Being born in the Philippines then migrating to the United States creates this sense of diaspora. It became apparent that my identity and belonging have to be created from a surface level understanding of both American and Philippine cultures. I found solace growing up in Florida as I was able to meet friends from places like Cuba, Haiti, and Puerto Rico who helped dissipate that diaspora into inclusion and acceptance. My view as a designer is to create a sense of belonging through clothing regardless of origin.
My design aesthetic is definitely high-fashion or haute couture. I enjoy embellishments and taking the time to create something personal and unique to an individual. I enjoy silhouettes that are close fitting as a base then having flowing draped layers on top of it to create volume. I love pastels and neutrals and made those an essential touch to my collection this year.
Design influences are definitely Maison Schiaparelli and Iris Van Herpen in terms of aesthetic and techniques. Iris Van Herpen’s use of non-traditional media, techniques, and silk manipulation is a reason why I used chiffon in my final collection. Maison Schiaparelli’s gold accessories have me obsessed. I love the ready-to-wear functionality with aspects of avante garde for embellishments. Their collections inspired all golden pearl brooches for the looks in ‘Meraki’.
I like to use new technology to speed up and efficiently. I used laser cutting techniques to laser finish the chiffon fabric to stop it from fraying to decrease the amount of time with construction and more on embellishment and finishings. My design techniques, although simple, include making the process as streamlined as possible to allow for resources and time to be put in appropriate places (i.e. the off shoulder draping and ensuring the correct folds).