Designer James Reyes just passed away on March 16 at the young age of 48.
The unfortunate news came from an announcement by the Fashion & Design Council of the Philippines, along with a flood of posts on his Facebook page, mourning the loss of the vibrant creative. “We at FDCP mourn the loss of our member and secretary James Reyes. We are in shock. Rest in Peace, James,” the post reads.
Having initially dedicated a career in advertising, James first answered the fashion world’s call back in 2004. His reportoire often catered to the sartorial sensibilities of both the Filipinos and Japanese as he was known for his whimsically graphic and inventive modern designs.
However, as a testament to his talent, James knew to branch out from designing custom pieces, and had occasionally crafted garments, notably including hand-painted designs for the productions of Ballet Philippines.
On the side, he had also taken on the role of costume designer for a few plays like Tanghalang Pilipino’s Pangarap sa Isang Gabi ng Gitnang Tag-Araw, which served as a localized adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
He also designed costumes for Mabining Mandirigma, again with Tanghalang Pilipino, for which he won an Oustanding Costume Design Award at the 2015 Gawad Buhay Awards.
Just last year James had also taken over the reigns of bespoke men’s apparel brand Bergamo, as its Creative Director.
In light of this devastating news, friends and patrons of James’ work, such as fellow creatives like Joyce Makitalo, Amina Aranaz-Alunan, and writer Alex Y. Vergara have taken to social media to express their grief over this great loss.
“James Reyes, you were a brilliant paper cutter (your white flowers and this mohawk which you made for me), a real artist, an amazing designer ahead of your time. I love you and your work and will miss our crazy jokes…” Joyce’s heartbreaking Instagram post read. “Journey well my friend, God is always with you.”
"So shocked by this news. We just met last week planning our activities for FDCP," writes Amina Aranaz.
"As a designer, the wit and whimsy of your designs were evident in your clothes. As a journalist’s subject, you’re always a joy to interview be cause of your openness and useful insights. As a friend, you never fail to keep people’s spirits up, whether in person or online. I’m still in shock to learn that you’ve left us already. The world is a lesser place without you, #JamesReyes," came Alex Vergara's tribute.
Rest in peace, James. You will surely be missed.