International Eco-Fashion Designer John Ablaza


John Ablaza is an international eco-fashion designer, renowned for his use of sustainable local materials in his couture designs. Ablaza is recognized for this majestic and awe-inspiring collections that have been cultivated over his 25 year career. It is exciting to announce that the renowned international designer from the Philippines will be coming to Zimbabwe, by invitation of the US Embassy in partnership KUSIKA Design Centre, Zedlabel, Mustard Seed Africa, Hunnar Management Agency and Zimbabwe International Film & Festival (ZIFF) from the 19th July until the 6th August 2016. Recently opened KUSIKA Design Centre, a product of Fashion Weekend Zimbabwe (FWZ), will host the Harare workshops in collaboration with Zedlabel and Mustard Seed Africa.

KUSIKA which means “to create” in Shona is a new workspace for designers and artisans, with facilities for them to foster their creations and designs, all in the comfort of a creative environment. The centre boasts a manufacturing unit, a training room, a coworking space and a resource centre. John Ablaza’s visit will be the first of many projects that the design centre will be hosting. This project in particular is in line with it’s core mandate of equipping local designers and community artisans with new skills, especially skills on how they can use eco friendly materials to design wearable garments. “It is our hope that through this project designers and artisans can continue to collaborate, to develop sustainable wearable garments that can be bought by consumers to aide their livelihoods”.

Ablaza’s career is renowned for his passion in using sustainable raw materials and natural products to create his designs. He is known for his structured creations with simple lines and defined patterns; deriving much of his inspiration from nature. His passion can further be appreciated in his Couture and Culture Fashion Show, having founded the platform so as to merge his passion for fashion and eco-friendly designs by bridging the gap between his native Philippine culture and fashion. Couture and Culture fashion show has showcased in several international continents including the United States, Canada, parts of Europe and Asia as well as his home country of Manila, Philippines. In 1998, Ablaza was appointed to re-create a replica collection of Philippian National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal for the Rizal Museum under the Philippine National Centennial Commission. As a celebration to the centennial Independence of the Philippines community, the Rizal Museum successfully travelled to various cities of the Philippines and Europe, showcasing the Iberian culture and clothing of the legendary Filipino hero with warm reception from the Filipino community and the international audience. His passion in sustainable production and environmentally friendly materials has seen him collaborate with the Mangyan tribe of Puerto Gallera in Oriental Mindoro where under the Ayala Foundation, Ablaza has provided training skills and guidance in basic dressmaking and embroidery to help the women from the Mangyan community to better sustain themselves and uplift their livelihoods. John Ablaza is also the author and founder of a coffee table book titled “Ramp Diva Filipina”; a tribute book to honour the runway divas and models of the Philippine modelling industry from the 1970s to 2000.

With a career that has spanned over 25 years, John Ablaza is a designer that seeks to make the world a better place by bringing fashion and culture together to create haute couture. His designs are further not limited to couture gowns and garments but accommodates his high class bags, fashion accessories and renowned haute couture bowtie collection embellished with natural materials like coco beads, seeds and seashell. Ablaza is a designer that truly appreciates the environment, the people and the things that he sees around him every day whilst accommodating the different naturaal elements found in the Philippines; such as highly sustainable coco shells, coco beads, wood beads, lumbang, sisgid and dalet. John Ablaza is a designer that will be sure to impact his knowledge and appreciation of environmentally and socially responsible fashion, during his 20 day visit courtesy of the US Embassy in Harare. Additional workshops will be held in Bulawayo managed by Hunnar Management Agency. Closing the designers 20 day visit, an extravagant fashion show will be held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.


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by Tendai Kamusikiri – a Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger for the Zimbabwean based Fashion Blog “Signature Toscie”. Passionate about fashion, creative entrepreneurship, digital media, women empowerment and of course Glamour; Tendai can be contacted on

  1 comment for “International Eco-Fashion Designer John Ablaza

  1. July 16, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    wow nice piece. Well laid out

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