At first glance, the world of fashion seems like a very glamorous industry. People on the outside assume it’s all glam. But in reality, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
But what's it really like for a fashion designer in the Philippines? We spoke to one Pinay to find out the truth about designing and making clothes for a living.
Name: Carina Bailon
Occupation: Fashion Designer
Monthly income range: P40,000 to P50,000
How long have you been working?
Almost four years. Although, I did some part-time work during my last year in college.
Have you always wanted to become a fashion designer?
Yes! I started sewing when I was six years old.
What’s a typical day like for you?
If I don’t have meetings or fittings, I start working as soon as I wake up at 7:00 a.m. Then I eat breakfast with my mom since she’s the one who’s always with me at home. After that, I’ll go back to sewing until lunch then go back to work right after. I end work usually at 4:00 p.m. and try to work out. I take a bath, eat dinner, and then check social media before going to sleep.
What’s the best part about your job?
It's that I can share my creativity and service to my clients. I also love that I am able to create something they will hopefully love. It’s important that I make them and myself happy.
What are the challenges?
There are a lot of fashion designers in the industry who are very talented and it’s a challenge to keep up with all of them.
What’s one myth about your profession that you want to debunk?
That you don’t have to be good at drawing to be a fashion designer.
Name one thing you’d like to change about your job or in your industry?
One thing I want to change in my industry is the exploitation of laborers, especially in factories. I want people who work in this industry, from the lowest to the highest rank, to be compensated and treated fairly.
Can you picture yourself doing this long-term? Why or why not?
Always. This is what I’ve always dreamt of doing and I love it. I really do want to make people happy through my talents.
Can you give us a breakdown of your monthly expenses?
Every month, I contribute 30 percent of my income to my family. Aside from that, I spend 15 percent on transportation, 15 percent on food, 35 percent for materials, and five percent on my phone and internet bill.
Do you worry about money?
Because designers, like me, don't really know how many clients we'll be getting in a month, I have to admit that I worry about it sometimes.
Do you feel any pressure to live or spend a certain way?
Not really. I’ve been frugal with money since I was a kid so it's been in my nature not to spend so much on things I don't need. I'm also not that materialistic so I don't have a lot of wants in life.
Do you think you’re a good saver? What’s your #1 saving tip?
I’d like to think that I am. My #1 saving tip is that one should learn how to budget their money properly and to know their spending limits.
What are your financial goals?
My financial goals are:
- to save enough money to buy a home
- to be able to pay my insurance in eight years without delay
- to start an emergency fund
- and to be able to help free my family of debt
What does financial independence mean to you?
Financial independence for me is to be able to comfortably live on my earnings and not to depend on anyone for my expenses.
Do you think you’re being compensated fairly? Why or why not?
I think I am. I don’t overprice or underprice my service. I want people to still afford my creations while I don’t get underpaid for them.
Check out Carina’s Instagram.
Follow Karla on Instagram.