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Designer Spotlight: Tan-gan

Lulu Tan-Gan on the second phase of her career, and the brand.
Designer Spotlight: Tan-gan Lulu Tan-Gan on the second phase of her career, and the brand.

The name Tan-Gan has ingrained itself as the country's go-to brand for fashionable, tropical-weight knitwear. The brand has also become synonymous to its foundress, who has been dubbed the country's "Queen of Knits".

Now, as she enters a new chapter in her career, Lulu Tan-Gan steps away from the design table, into the role of Creative Director. With her team of young ones—Solenn Heussaff as a new in-house designer and daughter Jessica Tan-Gan, who just graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM)—she moves to take the brand to the next level.

WHAT'S NEW AT TAN-GAN?

I've been designing for 25 years, and I've now passed the reigns to Solenn (Heussaff), who designed this collection. I have taken on the role of Creative Director. What I do is give the concept and the theme, and then she works from there.

Starting this year, for all the TAN-GAN shows, she will be the one designing, the one in the spotlight. The line will be called Tan-Gan by Solenn Heussaff, because TAN-GAN will now be a house label. (We'll be inviting other designers to develop other products as well).

Solenn has been with us for two years; she also has her own line of shoes, under her own label, which are sold in L Manila.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST COLLECTION?

This collection is actually Filipino-inspired. We launched our piña line, but that's really more for bridal. We don't want to mix it up with the knits for now.

In terms of Filipino-inspired design, we focused a lot on stones and beads; it's more tribal and indigenous. It's a contemporary approach to Filipiniana versus the traditional styles.

We continued the tradition of (TAN-GAN's) knitwear, in terms of material and silhouette. We made a few terno-style pieces, to infuse a traditional cut, but for the rest, they fall under Filipino resort wear, which are perfect for short weekend getaways as well as further travels.

WHAT ABOUT THE COLORS?

We focused a lot on, I would say, natural tones. Not really neutral, but the color of fruits, like mangoes, or the silvery gray hue of stones. They're not really quite bright, they're more subtle. You may have noticed that we also used accessories like feathered bibs and vests.

We decided not to produce the bibs, because many were already doing this trend. Instead, we're working on the vest now (a harness-like necklace). It will hopefully be available by the end of March. For now, we'll have the prom dresses out first, as it's the season for graduation balls.

WHAT ARE THE NEWER ELEMENTS THAT YOU INCORPORATED IN THE COLLECTION?

The bib necklaces, the beaded vests, and our others beaded items. The embellishments normally for the mature market include sequins and glass beads. For this (latest collection), we used large stones, metal beads and studs, to give it a younger appeal.

WHEN WILL THE COLLECTION BE AVAILABLE?

By March. You know it's easy to be a designer; you just have to have the talent. But to make it happen, that's harder. Also, it's hard for a designer to learn knits because it is a medium that requires very technical patterns and handling.

The collection isn't exactly for teenagers, but would appeal to a more mature market. We also maintained Tan-Gan's versatility, allowing you to mix and match the pieces with the items that are already in your closet. The pieces are also timeless; they transform depending on how you accessorize.

The piña is for a particular market. We have the vests, and we also have pieces embellished with larger stones and beads. There are also metal beads and studs, which make it feel very young.

Click here to see the newest collection of TAN-GAN by Solenn Heussaff.

Click here to see TAN-GAN's contact information.

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