Among the sea of 30 students from the Fashion Institute of the Philippines (FIP) that showed their graduation collections a month ago, a short 4-look collection stood out for its ringing, deceptive simplicity, clean tailoring, and the finale's sharp minimalism. Young designer Seph Bagasao sent a chic coterie of rakishly suited androgynes down his class' culminating runway. The collection was proclaimed by the fashion principals in attendance as the best of the night, and Seph earned himself an all-expense paid trip to Paris, as well as an opportunity to be sold at The Ramp Crossings.
The Preview and StyleBible editors in the audience that night couldn't help but be proud of Seph as he accepted his well-earned award. He is, after all, one of the young students who made it to this year's PEFTA list, impressing us with his tasteful aesthetic, which he describes as "straightforward, clean, and crisp, with a subtle hint of quirkiness because [he likes] adding details that aren't that normal to the eyes of those who love minimalism."
This FIP graduate has always been in love with fashion, watching Fashion TV and following the collections of Versace and Gucci when he was in grade school, sketching clothes nonstop even if "they looked like frogs." But his journey to fashion design school wasn't smooth. "When I was about to enter college my parents didn't agree with my idea of taking up fashion design," Seph shares. "After years and years of heart-to-heart talks, I finally got their support after I finished college. That's a total of 5 years of convincing them." It finally paid off, and while he was studying in FIP, he dabbled in styling gigs for music videos and in-store campaigns. "But at the end of the day," Seph continues, "I'd still go back to what I have in my heart, which is designing."
For the PEFTA fashion show, Seph presented his interpretation of minimalism, taking it into a distinctly urban direction, despite his tranquil inspiration. "My inspiration is a simple panoramic photo of a man standing on the shore of a beach. You can only see his silhouette at the center of the blue waters. The photo is very simple but there's a lot of thinking that should happen so you can see its real beauty. My designs can relate to that because you really have to capture the emotions behind every piece that went down the runway." He envisions "confident, artistic, straightforward, and passionate" women to be wearing his designs, "women who know how to enjoy the blessings around her, and women who can celebrate their uniqueness in more ways than one."
All of the accolades Seph has gotten so far encourages him to foster his creativity and craft. Of being among the ten designers in PEFTA, he says, "I feel so blessed because as a young designer and a recent graduate of fashion design, this is a very good start for me. It's not that easy to penetrate this industry. Competition is everywhere—everyday there's a new design student. I feel excited because of the things that are in store for me. This is a new chapter and I'm bound to experience more and more responsibilities and challenges."
This young one also doesn't hesitate to acknowledge a higher power he thinks is at work behind his early victories. "I'm also proud of God because everything that has happened is from Him, and to be chosen as one of the Designers to Watch this year is really a gift from Him. It brings me one step closer to turning my dreams into reality."
Click on the photo gallery to view Seph Bagasao's collection for PEFTA.