It's no secret that a lot of Filipinas seek Rajo Laurel's design expertise when they want to look gorgeous and chic. Many men, too, have looked dapper courtesy of Rajo's made-to-order services at House of Laurel and ready-to-wear collaboration with Wharton.
This summer, he's extending the attention to the fellas by launching House of Laurel's exclusive menswear line, RajoMan. Read our tête-à-tête below to find out why Rajo's starting this new line, and to find out all about the first collection (modeled by Denny Barros, photographed by Lope Navo).
Nota bene, ladies: never mind that you can't wear the pieces; peruse the gallery anyway because Denny makes for some serious eye candy!
What prompted you to launch your own RTW menswear line under House of Laurel?
The main reason we created RajoMan was that my brother felt left out. The "lines" of our house grew organically from the need of my family. When my sisters got pregnant, we felt the need for a maternity line. When our nieces and nephews needed clothes, we felt the need to create our children's line, so in a way, this line needed to be done.
RajoMan has actually been in existence for the last 2 years. We already had it at the House of Laurel to compliment our womenswear. However, we decided to formally launch it last March 19 as a response to the growing need for fashionable menswear in Manila.
What makes RajoMan different from your RTW collaboration with Wharton?
The main difference is in the exclusivity. RajoMan only has about six to eight pieces per design, while Wharton makes several hundred pieces. We also make sure that we use a more exclusive set of materials. Since there are limited pieces per design, the chances of bumping into another person wearing the same thing is very slim.
Overall, what sets Rajoman apart from high street brands such as Zara and Topman considering the price points are similar?
Imagine having similar price points while enjoying a sense of exclusivity and having an bespoke element to each piece.
[Ed's note: Pants are priced from P4595-P6595, short-sleeved shirts from P2995-P3795, long-sleeved shirts from P3495-P5295, jackets from P4995-P6995, suit jackets from P8995-P12,495, and bowties from P1995-P2495.]
If I understand correctly, you will be offering alteration services for RajoMan. Can you please tell us more about this?
The whole concept of RajoMan is a combination of bespoke and made-to-order. All the garments are basically 80-90% finished, so the clients have the luxury to tweak it to their personal specifications.
What inspired your first collection?
The first collection was inspired by the sartorial style of my forefathers. We wanted to celebrate the skills of our Filipino tailors. We fused classic tailoring techniques with subtle modern nuances that made the collection more modern and relevant.
What type of men do you envision wearing this new label?
Our target audience are men who appreciate well-made clothes. Definitely, a lot of "creative men" will be enjoying this collection immensely. Our brand ambassadors defined who will be wearing our clothes—young, accomplished and intelligent.
Is Rajoman a capsule collection or is it now going to be a permanent label that your male clients can now look forward to?
RajoMan will be a permanent label under the House of Laurel.
Click on the photo gallery to see the RajoMan Summer 2011 collection.