NYFW as she got preoccupied with her responsibilities as head of the Miss Aura Philippines organization.
“We were focused on preparing Micca (Rosal) for Miss Aura International,” Griffiths explained.
Rosal won the right to represent the Philippines at the Miss Aura International pageant when she bagged the title in Griffith’s inaugural staging of the Miss Aura Philippines pageant in June. She now hopes to inherit the international crown which Faith Garcia won for the country last year.
It was Griffiths who also appointed Garcia to become the first Filipino delegate Miss Aura International contest in its 14th edition last year. Rosal hopes to duplicate the international queen’s feat in the global tilt’s upcoming staging in Turkey this month.
For her latest fashion collections, Griffiths said she collaborated with Joy Soo of Musa Fabrics in the Philippines “to help Filipinos here and abroad.”
Soo’s textile enterprise supports the “Musa Advocacy,” where members of the indigenous community in Davao del Norte and persons deprived of liberty gain livelihood by weaving “musa” fabric from the banana plant.
To sustain the livelihood of those producing the textile, Soo partners with designers in different parts of the country and fashion houses overseas.
Griffiths said she will produce “House of Musa” fashion shows in the U.S. West Coast with Cindy Ling starting next year, and in the U.S. East Coast with Rojen Morris.
The billboard featuring Katniss Industries’ Musa Bufanda and Musa de Kurbata collections for the 2022 NYFW will be seen at Times Square in New York City on Sept. 10 and 11 (Sept. 11 and 12 in Manila). JB