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Did You Know? Our Olympic Team's Opening Ceremony Outfit Was Inspired by UP's Sablay

“Every time a creative in our country goes out on that global platform, you must represent your country the best way you possibly can," the Filipino fashion designer and nationalist Rajo Laurel says when questioned about the creative process behind his craft to celebrate Filipino designers while representing our country.

While the rest of the world awaited the Tokyo Olympics with bated breath, Rajo Laurel behind-the-scenes was given a two-day timeframe to design and construct the attire for our beloved Philippine delegation to wear during the program's opening ceremony. A balanced design that is both visually captivating and pays honor to the country's rich heritage.

In case you’ve been wanting to take that leap into the fashion industry, Preview asked Rajo tips on how young and aspiring Filipino designers can demonstrate their patriotism through their fashion designs:

1. You have to wholeheartedly love the Philippines.

For Rajo, he took the situation of the pandemic as a time to reflect and learn what he can do to effectively express himself as a proud Filipino fashion designer. “We have time to explore our own vocabulary of what it means to become a Filipino fashion designer,” he says. 

2. It's always good to support local.

Other than referencing from our heritage, he emphasizes that supporting local brands is always an important step to uplift the different varieties of arts and culture in the Philippines. Another step is to study and use all the communities' resources that contribute to Filipino fashion designers who serve them material and inspiration such as the weaving, embroidery, and the beading community. Rajo shares that, in this way, we can easily pin point which aspect and what type of fashion you would want to concentrate on so you could grow as a Filipino creative.

3. You must study the culture and our clothes.

Like all art forms, we can start by studying the basics so we could start desgining unique pieces. “[You have to] study the culture, study the clothes, innovate what it means to be a Filipino, and then from there, push it forward,” he says. Rajo believes that this is a vital way for us to shine as designers who can intergrate something that is distinctly Filipino but with a modern creative approach. He shares that this is an area where young and professional designers can start discussing and developing new ideas in order for the our fashion industry to last and reach greater heights.

In this Preview Exclusive interview, Rajo also discusses his creative approach given the short time frame and the special inspiration behind his alampay design.

You can watch the full interview here:

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