Modern outfits for the Sto. Niño

Marymil M. Cabrera

PEOPLE have their own ways of expressing their faith and devotion. Some engage in charity work and help those who are in need while others volunteer in church activities.

Ralph Penelope Moran, the designer of Sto. Niño’s outfit that went viral on Facebook—where the Holy Child is wearing a Louis Vuitton-inspired outfit—shows his devotion by creating both traditional and modern outfits for the child Jesus. He has been doing this since 2015. Moran, 30, has been a devotee of the Holy Child of Cebu ever since he was young.

“When I was younger, I always dreamt of acquiring my own Sto. Niño, until such time I was able to buy one for myself,” he recalled. He began by dressing up his statue as his way of taking care of it.

“I was conscious about the dust and dirt, that’s why I change the Sto. Niño’s outfit every now and then. I figured out that it would be more fascinating and personalized if I clothe him with something that was relevant to me,” Moran shared.

His first design was an upgraded version of Sto. Niño’s original cape, he added some feathers and embroidered some diamonds. The latest is the Louis Vuitton printed textile dress, cape, bag and socks, crowned with a black feather crown then decorated with small gems.

Last year’s design was also a Louis Vuitton-inspired outfit, embellished with brass brooch, gold braided laces coupled with acrylic red gem and a gold-plated round disc pendant, then accessorized with a Louis Vuitton necklace and a gold crown decorated with acrylic white and red gems. The statue stand is decorated with pearls and different kinds of laces.

“My friends and family appreciated what I did to my Sto. Niño and asked me to dress up their Niños, too.” From then on, Moran started to accept orders.

Same with purchasing a custom-made dress, Moran asks his clients what their requirements are and he brings these requests to life. Though a lot of people appreciated his Sto. Niño’s modern outfit—asking him where he got it and asking to have a photo with it—there are others who disapproved of it for some reasons of their own. However, this did not stop Moran from doing what he loves to do.

“All I can say is that it’s not about the image or the outfit of our dear Sto. Niño. It’s about faith.”