Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Walking in a Neon Wonderland: Manila Sundance Bazaar

7:22 PM

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If the curiosity of a Christmas set 60 years from now tickles your fancy with frosted feathers and chrome parols, then the Manila Sundance Bazaar: Holiday Solstice might have been your closest bet! One of the best things about Manila Sundance is that their seasonal bazaars are always themed and the one held this last November 21-23 wasn’t any different. The most recent bazaar’s theme was—drum roll, please!—neon winter wonderland!

The theme is thought-striking, because, really—what on earth is a neon winter wonderland? At first, one would find it peculiar, but when you really think about it, it’s such a unique twist on the green-and-red, conventional Christmas season theme, which makes everything more interesting and your shopping experience unforgettable.

Fortunately, we were given a little sneak peek into this fusion world of holiday cheer and the color of the future with the Manila Sundance Bazaar’s publicity material. Posted on their Facebook are the event posters distinctly designed by graphic artist and Manila Sundance Bazaar’s creative head, Marika Callangan.

I had the opportunity to meet Marika, or Rika, as she prefers to be called and she shared some of her insights about working for Manila Sundance Bazaar in their artistic pool, her influence as a graphic designer, and her vision for this most recently finished bazaar. 

Rika is a freelance graphic designer and layout artist. Most of her work involves branding and marketing for her clients—basically, creating the visual manifestation of the company or brand’s personality. Her involvement with Manila Sundance Bazaar started with the referral of her friend to the bazaar’s head organizer.

Now with three of the bazaar’s events under her belt, Rika has contributed her own style and twist to the themes they assign her and this past theme was no different. It turns out, the original concept was a ‘festive tomorrowland,’ so naturally, things had to be colorful. To put a special twist on this need for color, Rika decided to go with neon and the concept eventually evolved to what the theme is today.

Rika with her design
While the poster gives a very urban, Akihabara-esque feel with its very bright and vibrant text, Rika revealed that she grew up in Tokyo and this portion of her life has definitely influenced her work as a graphic artist. “In Tokyo kasi, their art is always progressive. Some of them, they [the artists] want to stick to the old ways but modern artists want to be minimalist and other artists are super poppy,” she explained.

Rika mentions that in Manila, brands are very “straight-forward” or “benta agad” She switches it up with Manila Sundance Bazaar and decides to make it so that the art or the imaging of the event doesn’t compromise its original purpose of providing a shopping experience. Also, crowding a poster with text or too much information is a big no-no in her books. “There’s a way to make everything look better, a little more clever and a little less text, text, text!”

The artist hopes to continuously make Manila Sundance Bazaar not only an event worth shoppers’ time and money, but also something that pleases them aesthetically as much as possible in lieu with the theme.

“We think that if it’s based on a theme, it creates a better experience. When you enter it’s like Narnia. When you see pretty stuff while shopping, it creates a different experience,” Rika explains when asked about the importance of the theme to Manila Sundance. The bazaar’s qualities cater to the sellers as well because it gives the shops a little more push when it comes to being creative and evolving their image and brand. “It’s like a different, unique bazaar experience for the shoppers and the sellers.”

“As the creative head, what really highlights us is the art. Not only do we want the event to look pretty, but it’s also for the brand.” The Manila Sundance Bazaar is obviously a game-changer in Manila’s circle of shoppers and bazaar-goers. There’s no doubt about it that this bazaar stands out aesthetically and artistically. Not only do the themes provide the shoppers and sellers with a wonderfully distinct experience, but it also gives the Manila Sundance an edge over others. Rika comments, “[…] It’s always based on a theme, on an idea and that’s what changes everything.”
“I sincerely hope we can come up with otherworldly conceptualized ideas […] we want to think different.”

And different they are! With a wide array of famous participating bloggers like Kryz Uy, Camille Co, Nicole Anderson and David Guison and brands such as Karazapatos, Nudo Swimwear, Stylestunner, and Hershoppe coupled with their vivid vision, the Manila Sundance Bazaar: Holiday Solstice provided the most exceptional bazaar experience for their shoppers.

Watch out for future bazaar announcements on their Facebook page and don't miss out on experiencing this unique shopping experience yourself this coming January!

Art and photos courtesy of Marika
Article by Anto

Anto Joson is a fashion enthusiast, stage actress and a rookie ‘hallyu wave’ blogger. She attributes much of her sense of style to Korean and London street fashion. Expect more of her from The Thing and her blog,!


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