Digna Rosales: Grand Dame of Philippine Fashion

If I were to describe a complete person, the name Digna Rosales would come to mind.

Tall and svelte, the elegantly beautiful Digna could pass off as a ramp model. But she preferred to dress the model than wear the dress herself.

She made gowns and exquisite dresses fit for the elite with the same passion that she designed uniforms for the corporate warriors.

And for that, Digna earned another “title” as Office Uniform Queen.

But it was as chairperson (for ten years) and president (for ten years, too) of the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines (FDAP) that Digna would leave a lasting mark and legacy. She is the lone female leader in this male/gay-dominated industry.

With FDAP, Digna co-organized the Asian Fashion Connections held in Singapore. The participating countries included Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

The occasion showcased the winning designs of Frederick Peralta, Peter Lim, Vittorio Barba, Dita Sandico, Ronald Mendoza, Joji Aguilar, Rajo Laurel, Alex Bitong, Patrice Ramos Diaz, and many others.

It also featured the excellence of senior designers like Bobby Novenario, Nardie Presa, Steve de Leon, Jing Chua, Johnny Abad, Ernie Uy, Manuel Bondad, Edgar San Diego, Inno Sotto and herself.

Digna also co-chaired the Dateline: Fashion Expo held in Japan with then Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Gloria Macapagal, who headed the Garments and Textile Export Board (GTEB). Ms. Macapagal served as President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010.

Digna’s term at the FDAP saw rising Filipino designers sharing billing with their counterparts in Taipei, Japan, and Hong Kong for the Young Designers Competitions.

She also pushed Philippine fashion designers globally, heading the local delegations to international fashion in the US with Philippine Airlines’ help, and showcased local collections for the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

In recognition of Digna’s unwavering support, the FDAP hailed her as the Best FDAP President for bringing local fashion designers to the international stage. The honor was immortalized in Sagala, a book FDAP launched during its 25th founding anniversary.

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