When I was young my mom always loved to dress up. She was launching her career as a singer/actress before she met my dad, and her pictures [where she was] wearing chain mail vests, knee socks with hot pants and elevated shoes, cheongsams with thigh high slits, were a source of inspiration for me. The 70's always blows my mind. I also had a model cousin back in the 80's who always encouraged me to become a fashion designer.
HOW DID YOU START AS A DESIGNER?
After graduating, I encouraged my kabarkada, [fellow designer] Jerome Salaya Ang to do a boutique together. The rest is history.
WHERE DID YOU RECEIVE YOUR FASHION TRAINING?
I studied a short course in fashion design at the DLS-College of Saint Benilde under Inno Sotto. We were the first batch then, together with Jerome Ang and Yvonne Quisumbing.
WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY?
I always like pieces that are more than the usual, pieces that are dramatic and with an international appeal.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION?
From all things, be it small or big. For me all things created by God are beautiful.
WHO ARE YOUR STYLE ICONS? YOUR STYLE INFLUENCES/INSPIRATIONS?
I love McQueen, Galliano, Westwood, Chalayan, Viktor and Rolf, Kawakubo, Mugler, Lady Gaga, Karen Carpenter, the Blessed Virgin Mary...
WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO DRESS? WHO ARE THE CLIENTS YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH?
I love dressing up my collection of the Blessed Virgin Mary images, her outfits and accessories are really couture. I love working with clients that go beyond the border, those who are daring and playful.
WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF TIMELESS STYLE?
Audrey Hepburn, Michael Jackson, Karen Carpenter, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Björk, and Tilda Swinton, mainly because they have a style of their own.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS A DESIGNER?
For people to appreciate what I do: surviving the industry and making a name for myself.
WHICH ASPECT OF THE DESIGN PROCESS DO YOU ENJOY MOST? (PATTERN MAKING, SKETCHING, DRAPING ON MANNEQUIN, SEWING, ETC.)
Envisioning the collection and putting it on paper, then the work process until it becomes reality. You have to enjoy every aspect for the pieces to come out beautifully.
WHAT'S THE BEST CLOTHING ITEM/ACCESSORY WOMEN/MEN SHOULD HAVE?
I think it has to be something that speaks of your personality, be it an outfit or accessories, as long as it's shouting "This is me."
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GARMENT OR FASHION ACCESSORY?
I’m a T-shirt person.
HOW HAVE YOU EVOLVED AS A DESIGNER?
I’m still inventing myself in terms of my techniques and aesthetics.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR CAREER?
Being respected and appreciated by other designers.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU HAVE RECEIVED ABOUT YOUR WORK?
Being appreciated by clients or the press is the greatest compliment.
WHAT ASPECT OF DESIGN DO YOU SEEK TO MASTER/HAVE DEVOTED TIME TO MASTER?
ASPIRATIONS FOR THE BRAND IN THE FUTURE?
Yes, an RTW line.
HOW DO YOU UNWIND?
Chatting and having coffee with friends, playing with my pets, going out of town, to the spa, to Marian exhibits, and to the church, and spending time with loved ones.
FAVORITE SHOPPING AND TRAVEL DESTINATIONS?
Ukay-ukay. For travel, anywhere... I love nature.
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
I’m a collector by nature, from my childhood toys, crystal stones, books, sea shells, bottles, blue and white porcelain, to Catholic santo statues.
WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? FILMS YOU WATCH? BOOKS YOU READ?
I listen to The Carpenters, and I love fantasy, drama, and horror films. I read books about art and religious.
OTHER PASTIMES, PASSIONS, INTERESTS ASIDE FROM FASHION?
Collecting, traveling, going to the spa. I paint oils and watercolors, and I sketch. I can spend the whole day in a garden, in a museum, in a bookstore.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE?
Buying to add to my collections.
WHICH OTHER TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Being on Preview's Ten Designers to Watch is one of them.
WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO FROM YOU AS A DESIGNER?
More conventional pieces. RTW, perhaps.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PHILIPPINE FASHION INDUSTRY NEEDS MOST IN ORDER TO FLOURISH?
Government support. It's hard to survive and grow as an artist or as a designer if our government shows no interest in an industry that is money-making and is globally known.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS?
Always keep your feet on the ground. Don't lose hope. Taste is very important in this business, as well as study and research. And always pray.