The brainchild of Loralee Baron-Soong and Amina Aranaz-Alunan, School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA) Design Institute of the Philippines is the first ever college specializing in design. Since its establishment in 2007, the school has produced some of the most talented local fashion designers of today. Meet them all below.
Vania Romoff's fashion line is now synonymous to anything feminine and romantic in the local fashion scene. Vania comes from a couturier family from Cebu but she decided to set up her own brand in Manila. Shortly after studying at SoFA, she entered the fashion radar and made it to Preview's Emerging Fashion Talents (PEFTA) in 2011.
Kaye Morales was one of SoFA's star students. After graduating, she released her prêt-à-porter line called Schizo. This was before she launched her eponymous label. Today, Kaye's design DNA continues to be a favorite in the local fashion scene. Her urban streetwear aesthetic with a hint of punk kitsch remains to be a loud, distinct voice of style.
Tipay holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines Diliman, then later on completed SoFA's Fashion Design course back in 2012. She is known for her fun pieces, which, she claims were born from her "heterogeneous artistic background." This rich heritage has also led her to champion slow fashion, ethical production, and use of innovative product. Tippy has shown her work at London Fashion Week, Manila Fashion Festival, and Manila FAME.
Tal De Guzman
Tal is more than just a shoe designer; she's an entrepreneur and an advocate for locally produced footwear. In fact, she has started to build an online shopping hub for local shoes as part of her mission to bring back the glory days of Marikina-made footwear.
Gabbie Sarenas has her heart set on putting the spotlight on modern Filipiniana. Her most notable works include piña bibs that bear embroidery as a nod to our heritage. She also made the PEFTA list in 2016.
Candice Arboleda recently made it to the list of young designers to watch out for last year. Her work weaves enchanting stories told through avant-garde garments.
Chris Nick Delos Reyes
Chris is your guy if you've got a love affair with all things black. This young designer will dress you with pieces that are elegant and sexy, yet classic.
Juan Paolo Francisco
This fresh fashion design grad is a budding eveningwear designer who is proof that anyone can get glammed up for a soiree.
Along with Gabbie Sarenas, Shamina Magarang, and Abimer, CJ is also a PEFTA alumni. You can easily distinguish his work by his penchant for focusing on clean lines and silhouettes and minimalism. Last year, this young designer made it to the finals of Redress Design Award, the world’s largest sustainable fashion design competition where he showcased his collection inspired by melting ice glaciers. Before becoming a designer, CJ was a nurse.
As mentioned above, Shamina is a PEFTA alumni back in 2016. She is known for highlighting a women's body with her sultry and skin-baring designs.
Along with Lyn Galo, Pinky Magalona made it to Preview's Top 10 collections in 2017. Both of their works also appeared in Vogue Italia. Pinky has always been destined for the design industry, taking after her parents who are both into fashion as well. She started sewing at the tender age of seven and later on had a stint at a Kuwaiti couture house.
You might know Reese as a local OPM artist, but this singer is also a fashion designer. She graduated SoFA in 2013 and made it to Preview's Emerging Fashion Talent pool in 2014.
Lyn Galo's aesthetic is made for royals. She is known for her opulent and intricate designs, which once earned her a place in our Top 10 collections. Following this feat, Lyn also won the Runway Dubai's Fashion Competition Award in 2018.
Mark's talent was first recognized at the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines' (FDCP) social design competition in 2011. He was a promising young designer who apprenticed under Patrice Ramos-Diaz and Randy Ortiz after graduating SoFA.
Abimer is a PEFTA alumna who specializes in lounge wear and sultry pieces that can easily flaunt one's best assets. Since graduating SoFA, she has successfully set up her online business.