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Kermit Tesoro is All Tied Up with Roping

50 Shades of Grey just met its fashion match.
Kermit Tesoro is All Tied Up with Roping 50 Shades of Grey just met its fashion match.

The last time we caught up with designer Kermit Tesoro, he was on full blast travel mode, Euro-hopping through 15 different stops. He went biking around Amsterdam, partied Oktoberfest-style in Germany, and even found time to pass by Gustav Klimt's tombstone in Austria to pay his art hero his respects. These days, when he’s not involved with botanical and horticultural activities or doing high endurance workout exercises, he’s exploring erotica art—which explains why he’s all tied up in the photo below.

This is a photo of Kermit at a class with Manila’s bondage dominatrix, Joyen Santos. Currently working on a capsule collection highly influenced by the shibari sensibility (a style of Japanese rope bondage), the young designer refuses to do anything half-baked which is why he sought the help of Joyen to further develop his knowledge on the art.

Can you share with us how you got attracted to rope bondage in the first place?

Back in college, I did a personal thesis about weaving (Sagada weaving in particular). Long story short, it was about modifying indigenous fabric without causing profanity or bastardization. I had to learn how to weave my own fabric, and after that I decided to make a series of works (mostly as performance art) recreating the idea of  pupal casing or cocoon using an actual person.  Now it has evolved into a different story and discipline.

How do you plan to incorporate that into your collection? Would you be using actual rope? Or just materials that resemble it? 

I'd like to use the actual material (jute or hemp) for the very basic reasons: function and rough aesthetics. Also, I want to stick to its earthy and organic feel since the core of my capsule collection is all about being au naturel and the sensuality and interaction between human and nature.  

Super interesting!  Please share with us bits of what you learned from the class.

Joyen and I are collaborating to make the pieces happen. Thanks to her quick roping instinct, we were able to give justice to our potential vision, although we've got more sessions to go to see the actual fruition.

The moment I brought my super high "geta sandal" platforms, she just twisted her hemp rope all over her feet and ankle and made a clever strapping to one of my shoe prototypes!


As her model, I had to feel the tension of the rope around me and how it's nullified by the trust I'm giving. It's no longer about being bound and helpless, it's about silently observing an untapped craft and learning things through actual experience. This helped my studies, because reading and researching about it is not enough to understand the method.

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Exciting things, indeed! We cannot wait to see the finished product. Pretty sure it will be all things awesome with a dash of some special Kermit Tesoro spice. 

Photos from Kermit Tesoro

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