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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, 20th Century Philippines Part 26: Gang Gomez

Edgardo “Gang” Gomez is a Filipino fashion designer, couturier, costume designer and Benedictine monk now known as Dom Martin de Jesus Gomez. During the 1970’s and 80’s, he was amongst Manila’s fashion elite designing clothing for some of the most powerful and well-known people in the Philippines. Known for his classic lines and rich embroidery, the bulk of Gomez’ work consisted of designing gowns for weddings, debuts and other important formal occasions. He also did some costume designing for film and television.

When designing clothing, Gomez often championed the use of traditional local Philippine fabrics and traditional production methods. He would also make a point to include hand woven fabrics from various indigenous groups from around the country.

Since much of his clothing was formalwear, Gomez made a lot of Barong Tagalog pieces for men. He did his fair share of experimentation with barongs, playing with tuxedo shirt features, bow ties and different colors. Though Gomez did make a lot of traditional barongs, as well, using traditional barong fabrics, like piña, jusi and abaca. For embroidery, he favored covering the entire barong with calado hand embroidery.

After a successful career in fashion, Gomez closed his boutique in 1990 and joined the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Malaybay, Bukidnon. His design skills were reawakened and put to use again in 1996 when he took on the task of designing a 50-piece collection of liturgical vestments using hand woven fabrics from various Philippine indigenous tribes.

Gang Gomez (left) stands with his sister (center) and brother-in-law (right) at their wedding. Gomez and his brother-in-law wear tailored piña barongs with all over calado

Gang Gomez (left) stands with his sister (center) and brother-in-law (right) at their wedding. All are wearing clothes he designed. Gomez and his brother-in-law wear tailored piña barongs with all over calado hand embroidery. Pic is likely from the 1980’s. From Visitacion R. de la Torre’s 1986 book The Barong Tagalog: The Philippines’ National Wear

Gomez’ brother-in-law (right) stands with one of his groomsmen at his wedding. Both are in Gang Gomez designed piña barongs with all over calado

Gomez’ brother-in-law (right) stands with one of his groomsmen at his wedding. Both are in Gang Gomez designed piña barongs with all over calado hand embroidery. This pic is likely from the 1980’s and is from de la Torre’s book The Barong Tagalog.

Reggie Regalado wears a black jusi Gang Gomez Barong Tagalog with embroidery all over.

Make-up artist and hair stylist Reggie Regalado wears a black jusi Gang Gomez Barong Tagalog with embroidery all over. This pic is likely from the 1980’s and is from de la Torre’s book The Barong Tagalog.

Benedictine monk Dom Martin de Jesus Gomez (a.k.a. Gang Gomez) stands before one of his liturgical vestment designs in 2014

Benedictine monk Dom Martin de Jesus Gomez (a.k.a. Gang Gomez) stands before one of his liturgical vestment designs in 2014. Source: Preview.ph