The best thing about fashion is that it always gives us something to look forward to.

For the Big Four fashion capitals Paris, London, Milan, and New York, there are the highly anticipated Fashion Weeks that have stylephiles and spectators alike poring over what’s hot and what’s next in the fashion world. Here in the Philippines, the local design industry continues to blossom into something that is worth elevating to global platforms, and this is a development that certainly calls for a celebration.

As a brand that prides itself in crafting, promoting, and loving local, BENCH celebrated Filipino artistry and industry this year with its first ever Bench Fashion Week – a three-day showcase of the latest collections from some of the country’s most recognized brands. The Bench Fashion Week ran from March 10-12, 2017 at The Playground of the Bench Tower in Bonifacio Global City, and was arguably one of the biggest fashion events for the year. While it was a preview of what we can expect from local casualwear favourites Bench, Human, and Kashieca, it also incuded three of Bench’s global partner brands: American Eagle Outfitters, Cotton On, and Vero Moda.

The Spring/Summer 2017 show also featured three of today’s most successful local designers. The first of these is Sassa Jimenez, a young designer who has become known for her sleek, sexy approach to womenswear. Back in 2014, Jimenez collaborated with Kashieca for the brand’s Little Black Dress campaign – a stunning line of dresses that was presented at that year’s Philippine Fashion Week. The dynamic design duo of Rik Rasos and Pat Bondoc also showed off their streetwear sensibilities at Bench Fashion Week. Their ready-to-wear label Proudrace, which was briefly carried by selected Human stores back in 2013, was also presented at BFW S/S 17. Completing the noteworthy lineup of talented creatives for the show was menswear designer, Ziggy Savella. Known primarily for his sharp suits and pajama-inspired pieces, Savella recently collaborated with Bench’s official magazine, Benchmark, and designed a few varsity-inspired pieces in celebration of the brand’s 30th year in the biz.

Every bit a momentous occasion for the local lifestyle and clothing brand, Bench Fashion Week also marked the arrival of its latest international endoser, the world’s hottest math teacher, Pietro Boselli. The Italian professor-cum-professional model, who became an instant Internet sensation after a candid photo from one of his lectures went viral online, joined the final day of the Bench Fashion Week. After a special guest appearance at BFW, Pietro will also did a round of fan meets in Manila and in Davao.

Some of Bench Fashion Week’s notable guests included Bench endorsers Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Max Collins, Inigo Pascual, Solenn Heussaff, and Lovi Poe. Other familiar faces spotted were Bench’s first family Richard, Lucy, and Juliana Gomez, KC Concepcion, Tweetie De Leon-Gonzales, Marina Benipayo, Richard Cepeda, Sanya Lopez, and Maxene Magalona. Also present at the event was Ms. Universe Philippines 2016, Maxine Medina.

Another of Bench Fashion Week’s highlights is the unveiling of the first ever Bench Design Awards – an initiative meant to put the spotlight on undiscovered local talent. This is an open call for designers nationwide– 10 of whom shall be selected to present their own collections at the next Bench Fashion Week in September of this year. With the help of organizers from Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo, three winners shall be chosen and sent to Japan in October to present alongside Bench at the Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo S/S 2018. This time, it’s not just about growing locally; it’s about expanding globally, and proving just how much Filipino talent can do.

If these milestones don’t get your fashion-forward heart racing, then we don’t know what will. Keep your eyes peeled for everything else that Bench still has up its sleeve. As it celebrates its 30th year, who knows what other B-Day surprises are coming our way?