Cabrini Roy digs deep in her dual heritage for design inspiration. The Filipina-British designer is making waves in the U.K. for her minimalist designs mixed with just the right amount of femininity. The results are pieces with contrasting feels: simplistic silhouettes but complex fabric manipulation; muted yet universally flattering color palettes, and; timeless yet trendy styles. On top of this, would you believe she's only 23 years old?
It's no wonder the fashion industry is taking an interest in her unique sartorial vision. At a young age, Cabrini has started to accomplish an impressive set of feats as a designer. Following fellow U.K.-educated Filipino designers like Lesley Mobo, Mich Dulce, and John Herrera, Cabrini is finding her share of the spotlight in England. She recently showcased her Maria Clara-inspired collection at London Fashion Week. British Vogue has also featured her brand in its October 2019 issue and online retail section. In the Philippines, she's become a go-to for popular stars like Nadine Lustre, Ylona Garcia, Julie Anne San Jose, and more.
Below, we get to know more about this bright young thing as we caught up with her and talked about her brand, future plans, and her newest collection.
How would you describe your design philosophy and aesthetic?
"I would describe my aesthetic as minimal, I’m drawn to garments and colors that are minimal and clean but I love contrasting it with bold silhouettes. My design philosophy is "less is more" [less in design] but the quality and thought process behind a garment is deeper. I [also feel strongly] about sustainability and slow fashion so I think about the different ways each garment can be worn and styled many times without it being out of trend. In any season, it’s the originality of the design that makes it timeless."
What motivated you to be a designer?
"When I think about clothes, I think of it as wearable piece of art. [One] that can be worn and styled differently by whoever is wearing it. I’ve always been creative as a child and loved the idea of mixing art and clothes together. This is reason why I started designing clothes when I was 9 years old. I begged my parents for a sewing machine for my 13th birthday and it was the first time I ever made a garment. I adored the idea of creating something out of nothing; that you can turn and transform a piece of fabric into something so beautiful. After that I knew I wanted to have my own brand one day. This is the goal that keeps me motivated."
You’re a fresh name in the local fashion scene. What do you think is your greatest edge as a designer?
"I think the cross culture of British and Filipino is one of my great assets as a designer, I get inspired by Western fashion, but I love contrasting and mixing it up with my heritage, Filipino culture, and childhood photos. I’ve always wanted my clothes to be a representation of my life, my style, and my identity, which is why each garment has its own story."
For your latest show, you were inspired by the Modern Maria Clara. What was your creative process for this collection?
"I took inspiration from my Filipino heritage with the idea of a modern Filipiniana Maria Clara. I combined this with a twist of power dressing in the form of soft tailoring and a feminine touch. In my imagination, a modern Maria Clara is living and working in the city, wearing chic, trendy, and eye-catching clothes but still keeping the silhouettes of traditional Filipiniana in her wardrobe. At the heart of my collection is a core understanding of a colour palette to compliment any skin colour. Soft hues are mimicked through the use of organza and silk, creating the perfect representation of a warm summer evening, and then contrasted with sharp tailoring. This collection is the perfect combination and contrast of my own cross culture."
Knowing this, how would your clothes fit the modern Filipina now?
"For me, I think a modern Filipina celebrates her culture, boldness, and individuality. She knows how to carry herself with class yet isn’t afraid of trying out something new and stepping outside her comfort zone. She expresses this in the way she acts, thinks, and dresses which is why my clothes would fit a modern Filipina."
Is there a particular kind of woman that you have in mind when you design clothes? Could you describe your ideal Cabrini Roy muse?
"My ideal Cabrini Roy muse is a woman who is fearless yet stays humble to respect her heritage and culture. She’s chic, hard working, strong, and independent."
What do you consider to be your signature style as a designer? Are there certain materials you tend to favor?
"My signature style is minimalism with a feminine touch, whether this means altering the design of a minimal jacket and making it more feminine, or having a minimal garment but using feminine colour palettes. For example in my recent collection, I designed a tailored jacket but I made this more feminine by incorporating a bralette into the jacket."
What can else can we expect from the Cabrini Roy brand? Do you plan on setting up shop in the Philippines soon?
"I’m about to launch my online site where I’ll be able to sell my garments and take custom orders. I plan to open a studio in the Philippines hopefully in the near future as well as having my studio here in England."
Is your studio officially open for business? How can we best reach your atelier for made-to-order pieces?
"We’re hoping to launch end of this month! However if you wanted to place an order already we can make made-to-order pieces with your measurements you can send us an email."