These Filipino creatives worked their way to become who the are today, taking their step forward with their visions.
From the outside looking in, the local creative industry looks like a place where freedom, and self-expression reign. And while that may be true, it is also cutthroat and has its fair share of pressures. To shine in the industry is to not only have a strong sense of self, and a clear focus on the craft, but also put in the work. That is something these following creatives all have in common. To get a deeper understanding of what it’s like being a creative, we reached out to three noted individuals who have been true movers and shakers in the local fashion scene.
Designer and visionary, AJ Javier continues to make his mark in the industry with his glam and ultra femme aesthetic that’s a hallmark of his designs. He has dressed many local celebrities like Kylie Padilla, Aljur Abrenica, Lovi Poe, and Kim Chiu just to name a few. AJ studied at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines, a pivotal moment in his life. “It opened a new door that allowed me to move forward to where I am right now.” On where he gets inspiration from as a creative, “Majority of my inspirations comes from archival photos or objects that I encounter in my daily life.”
As his creative juices allowed him to create magnificent designs, we asked him what he learned in the fashion industry on his journey. “Life is unpredictable, but what we do with the challenges we’re dealt with defines who we are. This has taught me to take the leap, to trust and believe in myself, and to trust the process, because you will be surprised with what you are capable of when you take that leap.” As for his advice to aspiring designers who want to enter the fashion industry, AJ shares “Love what you do and do your best as your life depends on it. Give your best each time so you don’t have regrets.”
JASON DELOS REYES
Make-up artist Jason Delos Reyes is truly a mover in the fashion industry. With his craft and vision for giving his clients that signature bronze-y glow and smoke-y eye, he is one of the most sought-after talents in the scene with celebrity clients such as Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos to name a few. When it comes to inspiration for creating the magnificent makeup looks that he has done, Jason reveals he turns to music. “It depends on what clients want sometimes,” says Jason. “But if I have free will to decide I love to get my inspiration from music videos and current makeup trends.” 2015 proved to be a monumental year for Jason as that was the year his career formally took off. “It was in 2015 when I won a make-up competition in the fashion industry, and the rest is history.”
Learning is one of the best things that you can do in your career, so we asked Jason what he has learned since his early years. According to him, “Always be open to constructive criticism and new ways to improve your craft and yourself.” As for his advice to aspiring makeup artists out there who are just starting in the industry, “Don’t give up, everyone has a different time and ways to shine, keep on working and working.”
Shaira Luna is a true icon in the industry, having had a hand in commercial, advertising, fashion, and lifestyle photography. Of course, she’s also THE vintage queen known for her many stylish ukay finds. As she continues to be the photographer that we all know and love, we’ve always wondered where she gets her inspiration from. As it turns out, her love for vintage doesn’t just end in fashion. “The commissioned shoots will usually have mood boards and briefs, but when it comes to my work, I love drawing inspiration from things or people from the past. Old movie posters, pop culture icons, musicians, vintage magazines, fashion and objects from different eras, memories both personal and shared. I think all of these consciously and subconsciously make their way into my images.”
To be one of the country’s top photographers is something that doesn’t happen overnight. Before Shaira Luna became who she is today, she was just a young photographer hustling more than 15 years ago. “My first fashion editorial for a magazine was back in 2006, but before that, I was really just a hobbyist shooting events, bands, and simple portraits. I also shot for the lifestyle section of a broadsheet, and would occasionally be assigned to cover designers and clothing stories. Fashion students would also get me to shoot their collections as part of their requirements for school.”
Believe it or not, working in the fashion industry wasn’t Shaira’s goal. “I wasn’t focused on entering the fashion industry, though! I just wanted to keep shooting and did everything from food, PR, corporate, and product shoots. When I started shooting more fashion editorials and magazine covers in 2012, that eventually led to my work commercially.”. With all those years in the fashion industry taught, Shaira has learned some nuggets of wisdom. “I learned that it’s great to always keep moving and to always be open to people and ideas. Everything I know now can be traced to experience, practice, and learning from the creative industry’s different working cultures and personalities. Adaptability in the fashion industry is also important, not just because of the changing seasons of clothing, but also the way the images are shared and consumed.”
Finally, her advice to the next gen of creatives is, “I guess you should go into the fashion industry knowing that there is no pattern, nor one straight path. It’s so different for everyone, and I know this because I always talk to the people I work with. Some have wanted to be in fashion their whole life, and some just fell into it, as I did. Just put in the work and the research; always be curious, and adjust or fine-tune your perspectives and processes to see what will work best for what you have at the moment. And, always be kind.”