Fashion for good
The first ever Tuloy Po Kayo Fashion Expo took place in June 2018 and was a great success. Around 250 people attended in the former historic Rozelle Tram Depot in Sydney. Michelle decided to help put the event together when the Consulate mentioned they’d be working with an indigenous Filipino community from South Cotabato in Southern Mindanao.
She explains, “The magic word they used to really reel me in was ‘Tboli', which is the name of a little known ancient tribe in the Philippines. It was a passion of mine to just showcase them and their amazing work.” Part of the funds from the expo was to be used supporting the tribe and other indigenous communities – particularly to support their weaving of traditional fabrics. This is an art form hundreds of years old that’s dying due to cheaper manufactured clothing.
Promoting Filipino culture in Oz
Michelle believes it’s important to educate people living in Australia about Filipino culture. Why? Because it forms a major part of the diverse culture of the nation, particularly in New South Wales, currently home to over 40% of the Filipino diaspora in Australia. To that end, the organisers of the fashion show decided to create greater understanding and appreciation of the culture in the Philippines by keeping the event’s name in Filipino.
A Tagalog phrase commonly used by Filipinos to welcome guests into their homes, ‘Tuloy Po Kayo’, was chosen to ensure guests felt they’d been completely embraced by Filipino culture throughout the event.
“This was our way of showing how the Filipino community is welcoming Australia into our homes, and at the same time, how the Australian community is welcoming us into theirs,” Michelle explained. Michelle hopes that after the show there’ll be a greater understanding and appreciation of Filipino culture across the wider Australia society.