In the cutthroat world of fashion, a designer has to have potent passion in order to stand out and flourish. That, we think, is Jerome Lorico’s greatest weapon, next to his literary background that fuels his creative mind which later translates into amazing statement pieces. With his successful runs in various fashion shows both here and abroad, plus noteworthy collaborations with retail brands like Folded and Hung and Swatch, you would think that Jerome has already done everything. But his heart is set for greater things, and his love for the craft landed him a spot as the first Filipino to work for British’s hottest haute couture label, Alexander McQueen.
Read on as the young designer talks about his life in London and what he misses most from back home.
First things first: How did you get in McQueen’s team?
I was scouted from London Fashion Week when someone [from McQueen] saw my collection last season for an exhibition. I applied and sent my designer profile and background through e-mail and we basically ended up exchanging e-mails for more than a month before they invited me for an interview. A week after the interview, they confirmed that I got the placement as an apprentice for the menswear department.
What’s the biggest challenge in your work so far?
The most challenging part of the work is that I have to go through the whole process of design—from product development and research to the more technical aspects like pattern-making and sewing. It's really intense work but I'm glad because I'm learning a lot.
Can you walk us through your regular work routine?
I wake up around 5:30-6:00 in the morning, and then I’m off to the studio by 8 o'clock. I arrive an hour later and immediately start working on the tasks assigned by the supervisor. I work throughout the day and finish by 7:00 p.m. Then I just go straight home to rest and prepare for work the next day.
What do you do in your free time? How do you unwind?
It's winter now so I prefer staying in and reading books or just updating people back in Manila. I also cook and just hang out with my friends in the flat. On days with nice weather, I go out for a walk to places like Portobello, Bond Street, or Picadilly Circus. If I'm not there I'd probably be in a museum or in an art gallery.
What’s your advice to young designers who also want to make it in the international scene?
I don't really want to consider myself as someone who really made it already; I believe that I'm still within a process and I don’t think this is the end of my journey as a young designer. But I think that anyone with strong passion about something like fashion design should just believe in what they can do. We should consider the fact that talent is a universal language, and that although we come from a developing city like Manila, we have the capacity to take hold of an opportunity same as everyone else. We should definitely stand up for what we think is due us and what we think would be a possible catalyst for greater things and possibilities to come.
What inspires you?
My journey as a young designer is a continuous struggle. And this I believe challenges me to just push the boundaries. Nobody knows his limit until he feels his face flat on a wall. But amidst that, we all know that a wall can still be climbed or hammered down. So I guess what inspires me is the idea that opportunities, ideas, and dreams expand as long as we keep on searching for them. The only limit is the one that we create.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your design career?
Fashion is deceiving; it is a very glossy surface. It is important to break that mantle so you can find its very core. This is where you should put an anchor, so that you never lose your self or your objectives no matter what happens. Talent can sometimes be volatile. It can quickly vanish into thin air if you keep your lid open from distractions and the temporary gleam of the industry.
What do you miss most in the Philippines?
My family, my close friends, my bed, my cat, the noise of traffic, and the cheap prices of cigarettes.
What are the top 3 things you want to tick off on your 2013 bucket list?
#1 Visit Paris and eat a croissant at the Eiffel tower
#2 Sunset in Batanes
#3 Study again in a university
Care for a trip down memory lane? Click here to watch Jerome’s interview for Fashion Watch Holiday 2011.
Click here to view his Spring/Summer 2012 collection.