There is no doubt that the Philippine fashion industry is booming—and the proof is in the number of people who want to kick-start a career in fashion. With the rise of social media and the individuals gaining from it (hello, bloggers), more and more youngsters are opening their minds and hearts to pursue businesses they are truly passionate about.
Below, seven young Filipino designers who will refresh and feed your sartorial needs.
1. Seph Bagasao
From earning his certificate course in Fashion Design and Merchandising at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines, to working as a Junior Designer for Josi Natori, Seph Bagasao has truly come a long way for a designer his age. Aside from working on making a name for himself internationally, his pret-a-porter label, Bagasáo, also sells leather goods to go with his street- and runway-worthy pieces. His tailored minimalist aesthetic is evident in both his apparel and bags that boast of craftsmanship and quality. Minimal but with great attention to detail—that is the Bagasáo mark.
If there's a resident cool kid in our local fashion industry today, it would have to be Carl Jan Cruz. A-listers and influencers want to get hold of his pieces (especially the denim!), and it's because of his distinct taste. This young designer, who had a stint working at Céline (yes, that Céline) in London, describes his aesthetic as honest, intimate, and discreet. This personal connection to his pieces probably explains the authenticity you get with each magazine-worthy fashionable art he creates. He actually has a BA in Menswear Fashion Design and Technology from the London College of Fashion—but has also given women a taste of what it feels to wear a pair of jeans or a tee reimagined the Carl Jan Cruz way.
How many young Filipino designers do you know that have showcased their collections at New York Fashion Week? Meet Rosenthal Tee, a game-changer who has set the bar high through her sophisticated line of luxury bridal and evening gowns. Aside from studying in some the best fashion schools in the world—Istituto Marangoni, Central Saint Martins, and London College of Fashion—Rosenthal puts her travels at the very core of her namesake label. With luxurious ready-to-wear pieces and bespoke eveningwear characterized by a subtle, decadent, and refined aesthetic, this designer is not one to shy away from a little sparkle, without losing the class.
4. Tony Evan
Would you believe it if we told you that Tony Evan actually began his career as a milliner? Yup, his first passion was making hats, but he soon realized that creating apparel was more lucrative. Now a go-to designer for celebs who need something stylish but sexy, Tony is focusing on putting his own spin on eveningwear. Applying modern twists on timeless shapes, this young designer also recently launched his RTW bridal line, Evan and Ivory. The best part? His pricing starts at only P40,000!
FEMININE WITH A TWIST
Whoever gave ~basic ~ a negative connotation has clearly never head of Basic Movement. Esme Palaganas established the brand straight out of college and a three-season internship at Philippine Fashion Week. Constantly changing and constantly moving with time, the very definition of fashion is also what embodies this RTW line. You never know what to expect next; but as long as you share an appreciation for vintage-inspired fashion with a dash of modernity, you will find yourself hoarding all of her pieces, from any of her collections.
6. Bea Samson
A graduate of Slim's Fashion and Arts School, Bea has always been one of those designers who thinks outside the box. While everyone else was busy draping or embellishing, Bea started her career with the idea of dabbling with digital prints. Not one to be afraid to stand out, Bea launched her eponymous label and defined her creations as contemporary luxury, made to measure, one of a kind, and bespoke. From digital printing to plays on prints to fabric manipulation, one thing remains constant—her pieces are always perfectly tailored with a touch of femininity.
At a time when bell sleeves and ruffles were like ticking trend bombs about to explode, Bengt was one of those who pulled the trigger. The pieces from that particular collection have been celebrity and magazine favorites since, but his level of talent definitely extends beyond that. Bengt actually studied computer science in college, which explains why he has a knack for mixing what he knows about technology with showstopping silhouettes. For the woman who is not afraid to wear pieces designed with distinct proportions and a hint of cheekiness, be sure to check him out.