Designer Cary Santiago reminds bashers: Beauty pageants 'not barometer of fashion'

MANILA, Philippines – Fashion designer Cary Santiago on Monday, November 4, addressed early naysayers and doubters over the outfits he's designing for Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados.

The Cebu-based designer made Gazini's evening gown during Binibining Pilipinas, during which she won Best Evening Gown.

In a long post, Cary, considered an icon in Philippine fashion, said that while he appreciates feedback, there is a fine line between constructive feedback and negative comments. 

"I have received a lot of messages asking what Gazini will wear for Miss Universe 2019. Some give suggestion, others are appreciative, while a number of them are bashing me for my work/s. There comments: I dont like it, I find it heavy or bulky, 'tama na ang birds,' 'why the same style', a couple are even giving below-the-belt comments that are unprintable. And I get all these messages every single day," he said.

"Let me state this once and for all: I am and never was an expert of pageants. I am not a pageant enthusiast. It just so happens that I am able to dress up a few beauty queens coz either I know them personally (they modeled for me) or I know someone that is close to them and they asked me to. Most of these are my babies. Hence I feel happy if I am able to see them wearing me."

Cary said he collaborated with Gazini on the design, color, and silhouette of the evening gown she will be wearing during the Miss Universe competition. 

"Modesty aside, they are the ones who really know fashion. For the pageant enthusiasts and fans, no offense, but beauty pageants has never been the barometer of fashion."

"There are those who give comments that [are] already mocking me and my works as if they are the real experts. Very pushy and demanding that it seems if you will not hear them out and ignore their messages, they will malign your craft even more. Again, let me reiterate, fashion is never and will never be about beauty pageants. Fashion does not revolve around it," he said.

Cary ended his message by reminding everyone that Gazini's placement in the pageant won't be dictated by what she wears. 

"If she gets a podium-finish, that's her discipline, perseverance, and a whole lot of luck. So let us support her and as we continue to join her journey towards the crown, I am hoping that we stop all the bashing. Constructive criticism is appreciated and I am all for it, just never a lambasted one!"

At her send-off at Novotel on Monday, November 4, Gazini was asked Cary's post.

"Bashers will always be there. If you are someone that's advance in this industry or if you have something that is braggable, then there will always be some who will say [something] about your work. It's a matter of acknowledging it and just sashay it away. And then everything will be fine. Let them wait until the finished product is already out there. I guess they are just too excited to se it," Gazini said.

Gazini will be off to Atlanta, Georgia for the Miss Universe pageant set on December 8. She hopes to win the country's 5th crown after Catriona Gray's win in 2018. – Alexa Villano/