Arnold Galang was kindness personified. Our friendship, spanning more than a decade, was way beyond the designer-client relationship—it was truly a gift. And in those 11 years filled with only profoundly beautiful things and conversations, he had never—ever—given me no for an answer, even if sometimes it was nigh impossible. “The event is in three days? No problem!”
We always had each other’s vote of confidence. And surely, he never missed an opportunity to make me feel special. “You look absolutely great!” was always the first thing he would tell me upon entering his studio. After all, I don’t think anyone had heard him say anything bad at all. He was unquestionably an Ambassador of Peace.
Arnold and I first met at Philippine Fashion Week in 2009. I approached him right after his show and inquired about a skirt I had been eyeing. Five minutes into the conversation, he was removing the hanger from the skirt before handing it to me. “It’s yours!” I still have that skirt to this day, still in pristine condition, though, I’ve worn it multiple times.
From that day on, Arnold had been creating clothes for me (and my family, in-laws, cousins, and nieces included)—most of my outfits for events here and abroad, my wedding gowns (one of which was his wedding gift to me), and pieces that we had collaborated on just because.
Navy blue was our color. At one point, he even made a myriad of tops and bottoms all in the same blue hue and in similar fabrics, which allowed me to mix and match and that yielded innumerable outfits. Every year since 2014, he would send me a white outfit to celebrate my wedding anniversary in.
Just last February, during a fitting, we were congratulating each other for what appeared to be the 100th piece of clothing he had created for me. It was a wine-colored evening dress that I would use to attend a wedding in Singapore. That day, he also let my son Max doodle on his desk after having him fit his own suit for the same occasion. He always had a gift for him on Christmas. He gifted him his Christening attire, too.
Arnold was always part of many of my life’s milestones, one way or another. We both understood fashion’s involvement in our lives—intimate and instrinsic. He understood deeply that each piece he had created was not only a product of aesthetics, but also an important tool to nurture our sense of being and our own sense of wellness and happiness.
Giving was simply part of his nature, caring a portion of his soul. His fierce dedication to his craft, his ever-smiling face, his approachable personality, and his purest heart will always be remembered. My heart is aching, but heaven has gained an angel. May he rest in the peace he so richly deserve.