Meet the three Filipino designers who’ll be part of Tokyo Fashion Week

Meet the three Filipino designers who’ll be part of Tokyo Fashion Week

By Celene Sakurako
Photos by Mac Villaluna

On Sept. 10, the last day of the four-day fashion affair that is BENCH/ Fashion Week, 10 selected local designers: Diorelle Sy, Carlo Angelo Niu, Yves Caminge, Karla Beatrice Samson, Randolph Santos, Maria Esmeralda Palaganas, Jayson Aguilar Glarino, Jennifer Anne Conteras, and Christian Edward Dalogaog, got to strut their stuff at the Bench Design Awards (BDA) at The Playground of the Bench Tower in BGC.

Showcasing eight looks from their Spring/Summer 2018 collection each, three winners out of the 10 designers were handpicked by a team of esteem judges to win a mentorships and an all-expense paid trip to Tokyo to showcase their whole 12-piece collection at this year’s Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo from Oct. 16 to Oct. 22.

We talk to three designers who came out on top—Jennifer Anne “Jenni” Conteras, Randolph “RJ” Santos, and Jayson Aguilar “Jaggy” Glarino—to learn about their process, the inspirations for their respective collections, and of course, themselves.

Jenni (23, Laguna) @jennipepperoni

Spring/Summer 2018 Collection name.
Problem Child

What was the inspiration behind your collection?

“A couple things influenced me in making the collection. First of all, I am in love with Romina Ressia’s works; I was inspired by her anachronisms and her Renaissance influence. The viral memes of Fly Art and Cecilia Azcarate also played a huge part in my design process. At the time of production, I was watching a lot of Stanley Kubrick films so that’s where I got the concept of delivering a perverse and dark message in a colorful, vibrant, and whimsical way.”

How does this collection tie in with your brand and personal style?

“I was raised by two very open and very unconventional parents so that reflects a lot in my personal style. I’d say I’m a liberated person, so I’m not afraid of wearing and making clothes that make others raise their eyebrows. (laughs) I’m very much into prints and layering, and I don’t like to wear revealing clothes. To me being liberated doesn’t always have to mean showing a lot of skin. As for my brand, this is the first time since I graduated from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde that I got to release a collection under my name, so this is actually the first time I got to express who I am as a designer. I’m still very new to this and I’m still trying to figure out what my brand is about. I don’t even have a name for it yet!”

What kind of people do you want to rock your clothes?

“Whomever likes my stuff. I don’t like the idea of saying who can and cannot wear my clothes. I know the correct way to do it is to establish a target market or a target audience and build your brand from there, but it all feels very limiting to me. As a designer I want to be able to explore a lot of different things, a lot of different people, and a lot of different styles.”

How do you feel about winning?

“I’m just so happy, grateful, and excited, times a million! There was a time when I decided to quit designing clothes, because I thought I wasn’t good enough, and I wasn’t 100% proud of what I was doing; I stopped designing clothes for almost a year, and I didn’t really plan on designing clothes ever again—well until this. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan to pursue fashion. So, for me this is everything. This is the first time I actually believe that I’m good at this.”

Did you expect you’d win?

“Not at all. After the dress rehearsal (which was also the deliberation period) I was already down in the dumps backstage and I kept telling my friends that I lost my chance in winning because I messed up. I blanked out because of panic during the quick change so there were a ton of mistakes when my models walked out. I just felt so bad about it.”

What can we expect from you at the Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo?

“I’ll be adding six more looks to the collection—three of which will be menswear. This is going to be my first time I’ll be making menswear so I’m really excited.”

RJ (27, Cainta) @randolfclothing

Spring/Summer 2018 Collection name.
Borders by Randolf

What was the inspiration behind your collection?

“Songs my family used to listen to when we would accompany my dad across North Luzon. Songs by Abba and Led Zeppelin to be specific. (laughs) I actually had the concept way before I decided to join BDA, but BDA gave me that extra motivation to push the collection further from what I originally planned it to be.”

How does this collection tie in with your brand and personal style?

“I admire designers like Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Mich Dulce, and Veluz, for their dedication and technique in construction, but me personally, I am a tees and shorts/pants kind of guy. I started Randolf, right after I graduated college, selling tote bags and tees at local markets in Escolta, Makati, and San Juan, and I’ve gotten pretty far with it; the brand is about my fascination with pop culture, graphic arts, and technique.”

What kind of people do you want to rock your clothes?

“Randolf is for the people who just want to have fun and keep exploring. It’s for those who have no restrictions when it comes to fashion.”

How do you feel about winning?

“It feels really great! One of my plans for my brand is to be able to sell abroad, and this opportunity will help me get closer to that goal.”

Did you expect you’d win?

“I won’t say that I expected to win, but I sure did think that I deserved to win. I mean, we all join hoping to win right? We all worked hard on our collections, so to me I see it as a matter of what the judges are looking for at the time. But, I won’t lie, I was sweating when there was only one spot left. I remember taking a deep breath and telling myself: “may next year pa.” (laughs)

What can we expect from you at the Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo?

“I plan to redo some pieces and add a complete the backstory to Borders. For Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo, I’ll be releasing the complete final collection. “

Jaggy (31, Davao) @jaggy_glarino

Spring/Summer 2018 Collection name.
Paper Plane by JaGgy

What was the inspiration behind your collection?

“This collection is a collage of my childhood, of all the things dear and memorable to me growing up. I’d say, it’s very different from my past collections, because this one is far less cerebral, and simply a direct and literal take on things personal to me.”

How does this collection tie in with your brand and personal style?

“I have always loved fashion ‘antagonists’ who seem to always effortlessly push the boundaries of fashion beyond its limits. I’m a self-taught designer so my whole fashion career has been built on YouTube videos and trial and error. I draw inspiration from anything but trends, so like my personal style, my designs are always unorthodox and intuitive. I try to push forms and function every time; I love to challenge the societal definition and norms of beauty.”

What kind of people do you want to rock your clothes?

“JaGgy, simply put is an intuitive take on fashion; a merge of contrasts; a pinch of couture mixed with street. The colors and volumes in my pieces make them a little challenging to wear, so people who are self secured. The colors and volumes of my pieces make them a little challenging to wear.”

How do you feel about winning?

“I can’t be more excited for this win and for the other opportunities that will with it. I hope that this would allow more people to see and know what JaGgy is. The thought of being able to show in Japan was the primary reason I joined, and now I can tick it off my bucketlist. This win, validates that I am doing the right thing for my brand.”

Did you expect you’d win?

“I honestly think that BDA picked a talented pool of finalists, with each one representing a different aesthetic; it could have been anybody’s game, but I came here to win.”

What can we expect from you at the Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo?

“I will cartwheel by the end of the show. Just kidding! Expect to see more exciting pieces because I’m going to be exploring more techniques and textures.”

Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo will be held at Shibuya Hikarie and Omotesando Hills  Oct. 16 to Oct. 22, 2017. 

 

 

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Celene Sakurako
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