Be on the lookout for their names, cause these Filipino designers are about to takeover Japan.
All hail, the mythical eight. These homegrown creatives and designers go all out with their artistry as they take things up a notch in the global playing field. The first stop? Japan. In partnership with the PHx Fashion Group, the brainchild of designers Esme Palaganas, Seph Bagasao, and art advocate Trickie Lopa, these designers have been mentored by the organization’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), LIT Fashion Consultancy’s Tetta Ortiz Matera, and H3O Fashion Bureau’s Jason Lee Coates and Hirohito Suzuki.
The program aims to catapult these local designers into the international market, proving that we have a foothold in the world. They will be presenting their works at Tokyo H3O’s Fashion Bureau for the 2022 buying season. From a designer mentioned by Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan, to a duo who aspires to be the voice of the eccentric and misfits, here are the eight Filipino designers that will dominate Japan, as well of the rest of the world, soon. Claiming it!
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Feanne is an artist who illustrates breathtaking prints and textiles that feature the floral elements and animals of the Philippines. Her artistry has since extended to wearable art from silk scarves, kimonos, and footwear. Our favorite piece? Feanne’s Philippine eagle print. She has already worked with brands like Adobe, La Mer, and Tecnografica to name a few.
2. JILL LIAO
The striking balance between femininity and function is perfected by designer Jill Lao. Designing for a modern woman who can never sit still, Jill’s designs are buildable, classic pieces. Three years after launching her namesake label, she’s primed to make a mark in Japan.
3. SEPH BAGASAO
Clean lines, creative functionality, and earth tones are what Bagasao Studios does best. After training at Fashion Institute of the Philippines where he was awarded Designer of the Year, Seph became an embroidery designer for New-York based brand, Josie Natori. Often intimate, laidback, and impeccably crafted, ethical production is what matters most for the Filipino designer.
4. NEIL FELIPP
If the author of Crazy Rich Asians includes you as a designer in the plot of his storylines, then that’s the real flex. Neil Felipp San Pedro began his career in 2010 for his one-of accessories hand-crafted by the best artisans in Cebu. He was awarded by the British Council in 2014, studied in Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, and has then designed for stars like Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray, and Pia Wurtzbach.
5. KELVIN MORALES
Dark but not twisted, Kelvin Morales creates designs that are thought-provoking and surreal. The experimental Filipino designer often delves into concepts like the anatomy, dystopia and peculiar objects. His works are often worn by only the boldest and those who break idealized beauty standards more often than not.
6. J MAKITALO
Intricate and talismanic, J Makitalo’s ethereal works remind us of the Mana and treasure tokens that you get in video games (see: Kingdom Hearts). Her sculptural pieces are often raw and hand-cut, as she works with third-generation goldsmiths in Bulacan. This designer has been recognized by personalities like Katy Perry, Oprah, and Kelly Roland to name a few.
Scene-stealing and often depicting themes of liberation and happiness, HA.MÜ’s avant-garde style is always a visual marvel as it is thought-provoking. Filipino designer duo Abraham Guardian and Mamuro Oki often celebrates the eccentric, the unique, and the misfits resulting to experimental collections such as “Mama I Feel Faint,” and “Mama, Mama, There Are Monsters Under My Bed.” They have also worked with personalities such as Anne Curtis, Ylona Garcia, and Nadine Lustre.
8. JEROME LORICO
With a career spanning for over a decade, Jerome Lorico is a self-made Filipino designer known for his gritty yet minimalist edge. Taken from the Latin definition of his surname, he has created the modern, wearable armor throughout the years. It’s the same constant reinvention and sense of rediscovery that lead Jerome to LORICO’s rebirth and awakening—a sign of things to come in the near future.
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