Yves Camingue stands unassuming at his booth at Centrestage Hong Kong, a trade fair for young designers to display their wares to the Asian market. As I approach and handle his clothes with care he perks up, hyper-aware of a potential customer in the vicinity. "Are you Filipina?" he asks, and immediately launches in friendly conversation after I confirm his suspicion. Yves is everything a young designer should be—he has a strong vision and, most importantly, hungry for more. Read our conversation below to see why this designer deserves your attention.
His runway presentation during Centrestage Hong Kong.
What made you decide to take your brand out of the Philippines?
"I always take risks. Every new opportunity comes from a new decision, and that's why I brought my collection to this event. You never know when new doors will open, and since this is Asia it's a very big platform and I want to attract the Asian market. So I'm just taking it one continent at a time."
What about the feedback you've gotten so far about your designs?
"Mostly specialty stores from other countries. I've gotten inquiries from buyers who are looking for one-of-a-kind pieces, and that's where I hit the mark. Buti nalang I checked those boxes for them."
What's one thing you've learned about the Philippine fashion industry after being exposed overseas?
"When we got here, during the rehearsals, sabi ko, 'At least nakatungtong ang Pinas.' By means of workmanship, dun tayo iba kase sa detailing. Although it's obvious that you had work done, its kind of compressed and sublimated. Hindi siya shouting na daming gawa. That's how we're different from other countries."
What about you as a designer?
"I learned about the standard of craftmanship and the work put into the clothes. Hindi pwede mag tamad-tamaran. I don't believe in sacrificing your ideas. Whatever you have, do it."
IMAGE Jeff Ong
Images from his S/S17 Lookbook entitled Camp Kinnari.
Were they shocked to find out your clothes were made in the Philippines?
"Yeah! Na-shock sila. It's another side of Philippine fashion, aside from the gowns and couture. That's what I want to be known for. Street talaga ang aesthetic ko, that's what I always want this brand to be about. Although this collection touches new territory. It has a few evening looks that you can take from day to night, maybe not in the city kase sheer siya. Maybe more of resort and for travel, not necessarily party dresses."
What countries inquired about your clothes?
"Singapore, India, Guangzhou, so far."
What were the obstacles you had to overcome to make it to this trade show?
"Filtering my ideas and getting inspiration. I had to battle opinions from other people versus my own inspiration. At the end of the day, I said to myself that people's comments won't matter, you just have to follow your voice. Everything comes in when the business is there, that's the time you have to edit.
Time also. I have a day job, so I only get to work on this at night or on weekends. Plus, my production is in Cebu, so it takes two weeks for every batch to be done."
What's next for you?
"I plan to market this to the stylists in Manila. I'm also sending out lookbooks to all the different countries that inquired during the fair."