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By Arwa Lodi
Dubai is not known for its plethora of eco couture designers, but it has to be said that some of the most creative couture has been crafted by an incredible talent based in the region: Michael Cinco.
The Filipino designer, whose atelier has been in Dubai for years, was hand picked by Tyra Banks to construct gowns out of recycled materials for Cycle 16 of America’s Next Top Model. He used rubber bands, smashed mirrors, bin bags, discarded parachutes and glass to produce couture that was shot by Nigel Barker–on a landfill site.
The results impressed not only the ANTM crew, but Cinco himself: “After that shoot, I found out that I could use things that we usually throw out as beautiful ornaments on couture dresses that look like expensive gemstones,” he said.
His triumph in Cycle 16 led Tyra to ask him back for another cycle, which shot in Greece. A proud Filipino, Cinco was delighted that a clothing brand from his homeland, Bench, and Filipina/British model Georgina Wilson were also involved in that cycle. “I was so happy when I learned that other Filipinos were in Greece for the shoot. The ANTM staff was in awe of Georgina Wilson’s beauty… It made me so proud to be a Filipino.”
Given the poverty in the Philippines, we hope that Cinco has inspired his countrymen to know that clothing needn’t be new or expensive to be gorgeously fashionable–a message that the richer natives of his current city, Dubai, should also heed.
Given the fact that Dubai will soon have a ‘city’ within it dedicated to nothing but Fashion, eco-couture should have a place in that new development. Goodness knows they have the talent there to make it succeed.