Diwa Ng Kalayaan 2019 Sarah Slauson Wears Tracy Dizon at the Philippine Independence Day Council’s Gala Ball
A vision of Philippine Heritage and contemporary fashion, Diwa ng Kalayaan 2019 Sarah Isabel Borja-Slauson turned heads in the recently held Philippine Independence Day Council’s Gala Ball in Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe, New Jersey.
The recently crowned Slauson was a vision among the attendees of the prestigious event in her Ifugao Doll Dress, made and designed by Philippine award-winning designer, Tracy Dizon.
“I’ve admired Ms. Tracy’s collection since its debut and it’s such an honor to have worn one of her pieces to the Philippine Independence Day Council’s Gala Ball. It was truly an honor to wear Ms. Tracy's Ifugao dress because it wasn't only cute and comfortable, it was also a great way to popularize and modernize the Filipiniana,” said Slauson.
“I realized that as the Diwa ng Kalayaan, I would like to promote Philippine heritage among my fellow young Filipinos. I am only 16 years old and sometimes doing something traditional can make me feel a little out of place. But our traditions doesn’t have to stay in the past as there are so many ways to incorporate them in our lives. I wanted to represent that during the ball with Ms. Dizon’s piece,” she added.
The 16-year-old Slauson was crowned as Diwa ng Kalayaan last May 2019 as part yearly gala commemorating of the Philippine Independence in the East Tri-State Area. A native of Cagayan de Oro, she's currently based in New York in pursuit of a career in modeling while continuing highschool.
Although she spent her childhood between Philippines and America, Slauson stayed true to her roots thanks to the guidance of her mother, Imelda Cuerquiz Borja, a Bae or female leader of a tribe in Bukidnon. Borja ensured that even if her daughter is in the U.S., she will not forget her heritage.
It was her passion to know more about the Filipino community that pushed her to join the event and it was through that same passion that she was able to win over the judges and the audience.
Now that she has the title, she intends on using it as a platform to promote advocacies dear to heart, which includes better healthcare and benefits for senior citizen, support for the country's indigenous people, awareness for autism and promote Filipino Heritage to the youth.
The Diwa ng Kalayaan is held every year in commemoration of the Philippine Independence Day. Participants come from all over the Tri-State Area to showcase their grace and beauty for the title.
Winners are chosen based on how they “personify the beauty, intelligence, and self-confidence of the young Filipino-Americans.”
The teenage beauty queen's ensemble during the Philippine Independence Day's Gala Ball came from Dizon’s 2019 Pinoy pop Life Collection that debuted in Fashion Week Brooklyn last year to both local and international acclaim. The “Pinoy Pop Life (The Nostalgia of Growing Up as a Filipino)” Collection was lauded for reinventing traditional clothing with contemporary aesthetics to create a unique homage to her home country.
First revealed in Fashion Week Brooklyn Spring Summer 2019 Show last October 2018, the collection included at least 12 looks made from traditional Philippine fabrics, including Yakan, Abel Iloco, Ifugao textiles, and Cordillera fabrics. Each piece is imbued with contemporary aesthetics to create a modern-day “Maria Clara” look.
“Having to dress Sarah was a pleasure. She’s an intelligent young woman and her advocacy is close to the very message of my collection. It was like a perfect match!” Dizon said.
“I made this collection with a big heart of sharing my beautiful culture in the form of fashion. I want to share the undeniably show-stopping beauty of the Philippines. More often than not, Filipiniana Clothing would often feel too traditional and old that the younger generation may feel disjointed with the culture. I would like to exhibit a fresh creative perspective to the Filipiniana Clothing that hopefully, someday soon wearing Filipiniana would not be just limited to formal occasions and national holidays,” she added.
Dizon is a fashion designer in her own namesake and the milliner of the millinery fashion brand, Tiara by Tracy Dizon established in the Philippines. The designer has worked with local and international celebrities alike and is now based in New York City.
Dizon and Slauson's endeavours together doesn’t seem to stop here as the two have posted photos of them working together. Perhaps, there’s more to come between these two tiara holders.
On her end, Slauson has expressed that she has plans to join similar events in the future and is in continuous pursuit to become a runway model. She's hoping to be able to join bigger pageants, including Miss Teen Philippines.###
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