WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A DESIGNER?
Once I decided to get into the fashion business, I wanted to do something more than just ready-to-wear items. My mother owns a bridal gown business, and I've always seen her making all her gowns, so I guess that had an influence on me also. I want to venture in wedding gowns and beaded bags soon!
HOW DID YOU START AS A DESIGNER?
Watching my mom and her employees obviously had a big influence on me. To be honest, though, I taught myself to design. I am really not a theoretical person. I am much happier just doing the process rather than writing about it and sketching what is in my mind. I find draping, cutting, and pinning on a mannequin a much more exciting process.
WHERE DID YOU RECEIVE YOUR FASHION TRAINING?
From my mother Vivian Sipat. She has been in the business for more than 30 years.
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY?
Classy but affordable. A design should not be so intense that it is uncomfortable to wear.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION?
Apart from my love of fashion and my mother's background, I love attending fashion week overseas and be inspired and challenged. I don't want to get locked in just one trend.
WHO ARE YOUR STYLE ICONS? YOUR STYLE INFLUENCES/INSPIRATIONS?
I guess I focus more on emerging young international designers rather than the major icons. My design philosophy steers me in this direction.
WHICH DESIGNERS/ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
I really admire Elie Saab and Hannibal Laguna for their evening gowns, Camilla Franks and Zimmerman for their beautiful beach gowns and cutout swimwear.
WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO DRESS? WHO ARE THE CLIENTS YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH?
Anyone who wants my designs. I have a wide range of clientele and this includes both Filipinos and expat ladies. I enjoy working with people who know what they want but who are happy for me to influence the final outcome.
WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF TIMELESS STYLE?
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS A DESIGNER?
Having my store Azucar in Greenbelt 5 is the biggest challenge. I have to come up with a new style every week and stay ahead of the competition and ensure that the collections match what the clients want.
WHICH ASPECT OF THE DESIGN PROCESS DO YOU ENJOY MOST?
I enjoy draping on the mannequin and sewing bathing suit samples.
WHAT'S THE BEST CLOTHING ITEM/ACCESSORY WOMEN/MEN SHOULD HAVE?
Woman should have a nice bag and pair of high heeled shoes.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GARMENT OR FASHION ACCESSORY?
I love designer bags.
HOW HAVE YOU EVOLVED AS A DESIGNER?
A natural growth, underpinned by a broader selection of colorful materials. More use of semi-precious stones has also been a big development for me.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER?
Opening Azucar in the fabulous Greenbelt 5 mall.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU HAVE RECEIVED ABOUT YOUR WORK?
The level of media exposure which Salsatrends attracted and now the attention that Azucar is getting. Katy Perry came into Azucar shortly after it opened and chose two outfits off the rack.
WHAT ASPECT OF DESIGN DO YOU SEEK TO MASTER/HAVE DEVOTED TIME TO MASTER?
I am not good at sketching, therefore, I would like to get a computer tool to help me in this aspect.
ASPIRATIONS FOR THE BRAND IN THE FUTURE?
Growth in acceptance and possibly exporting overseas. I am already investigating opportunities in Australia and Canada.
HOW DO YOU UNWIND?
Relaxing by the pool and spa in Shangri-La Makati. Photography is also an emerging interest for me.
FAVORITE SHOPPING AND TRAVEL DESTINATIONS?
This is easy. Window shopping for clothes is my favorite pastime. For travel, I have to say Australia. It is very clean and has fabulous beaches.
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
Bags and more bags and jewelry.
WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? FILMS YOU WATCH? BOOKS YOU READ?
My interest in music is broad. However, being a salsa dancer, I love Latin music. I will watch any movie, but I am not too keen on scary movies. I am NOT a book reader; all I like are fashion books.
OTHER PASTIMES, PASSIONS, INTERESTS ASIDE FROM FASHION?
I love to dance and cook.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
Buying designer bags and jewelry.
WHAT OTHER TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?
To be able to sing. I am not that good at it.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Moving to a big city. It was hard at first.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PHILIPPINE FASHION INDUSTRY NEEDS MOST IN ORDER TO FLOURISH?
A unique selection of fabrics.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS?
Just do it!
1/L The Ramp, Crossings Department Store, Shangri-la Plaza, EDSA cor. Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
The Ramp, Glorietta, Ayala Center, Makati City
The Ramp, The Podium, 18 ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City
The Ramp, TriNoMa, EDSA corner North Avenue, Quezon City
2/F Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City