Catching the attention of foreign eyes like Vogue, Malou Romero showed her first collection to global trade shows last year, just a few years from her debut in Manila FAME. Now, she’s back to one of Paris’ most prestigious shows this year: Paris Fashion Week.
Known for her quality craftsmanship, Malou brings with her a new collection that once again puts the Filipino culture in spotlight alongside other world-class designers.
Hey Malou! Congratulations for being invited again in Paris Fashion Week! Can you tell us about your collection?
"For Spring-Summer 2017, I designed a collection, 'Bulaklak sa Panaginip' (Flowers in Dreams) inspired by Philippine Flora. My collection takes a surreal twist through the juxtaposition of flowers and human facial features, as seen in one’s dreams. It surely tickles the imagination as it embraces an unconventional representation."
How is it different from your previous collections?
"This new collection is more quirky and more feminine. The jewelry is more refined and delicate as compared to the previous one."
This is your sophomore year in the trade show. How did you improve, or how were you able to grow as a designer compared from your first year?
"During my initial year, I didn't know what to expect and what the market was looking for. Now, I am more true to my design aesthetics. My designs now are more personal, more me. This I think is what makes you stand out and different among the other exhibitors in the trade show."
What are you expecting for the brand in the trade fair?
"Good sales, of course! And more opportunity to sell to high-quality concept stores. I also expect to meet more fashion personalities during the fair."
Last March, you met Iris Apfel. How was that experience? And which fashion personality would you love to meet next?
"It was overwhelming! I was just reading an article about her weeks ago, and then she came to our booth, so I was very happy and [I feel] privileged to have seen and met her. I would love to meet Sarah Lerfel, owner of Colette."
Why did you decide to take your brand out of the Philippines? How did you know it was time to show to a global audience?
"When I joined Manila Fame, I realized that I could also participate in International trade shows. I've heard that it was really tough to be accepted in Premiere Class, but out of curiosity, I tried applying. After months of no replies, I got an email that I got accepted. From then on, I believed that my brand could merit international recognition."
How has the reception of your accessories been in an international setting?
"In Paris, they adore pieces that have a story and are handcrafted. My accessories didn't have a hard time being noticed. It was well received!"
Are they surprised to find out you're from the Philippines?
"Yes, because most of the buyers didn't expect that we had this kind of artwork and craftsmanship. It is also an honor to represent the Filipino artistry in this regard."
What's next for Joanique in the local and international scenes?
"Locally, aside from the trade show and pop-up events, you can expect Joanique's collaboration with other Filipino designers. Internationally, we are becoming more open in joining exhibits in other parts of the world. Like in Shanghai, where we are about to join a trade show this October and probably in Japan, as well."
Main image and photos from @joanique_ and @malouromero on Instagram