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OJ Hofer Recommends the Fashion Designers You Should Be Looking Out For

With a fashion community that’s growing everyday, Cebu is home to many young designers. Oj Hofer names his picks for the five up-and-coming names in the industry, who he feels will be dressing some big names soon.

With a fashion community that’s growing everyday, Cebu is home to many young designers, each with their own statement to share. Fashion designer and Zee’s fashion editor Oj Hofer names his picks
for the five up-and-coming names in the industry, who he feels will be dressing some big names soon.

photography KODA
hair and makeup JANICE BARILLO And NICKO DELA PEÒA
locale THE PYRAMID

Originally published in Zee Digital Vol.1

 

PERCIE LOVE REQUIERO

When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
when I was younger, I fancied clothes, especially those with elaborate details. It started out as a hobby-making clothes for my daughter. It was two years ago when I finally decided to get formal training, and realized that designing is my passion.

How did you break into the industry?
In 2016, my group and I represented FIDA in a competition. Then, more opportunities came.

How would you describe your style?
Tailored, simple and timeless

Who are the Cebuano designers you look up to?
There are a lot of designers that I look up to, especially my FIDA mentors. Each of them has their own expertise that honed me to be where I am today.

What are your plans for 2018?
As a beginner, this year, I want to focus on having more exposure, experience, and to get to know more about the industry. I want to gain additional
knowledge from seasoned designers on how to handle challenges in the business, and at the same time, establish my brand.

Yoko Sato Li and Edward Castro

YOKO SATO-LI

When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
Ever since I was young, it was really my dream to be a fashion designer, but eventually I forgot about that because of other priorities. My mom wanted me to take up nursing, so I followed her and even got my license. I also worked as a Loans Associate, and a bank teller for almost three years. It went well, but something still seemed missing. I rekindled my love for fashion. I tried to enroll in FIdA several times, but had doubts pushing through since I had a hard time giving up my stable job at the bank. I talked to some of my friends and family, but most of them weren’t supportive about taking the risk. It was my husband who was very supportive, and motivated me to follow my dream. I weighed things, and didn’t want to grow old and have regrets about not pursuing what I really love to do. I then realized that it meant a lot to me, and I fought for my passion and chased my dreams.

How did you break into the industry?
As someone who is still starting in the fashion industry, I think the FIdA Graduation Show Beyond Borders opened me up to a lot of opportunities.

How would you describe your style?
I am actually an eclectic person. I love to mix and match different styles and make it my own. It is important to have an eye for what you like, and what suits you or your client. I tend to like classic
style and go for a minimal look, but I also love trends. I donít really limit myself. I just want to make sure that it looks feminine but edgy, sexy but elegant and sophisticated, simple but unique, and also
clean polished.

Who are the Cebuano designers you look up to?
Cary Santiago, Philip Rodriguez and Harvey Cenit

What are your plans for 2018?
Hopefully starting up my own boutique

EDWARD JAMES CASTRO

When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
Ever since I could remember. For me, what really triggered this love for fashion was watching Cinderella at a very young age. Watching the mice sew her pink dress was something I aspired to do when I was old enough to handle needles and scissors. I would practice draping handkerchiefs on my sister’s Barbie dolls. So I pretty much got into it at a very young age.

How did you break into the industry?
It wasn’t until high school when I started considering fashion design as a career. Before, it used to be only on paper. Being in an all-boys high school made me want to develop my own identity. Most of my peers wanted to be doctors, architects, engineers—I think I was the only one in my batch who showed up for the fine arts college orientation. Fast forward, I didn’t really take up fine arts in college, but I got my big break designing for the college pageants, and winning a few design competitions in school. I met a few established designers when I graduated, and they helped me get into the fashion scene. Eventually I got into Clothes for Life, and since then, I went from this wide-eyed neophyte to a full-time designer and stylist. #DreamsDoComeTrue

How would you describe your style?
My style is very eclectic. I can be at opposite ends of the spectrum. One day I could be fun, nonchalant and colorful. Some days, serious, dark and melancholy. It’s a bipolarity I have embraced with open arms.

Who are the Cebuano designers you look up to?
Cebuano designers are very talented, to say the least, but I have a few whose aesthetics resonate with me a lot. Protacio, for his clean lines and tailoring. Jun Escario for timeless glamour. Cary Santiago for his vision, and how he tells a story with his collection.

What are your plans for 2018?
For 2018, I’m planning to focus more on bridal wear. It’s something I really want to do, but didn’t have time to because of so much freelancing work. I want to develop a bridal line that reflects my design philosophy, at the same time relatable and marketable.

Jessica Ouano and Mike Yapching

JESSICA OUANO

When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I was always into clothes, ever since I was a little kid—actually costumes to be precise. Halloween was my favorite day of the year, and I loved being in theater because of costumes. I am also very much into cosplay, and I love making things. When I was in high school, I knew that fashion design was something I wanted to pursue.

How did you break into the industry?
My first big opportunity was creating a collection for the Kansai Collection fashion show in Osaka, Japan, with the help of a good friend of mine, Nobuo Koizumi. The collection was a collaboration with another designer from College of Saint Benilde, Jason Patricio. Jason did the designs for the garments, and I worked on the textiles. The project was also how I got into handwoven textiles, and working with the local weaving communities. I was also very fortunate to have been mentored by Oj Hofer for this project.

How would you describe your style?
My style is experimental and quirky. I love garments with simple silhouettes, combined with interesting textile applications. I love experimenting with textiles very much, and I always try to make it the highlight of the garments that I design.

Who are the Cebuano designers you look up to?
I love the work of Oj Hofer, he is such a master at draping. I also love the beautiful, intricate details of the work of Cary Santiago. They are both extremely talented.

What are your plans for 2018?
For 2018, I plan to focus more on experimenting with handwoven textiles, and creating more innovations together with the team at AnTHILL.

MIKE YAPCHING

When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
The love for making clothes came at a young age for me, growing up and observing my grandmother and my aunt, who are both seamstresses. It was during high school when I got obsessed with designing clothes.

How did you break into the industry?
It was in my second year in college when the eighth edition of Mega Young Designers’s Competition was calling for entries. I was fortunate to have been shortlisted from countless submissions. It was a very big platform for me then, as a budding designer, as MYDC was the stage where prominent and renowned Cebuano designers started out, like Edwin Ao, Oj Hofer and Furne One.

How would you describe your style?
I have grown to love evening wear with a minimalist sensibility. Streamlined looks with little details that make for a maximum effect.

Who are the Cebuano designers that you look up to?
Of course, Edwin is always on top of my list. We may have different aesthetics, but the knowledge he has imparted me with are priceless. I admire Arcy Gayatin, Cary Santiago, Oj Hofer and Philip Rodriguez.

What are your plans for 2018?
To live in the moment.

Events

BVLGARI in Cebu

May 10 – Cebu City  |  Step inside a world of opulence where gold shimmers and diamonds sparkle. BVLGARI, the renowned Italian luxury brand, is celebrated for its exquisite gemstone jewelry, thin watches, perfumes, and leather goods. With a legacy dating back to 1884, BVLGARI has become synonymous with elegance and craftsmanship. The newest BVLGARI boutique opened last week at the sparkling The Mall at Nustar Resort and Casino, fast becoming the shopping destination for discerning consumers.

Eva Gullas, Jeffrey Hang, Jaja Chiongbian-Rama and Butch Carungay

Jeffrey Hang, BVLGARI’s Regional Marketing Director for South East Asia, flew in from Singapore to welcome guests. “We are happy to unveil BVLGARI to the Cebu market. This is the company’s 140th year, and BVLGARI celebrates this landmark with the Aeterna High Jewelry Collection in Rome this coming May 20, attended by all our global ambassadors like Zendaya and Black Pink” Jeffrey shares with us. The collection will be available in SE Asia later in the year and in the Philippines at the end of the year.

Leading the ribbon cutting was Joseph Muñoz (commercial director of Bulgari Philippines, Jeffry Hang (regional marketing director of Bulgari South East Asian operations, Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncey (Bulgari Ambasadress and Ms. Universe 2015), Allan Teo (chief operating officer of NUSTAR Resort and Casino and May Adolfo (mall director of NUSTAR Cebu).

Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncey, BVLGARI’s local Ambasadress and Ms. Universe 2015

Sheila Osmeña-Go and Jaja Chiongbian-Rama

Spotted at the event was Joseph Muñoz, Commercial Director of Bulgari Philippines escorting Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncey, BVLGARI’s local Ambasadress and Ms. Universe 2015, Allan Teo, Chief Operating Officer of NUSTAR Resort and Casino, Howard Go, Summit Media’s CEO and his wife, Cebuana Sheila Osmeña-Go as well as some of Cebu’s young fashionable set like Claudia Bezza Yeung, Marjay Ramirez, and Danessa Onglatco.

May Adolfo, Danessa Onglatco, Marjay Ramirez and Claudia Bezza-Yeung

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Fashion

The Qipao As Interpreted by Innovative Filipino Designers: PHILIP RODRIGUEZ

The Qipao, an iconic symbol of Chinese fashion, takes center stage as we celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Wood Dragon. This singular closely-fitted garment crafted from the most opulent silks originated in 1920’s Shanghai. ZEE fashion editor Oj Hofer, has sought the creative insights of some of the Philippines’ most innovative designers for their interpretation of the elegant Qipao, also known as Cheongsam.

Cebu’s esteemed designer, Philip Rodriguez, pays homage to imperial attire with this stunning yellow silk brocade qipao. While adhering to the traditional cheongsam silhouette, Rodriguez infuses a touch of sensuality by incorporating see-through silk tulle panels along the waistline. Known for his timeless designs and culturally respectful creations, Rodriguez’s attention to detail is unparalleled. His embellishments are intricate and exquisite, showcasing impeccable taste and luxurious design without veering into ostentation. Take, for instance, his cheongsam for the Year of the Dragon. While it may seem daring compared to traditional sensibilities, Rodriguez maintains elegance by delicately veiling the wearer’s skin with sheer tulle on the cutout side panels. The front slit of the dress is cautiously calculated to strike the perfect balance between modesty and allure “I design for women who possess sophistication beyond their years, “ Philip emphasizes. “My clothes are crafted to evoke a sense of beauty and allure, leaving her feeling exquisite and confident.” As a seasoned designer, Rodriguez consistently achieves harmony in his designs. His qipao for 2024 seamlessly blends elements of royalty and sensuality, luxury and practicality, reflecting his mastery of the craft and his ability to create pieces that are truly elegant and well-balance.

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Fashion

The Qipao As Interpreted by Innovative Filipino Designers: JC BUENDIA

The Qipao, an iconic symbol of Chinese fashion, takes center stage as we celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Wood Dragon. This singular closely-fitted garment crafted from the most opulent silks originated in 1920’s Shanghai. ZEE fashion editor Oj Hofer, has sought the creative insights of some of the Philippines’ most innovative designers for their interpretation of the elegant Qipao, also known as Cheongsam.

JC Buendia, celebrated for his ability to tell a million style stories through minimalist details, is a master of clean, chic lines in fashion. Eschewing frivolity and nonsensical embellishments, every element of his designs contributes to their overall elegance.

Inspired by cinematic portrayals of Chinoiserie, Buendia’s first fascination with the Qipao began with Gloria Romero’s iconic portrayal of a Chinese princess disguised as a ‘sampan’ girl in the 1957 film “Hong Kong Holiday.”

“This admiration for orientalalia only deepened as I watched films like “The Last Emperor” and “In The Mood For Love,” JC recalls.

Buendia’s latest creation is a testament to this cinematic influence. His interpretation of the Qipao for the Year of the Wood Dragon features a cropped top crafted from silk Dupioni, embellished with diamond brooches on the reverse closure for a touch of glamour. Paired with a tea-length bouffant skirt made from frothy layers of delicate tulle, the ensemble exudes sophistication and timeless elegance.

With meticulous attention to detail and a keen eye for design, JC Buendia’s Qipao captures the essence of cinematic glamour while offering a contemporary twist on a classic silhouette. It’s a tribute to the enduring allure of Chinoiserie and the timeless beauty of the Cheongsam.

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