1. What got you started into fashion design?
"I did PR work before studying dressmaking at Slim's Fashion and Arts School. When I finished the dressmaking course, I decided to look for an internship because I learn best under a mentor who pushes me. I decided to intern for Pablo Cabahug's design studio. While still working as an intern, Mr. Cabahug encouraged me to join Look of Style Awards (LOSA) because he believed I was ready to try competitions. I ended up as a finalist and then eventually a finalist again in Manila Fashion Festival x Bobson. After doing a bunch of freelancing and internships on the side, Art Personas eventually tapped me to join Incubator and launch my brand in Manila Fashion Festival."
2. Describe the role of a designer.
"Personally, the role of a designer must be a balance of being an artist and an entrepreneur. Fashion isn't all about art. It's also a business wherein you deliver a client's needs while being conscious enough to maintain or build your brand's image."
3. How does your entrepreneurial side dominate when it comes to your fashion design career?
"Well, to be honest I am still in the adjustment period as I work on my own now. My aesthetic, I believe, blends well in business because even though I am doing made-to-measure pieces, I can also adjust myself with pret-à-porter. Shifting from streetwear to couture to bridal is fine with me—it's like a school's creative exercises made to apply in the real world."
4. How would you describe your aesthetic?
"Clean and playful—with some Japanese streetwear influences and a subtle hint of elegance. I also make it to a point that when I design pieces, I can mix and match pieces with one another to create a new look."
5. Are there any designers out there both foreign and local that you admire?
"For local designers, I look up to Sir Danilo Franco, Tito Joey Samson, Sir Pablo Cabahug, Sir Ivar Aseron, and Sir Jun Escario. As for foreign designers or fashion houses, I admire Jil Sander, Thom Browne, Viktor & Rolf, Delpozo, Comme des Garcon, and Yohji Yamamoto. I like having a variety of aesthetics to look up to since and each of the different styles have their own strength. It's very inspiring on my part, because in reality, there are times I want to look feminine, and there are times I want to be boyish, so the same thing goes with the designers I admire."
6. Name someone or a brand that you would dream of doing a collaboration with?
"Since I am leaning towards luxe streetwear, I dream to collaborate with adidas or Nike to produce pieces that are posh yet sporty and can be worn anytime and anywhere. For local brands, I would like again to work with Bench and produce a limited-edition collection as I had fun designing a challenge from them in LOSA (Look of Style Awards 2016) wherein the finalists had to rework existing pieces to create a new design—my design at that time was a pants-turned-tube backless dress that was inspired by the folds of pañuelo."
7. What made you decide to focus your style on luxe sportswear?
"It's a personal choice: I love street fashion, but my internship experience with Sir Pablo Cabahug also made me appreciate couture. I am actually very grateful with him because of his influence, I can easily work on streetwear designer pieces without getting uncomfortable once a client needs a gown."
8. Which type of materials do you usually like to work with?
"Whenever I design, I consider textures a lot—especially since I don't really work with printed fabrics. I like materials that provide structure such as denim, jacquard and brocade. I am also comfortable with cotton, wool, linen, and mesh."
9. What is the most challenging thing about designing?
"When doing a collection, a major challenge is to produce pieces that are relatable, but at the same time, different from the existing designs out in the market. For now, the challenge is more on the production aspect since I can only have on-call staff."
10. What is the most important thing to you as a designer?
"I hate what ifs—that's why I chased my dreams by leaving a promising career in PR to become a fashion designer. My main goal is to achieve longevity in the industry—that's why for now, the most important thing for me is to become relevant and consistent, because I hope that someday, whether I will still be in fashion or not, when I remember the younger KC, there will be no regrets."
Spotted wearing KC Pusing: