Filipino Legacies in the Gulf – Fashion Designers, Models & Community Champions

Albert Andrada

Fashion Designer

Before he became known to the world as the designer to former Miss Universe Pia Wurzbach, as well as other Philippine beauty queens, Albert Andrada gained prominence in the UAE and the GCC region as a Royal Designer to the ruling Al Sharqi family of Fujairah.  Hired after his win as Designer of the Year at the Swarovski Bridal Show in Dubai in 2020, Albert led a design atelier and production team of 29 people, creating 50 couture pieces for the Sheikha of Fujairah and her three daughters on a monthly basis.  Quite a feat, but just the norm, in the opulent royal household.


Bandoix Flores

Fashion Designer

Called the “Klassista” fashion designer Bandoix Flores Nebria was a well-loved figure within the UAE fashion community where he is known for his elegant and classic creations, as well as his affinity for the color black.  A member of the fashion royalty in Dubai, Bandoix was the Creative Director of Warda Haute Couture, and his gowns were worn by the elite in the country and the region.  He also won praises for his collection under his very own label BFN at the Philippine Fashion Week in 2011.


Nina Naval-Niemczyk & Manette Mercado Mc-Even


Nina Naval

Filipina professional models have been walking on the most prestigious runways in Dubai since the late 2000s.  Two who pioneered Filipino representation on local catwalks were Nina Naval-Niemczyk and Manette McEven, who have been regular fixtures in the region’s definitive fashion event – Dubai Fashion Week until it transformed into Fashion Forward in 2013.  Nina has walked for couture houses Amato, Michael Cinco, Ezra Santos, House of Yen, as well as acclaimed brands Moschino, Harvey Nichols, Splash. L’Oreal, Vikram Padnis, among many others, most of the time, the lone Filipino within the line-up of multi-cultural models.  Manette, on the other hand, has been part of the awaited seasonal shows of high street brand Splash and Iconic and has also modeled for other luxe brands like Mimosa and Harvey Nichols, among others.

Manette Mercado

Both well-respected award-winning supermodels back in the Philippines before they moved to Dubai, Nina, and Manette have, for a time, exemplified quintessential Filipina beauty and grace in the local fashion scene.


CADD For Kabayan

Community Champions

CADD for Kabayan is one of those community organizations in the UAE that has changed the lives of Filipinos through skills education. During their tenure in the community, they have trained over 7,000 individuals, which included TESDA NCII Certified passers in Structural Drafting, in turn facilitating the career growth for their students. Established in 2002, CADD for Kabayan is a non-profit organization that conducts technical training for OFWs and their dependents in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, providing ample knowledge to people who want to learn more in the fields of Engineering and Architecture and other related sectors. The organization was put up to give a chance for OFWs to compete in the world of Information Technology, according to Founder Engineer Orandantes Delizo.


OPPPS – Overseas Professional Pinoy Photographers Society

Community Champions

For years since its founding in 2003, the Overseas Pinoy Professional Photographers Society (OPPPS) has birthed hundreds of talented Filipino photographers in the UAE, many of them excelling in various fields of practice.  Established to share photography ideas and techniques to both amateurs and professionals in the field, the group, which originally was formed to foster the love for the art of photography, has equipped many budding artists to venture into the field as freelancers, giving some of them an alternative career option. The organization provided courses on Digital Photography, Digital Darkroom (Post Processing), Studio Portrait and Fashion Photography (Indoor and Outdoor), Going Places with Camera and OPPPS (Field Trips), Simplified Photo Journalism, Photo Essay and other Photography related topics. Part of the learning also includes slide shows, photo contests, member critiques, field trips, among others.


Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf is Supported by: Kaya Skin Clinic,  Emirates Airline, and Unilever.

Special Thanks to Michael CincoEzra Couture , GiordanoDarcey FlowersIKON SolutionsVictors FreightMPQ Tourism, Asia Gulf Companies –La Carne & Filfood, WOL Water

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Illustrado 300 Most Influential Filipinos Legacy Edition 2020