How do you feel about being a PEFTA finalist this year?
Being a PEFTA finalist feels surreal for me. Surreal because I still can't believe that I was able to impress or somehow connect with the judges who screened our entries.
What motivated you to study fashion design?
I was actually a nerd when I was kid, always excited about everything that I could lay my hands on. If I remember correctly, my first "fashion" moment was reading Image and Marvel comics for the first time. I was so engrossed with the comic book heroes' costumes and their off-hero-in-patrol daily wear that I kept fancying how to make them.
Initially, it was me copying my favorite characters, and then it naturally evolved into sketching original designs for them, until I found myself [looking at] the pages of Vogue, W, Preview, i-D and other design magazines and copying the latest fashions.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
In three words it would be offbeat, personal, and subversive. I like putting things together via matching, mismatching, or just throwing them together randomly until other people's eyes adjust to them.
Please tell us about the portfolio you submitted to Preview. What is the concept behind it? How does it tie in with this year's theme, Silhouette?
The theme being "The Silhouette Reinvented," I wanted to juxtapose "then" and "now" ideas. "Then" ideas coming from the master himself, Cristobal Balenciaga's iconic circular and cocoonish shapes from the '50s and the '60s mixed with the "now" elements from street wear, uniforms, and even ancient armor. And to add dimension to the rather familiar silhouette, I've thrown textures & original prints, innovative fabrication and peculiar finishings to the mix. For example, the "then" idea stemming from viruses, bacteria, fungi and seams being normally hidden will be brought to the front lines for their intrinsic and graphic quality (the "now" idea).
Please tell us about the piece that the Preview editors selected for you to execute.
My first look chosen by Preview is a 3-piece look consisting of a coat, an inner shirt and a skirt that is a good summation of my collection, which features circular shapes, prints, textures and new fabrication in one look.
The coat, which is an obvious reference to Balenciaga's ballooning jackets mishmashed with cardinal uniforms, is made new via curved seams, and the use of a fabric that I'll be making from industrial foam and digital printing. The inner shirt is my take on uniform dressing which will be embossed with circular images based on random manhole covers I've come across the streets of Manila, while the bell-shaped skirt is inspired by microorganisms—their movements and luminous colors.
The colors I chose for this collection is a mixture of washed-out neutrals punctuated with dizzying shades of acid greens, pinks, yellows and blues, which is actually my homage to op-art. My materials will be composed of synthetic and natural fabrics and I'll be employing tailoring, digital printing, and unusual embellishments to further highlight my clothes.
The biggest challenge I'm facing so far is producing the foam fabric. Since it's heat sensitive, getting the right temperature for it to work for my design is crucial.
Where do you get your inspiration? Who are your style influences?
I get my inspiration from literally everywhere. It could be a book I've read, a painting, people I've met, or plain random things that I find one day lying around in our house. I take a personal approach when I design things; things that I literally hate or love.
My style influences would be David Bowie, Miuccia Prada, Dries Van Noten, the old and the new Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Karim Rashid, Anna dello Russo, Daphne Guinness, Anna Piaggi, and Diana Vreeland.
Which artists do you admire most, both local and foreign? How does your aesthetic resonate with theirs?
I admire Juvenal Sanso and Vincent Van Gogh. Sanso's arresting way of combining colors and Van Gogh's almost haphazard but unique way of painting resonates with me through my love for print, textures and colors.
What accomplishments in your budding career are you most proud of?
I'm a starting designer so my biggest accomplishment so far would be being a finalist for this year's PEFTA.
What aspect of fashion design do you seek to master?
I want to master printmaking, whether digital or classical (block printing, silk screen), and tailoring.
How do you envision yourself evolving as a designer?
I see myself evolving as a designer in terms of technique and execution via entering the menswear arena. My printmaking and fabric-making skills would also be put to good use when I design one-off clothes for my dream woman client who's eccentric, charming, and intelligent.
How do you see yourself contributing to the growth of Philippine fashion?
I see myself contributing to the growth of Philippine fashion by innovating and challenging existing ideas about fashion and creating something new whether in silhouette, fabrication, print, or embellishments.