WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A DESIGNER?
I have a family that's in love with the arts. Either as an artist or a spectator, I've been living in a household that breeds creativity. It's in my blood. I just happened to choose clothing as my canvas.
HOW DID YOU START AS A DESIGNER?
The One School, the entrepreneurship school I graduated from, requires you to start a business before the course ends. I was first noticed by StyleBible at the Fabric: SoFA Retail Lab fashion show event at Embassy in 2008 where they took notice of my collection that released the harem pants silhouette and the bodycon skirts and dresses.
WHERE DID YOU RECEIVE YOUR FASHION TRAINING?
I've had no formal training! I learned through deconstructing vintage and ukay-ukay pieces and by reading books on pattern making.
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY?
Try anything and be critical.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION?
Mostly from travel. The place's culture, language, traditional costumes, etc. get you so excited and inspired. It's addictive.
WHO ARE YOUR STYLE ICONS? YOUR STYLE INFLUENCES/INSPIRATIONS?
Locally, I really admire Tina Maristela-Ocampo and Pam Quiñones. I am also greatly influenced by my brother, [interior designer] Junie [Rodriguez], and my mom, [Fe Rodriguez] of course. She played a big part in all of this. She will always be the epitome of glamor and style.
WHICH DESIGNERS/ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
Locally I admire Pepito Albert's genius and Rajo Laurel's ingenuity and hard work. In the international scene, I'm always looking forward to seeing work from Antwerp's best: Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, and Martin Margiela. I also really love what Alber Elbaz has done for the house of Lanvin.
WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO DRESS? WHO ARE THE CLIENTS YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH?
I would love to dress the Olsen twins. That's my ultimate dream. Here at home, I have yet to make Pam Quiñones a piece. That's a dream collab, too. I enjoy working mostly with friends because they give me all the creative freedom. A client that deserves a special mention is one of my best friends, Janthina Fong—she is my best muse. Veronica Mendez, also one of my best friends, always pushes me to take bigger risks in my designs.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS A DESIGNER?
Meeting demands. I still have an artist's temperament and I need to beat it for the hustle.
WHICH ASPECT OF THE DESIGN PROCESS DO YOU ENJOY MOST?
Pattern making, draping, and finishing—these are definitely my strengths. Dyeing is also a lot fun for me. It brings me back to 10th grade art when all I did was paint, paint, paint.
WHAT'S THE BEST CLOTHING ITEM WOMEN SHOULD HAVE?
A little black dress. Or lots of them.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GARMENT OR FASHION ACCESSORY?
My favorite clothing basics are the white T-shirt, the denim shorts, and the black bondage skirt. Fashion accessory? That's hard, but if I had to pick just one, it would be a men's watch.
ANY CURRENT TRENDS THAT YOU'RE FOND OF? ANY CURRENT OBSESSIONS?
This love for sheer has been going on for a while, but I really have a special love for it. It's so sexy but studying how and where to put the right amount of sheer is so challenging and exciting. But for this fall, I like the presence of more colors in the shows. Color for fall is refreshing. (Just like how I am obsessed with how Alber Elbaz and Ann Demeulemeester always incorporate black in their spring collections.) I also particularly like that the runways are encouraging women to suit up. I haven't personally attacked this trend yet, but I'd love to. I also like the contrast in hems—long-long or short-short.
HOW HAVE YOU EVOLVED AS A DESIGNER?
My techniques have gotten more sophisticated and my patterns are becoming more unique and less traditional. My "look" is really coming together.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER?
I don't wanna answer this yet! I don't wanna jinx anything. Still lots of work to do and lots of successes to accomplish. The fight is far from over.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Doing what I love.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU HAVE RECEIVED ABOUT YOUR WORK?
When someone expressed their appreciation for my originality. That to me is special.
WHAT ASPECT OF DESIGN DO YOU SEEK TO MASTER?
Fashion design in its entirety. Almost there.
ASPIRATIONS FOR THE BRAND IN THE FUTURE?
Bigger. Better. Faster. Stronger!