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From dream to runway: ‘The Emerging’


By Iris Edén Santiago

Special to The Star


Puerto Rico’s new fashion platform for up and coming local designers is taking shape and is in full gear for its November debut.


“The Emerging” Founder and President Joseph Daponte recently announced the designers who made the cut. They are Taniandera, Carmen Peña, Jorge Marrero, Wilberto Pérez, WMurphy, Kistal Rodríguez, Gabriel Maisonet, Elvin Méndez, Kristian Alexander, Ashleen Castillo, Gaby Prego and Bryan Agosto.


Respected and established fashion designers volunteering as mentors include David Antonio, Lisa Thon, Carlota Alfaro, Eclíptica, Sonia Rivera, Jaer Cabán, Marcos Carrazana, Lilian Landrón, Bea Rodríguez, Edzel Giovannie, Carlos Alberto and Shierly Krifter.


The designers who won a spot in the event were chosen by a panel of fashion experts who evaluated nearly 80 candidates from all over the island, explained Daponte, who is also president of the Puerto Rican Fashion History Council.


“This is a new opportunity for the younger generation of designers who haven’t had that big break,” Daponte said. “We want them to have this first encounter with the industry, established designers, and colleagues, who, by the way, will be their mentors.”


The Aguas Buenas native noted that a new workshop for seamstresses, stylists and hair and makeup artists is also being formed for “The Emerging.”


Juan Colón, co-organizer of the event, added that it is of utmost importance to create the conditions for the professional development of new talent.


“We will be facilitators, it’s our commitment — Against all odds,” Daponte said. “Each winning designer will present a 10-piece collection at the November event.”


It should be noted that Daponte, who was honored last week in a special session of the Puerto Rico Senate led by Sen. Nitza Morán and Aguas Buenas Mayor Javier García, was the creator of Puerto Rico’s Olympic Team uniform this summer in Tokyo. The uniform, initially a concept of the late designer Osvaldo Morales, was completed by haute couture designer Sonia Rivera and Aponte. Morales, a well known and prestigious designer, died unexpectedly in 2020.


The Puerto Rico Team uniform, in all its versions, was a hit with fashion insiders and sports fans, a fashion forward design that made athletes shine and all Puerto Ricans proud.

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