Figuring out your dream is one thing, but actually going after it is a whole different story. While it may seem daunting to pursue your passion in the real world, you might want to heed artist Abbie Paulhus' advice: "Decide what kind of life you want. Then say no to anything that isn't that."
Just take it from Ian Galsim, the hired Filipino Creative Director of the Street Fashion Events for New York Fashion Week. Having started as a TV director for local ads, Ian made to sure to hone and build his craft in the country, starting with commercials, music videos, and magazine collaborations (including the viral "For the Love of Labels" he directed for Preview featuring Ruffa Mae Quinto). With quite a hefty number of projects under his belt, he then transitioned to doing international work, leading him to directing globally-broadcasted TV shows, like the makeover series How Do I Look?
It's exactly Ian's impressive reportoire, grown from years of hard work, that landed him the coveted Creative Director job for one of the biggest fashion events in New York—Street Fashion Week. Get inspired as we talk to Ian about his journey, below!
Where and how did your career start off?
"In the Philippines, I started working as a TV Director for several magazine shows such as Fashbook (a fashion magazine show), which eventually led me to directing music videos and TVCs, including a dozen Palmolive commercials and other brands, music videos for Regine Velasquez, etc, and also several stints and collaborations—I made some videos for Preview, too!"
How did you go from working on local projects to international ones? Was the transition difficult at all?
"Before New York, I already did several projects abroad for Disney, Resorts World Singapore, NBC Universal—where I got to direct a US TV show called How Do I Look Asia, which is actually a makeover show that includes working with different global designers and stylists. I don't actually think of it as difficult; rather, it's challenging because you always get to learn new things, and that alone excites me."
What’s one work that you’re most proud of?
"I always love the local TV commercials I've done, but what I did recently with Michael Leyva's couture collection video in New York City is something very special to me, not only because I curated every single detail of the campaign, but I got to bring my own production house to the next level since [the video] was one of the first projects for my company, Statement Productions."
What would you consider to be your biggest project so far?
"So far it would be the How Do I Look Asia TV series because it's a TV show that is broadcasted globally. It was really fun doing it, too. "
Can you tell us about your experience being the Creative Director for Street Fashion Week in New York?
"Last January, my original plan was to go and attend workshops related to digital production, art, and business. It had not crossed my mind that on the same trip, I would be entering the world of fashion in New York City.
"Fate, it seemed, had other plans though. I bumped into Naomi Alabi, after a friend of a friend introduced me to her. She owns and produces Street Fashion Week—a well attended fashion show in SOHO (Central Manhattan). We met in Brooklyn last February and she said she was really looking for a creative director, which she even posted in a job search engine. Luckily, after that meeting she immidiately had me on board with the street fashion week team."
"Naomi entrusted me with the position of the creative director for her show, since a huge chunk of my work was related to fashion. My key skills in conceptualization, creative work, cinematography, and film were put into good use. Not to mention most of the projects I got involved with in the past have something to do with working with brilliant designers, stylists and make-up artists in the industry and same goes with Street Fashion Week—only that they are creatively different in so many ways."
"We did three shows in SOHO at Galvanize, Spring Street. I worked for all the three shows, collaborated with 13 designers—including Muvez, Lenny Vuitton, and Tier NYC—60 plus models, three model directors, 30 plus make up artists and 50 plus invited members of the press, photographers etc."
What has been the biggest hurdle you’ve faced, career-wise, and how did you triumph over it?
"I started in this industry without any connections whatsoever. I started on my own doing videos on YouTube before I was given real projects. Basically I did music video parodies, then songbird Regine Velasquez saw it on YouTube. Her sister called us and the rest is history. My works speak for me and I'm glad that there are people who noticed."
What’s your advice to local creatives who are looking to make it in the international industry?
"Be fearless. Go with your passion. Believe in yourself. It may sound really cliché, but its true. You got to adapt to changes. Be responsible. Be on time. Always give your best shot."
What’s next for you?
"My producer and I are in talks now about putting more brands or designers from Asia for our shows in New York and LA.We want to showcase inclusivity in terms of culture and offer a variety to what is already in the US market."