By JOHN LEGASPI

For LGBTQIA+ activists, Pride is always a protest. The month of June is not just about the declaration of Philippine Independence, but the cry for liberation and safe space by its LGBTQIA+ community. Since the 1990s, Filipino gender advocates have been taking to the streets to voice out their concerns and to remind people about the never-ending fight for equality.

Based on the country’s current crisis situation, it is important now, more than ever, to be heard in battling discrimination. Apart from signboards and megaphones, face masks, a tool used to conceal and protect, are now seen as the best way to make a statement.

exif_temp_image 132

As a sign of his solidarity, fashion designer Bryan Peralta creates rainbow-colored face masks, and gives some for free to the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies.

“I thought I’d contribute by reaching out to our LGBTQIA+ friends with face masks as a canvas to honor the impact that the community has had on our history. This is to commemorate our brothers and sisters whom we have lost from hate crimes and their battle with HIV/AIDS. This is to show our stand against discrimination at work and in our communities, rally for equality and legal rights, and to promote love,” he tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “Wearing our Pride mask is a way to show camaraderie and support to the community, as well as a commitment to protect others.”

received_394233118190627

Bryan Peralta

Bryan’s journey as a designer started as a scholar for fashion designer Veejay Floresca, whom he worked for before building his own bridal and evening wear studio.

Prior to working on the masks, just like the rest of the fashion industry, Bryan created and donated PPE to medical workers. Being a licensed nurse, he knows the importance of the roles that these frontliners play during these times of crisis.

“Together with my mother Yolly and Tita Virginia, we took to the machines and started making free face masks and PPE for health care workers,” he says. “It was an exciting time to be in the position to help and do it with the people I love. We also created some masks for sale so we can keep making more PPE and to keep ourselves and displaced staff afloat.”

Throughout the duration of the community quarantine, Bryan has produced seven face mask series – Classics, Malong, Heritage, Shibori, Gloss, Versailles, and Denim – exploring different fabrications to give wearers many ways to express themselves.

exif_temp_image 134

Bryan’s Pride Masks

“We have made thousands of face masks, enough to know which materials and styles work, so we came up with our 3C’s of face mask standards: coverage, construction, and comfort,” he says. “Each one of our #BryanPeraltaFacemasks are lovingly made by us and our sewing partners from TESDA. We’re looking for more sewing partners who want to work from home.”

The mask collections, including the Pride series, are mostly made of high-density cotton. The Heritage series is made of Filipino textiles woven by local artisans. Every piece is equipped with two layers of breathable lining, with a built-in pocket layer to allow the wearer to insert filters for extra protection.

received_188546402535453

Salome Uy

IMG_6518

Rod Singh

“After receiving help from industry friends Mike Lavarez, Paulo Castro, and Rod Singh, to name a few, we even garnered more requests for our Pride masks,” Bryan says. “We are overwhelmed daily by the response of people. In the middle of all the anxiety this pandemic brought us, with the unrest caused by ineffective governance, I think people are hungry for some good news and things that bring joy. I’d like to think our face masks bring that positivity we all need this time. Let us all celebrate Pride separately but together in spirit. Happy Pride!”

Bryan Peralta is giving away 100 Pride Masks for free. To get one, all you need to do is to like Bryan Peralta Designs Facebook Page, share its Pride post, and send a DM about what Pride means to you.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/06/17/these-rainbow-masks-are-the-perfect-statement-piece-this-pride-month/)