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Designer Spotlight: Jona Ballaran

Designer Spotlight: Jona Ballaran Get to know fashion designer/Emir costume designer Jona Ballaran, one of Preview's Ten Designers to Watch for 2010.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND?

I usually watch DVDs, go to the mall, and have a massage or sometimes hang out with friends.

FAVORITE SHOPPING AND TRAVEL DESTINATIONS?

So far, my favorite travel destination is Essaouira, Morocco. The scenery is just so wonderful—the beachside, the nonstop flight of cranes and the blue and white exteriors of the whole district. Plus, the souks have a broad range of stuff to offer. Different leather products like bags, shoes, wallets, silk scarves and cotton tunics, to other stuff you could use at home.

DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?

I used to collect different kinds of skirts when I was in high school. But I stopped when I was in college. Now, I'm looking for new stuff I could collect.

WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? FILMS YOU WATCH? BOOKS YOU READ?

I listen to a wide range of music; it basically depends on my mood and the artist. I could listen to jazz, pop, reggae, electronic, indie rock and sometimes even classical. For films, I actually can watch anything with a great storyline, may it be drama, suspense or comedy. I’ve always been a fan of suspense/thriller books since I was a kid. I’m a fan of Stephen King, Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine

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OTHER PASTIMES, PASSIONS, INTERESTS ASIDE FROM FASHION?

I like watching different types of films and listening to music. I also travel and go out of town when I have free time.

WHICH OTHER TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?

I’ve always wanted to have the talent of singing. I just envy Blondie's and Bonnie Tyler’s voices. They’re so hardcore.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?

So far, my being a costume designer in the movie Emir. It is a musical made for Philippine cinema. It has tested all aspects of my character and personality not just as a designer but also as a person.

WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO FROM YOU AS A DESIGNER?

You can expect more femininity and subtlety from my designs in the future.

WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PHILIPPINE FASHION INDUSTRY NEEDS MOST IN ORDER TO FLOURISH?

I think the Philippine fashion industry needs resources and the support of the government. We need local resources for manufacturing textiles. Most of the materials designers use here is imported from China and Korea. By having trade fairs and expos with the support of the government it will help us promote the use of Filipino-made goods and garments. 

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DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS?

I’d like to tell aspiring designers that respect is always important in this industry. One should always have respect, humility and perseverance. Respect fellow designers' works. Be humble and keep your feet on the ground so that you would know the value of how far you have come. And lastly, aspiring designers should always be patient, for this industry is based on tenure and hard work. Success doesn’t come overnight—it comes from the years you spend and the hard work you give.


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