Introducing Vilrick Cruz, the 26-year-old Filipino designer and artist reshaping the future of fashion—literally.
Structured silhouettes are the very essence of Vilrick Cruz’ artistic vision. As a fresh graduate, this Filipino fashion designer has already established The House of Vilrique and made a significant impact in the field by crafting clothing that pushes the boundaries of convention. Through his ingenious incorporation of sculptural forms and architectural elements, he brings a new dimension to runway-ready fashion.
From pieces worn by Michelle Dee and Maureen Wroblewitz to the structured silhouettes that redefine style, Cruz is a powerful presence on the fashion scene. Introducing this visionary 26-year-old designer and artist, who isn’t just setting trends but is actively sculpting the future of fashion—almost quite literally.
My name is Vilrick Cruz, and I am 26 years old. I am a fashion designer and artist.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I’ve genuinely always wanted to be in this crazy world of fashion. Through fashion design, I am able to tell stories and connect to people.
Your work has been making waves in the fashion industry, particularly for its structured silhouettes. What inspired you to focus on this style?
My structural and sculptural silhouettes are continuously developed and researched—it has become part of my DNA. They carry depth and tell a story. I’m consistently inspired by sculptures, let’s say… the Winged Victory of Samothrace, striving to make materials appear wind-blown and stiff. What sets me apart is my authenticity and personal touch. In this competitive industry, I don’t focus on competing, but rather on pushing boundaries and breaking the norm. The goal is to stand out, not blend in.
Fashion is often about self-expression. What message or emotions do you strive to convey through your designs, especially in the structured pieces you create?
Fashion is transformative. Similar to my structured and molded pieces, it is fluid—that’s the magic! It’s also a metaphor for life; every experience molds and shapes us to be the best version of ourselves.
Many aspiring fashion designers look up to you as a role model, particularly within the Gen Z community. What advice would you offer to young individuals looking to break into the fashion industry and make their mark?
This is just the beginning. As someone who has been underestimated for so long (and sometimes still is today) and wasn’t born with a silver spoon, I want to say: hang in there. If you want to make it happen, you can do it. Keep researching tirelessly, and you’ll meet people along the way. Stay resolute and put value in your work. Never forget why you started, and keep creating. Stay grounded because it’s often the humble ones who rise. And if anyone tries to block your path, step up and be dauntless.
Collaboration with celebrities seems to be a recurring theme in your work. How do these partnerships come about, and what do you enjoy most about working with A-listers?
I am grateful that celebrities and stars wear my work. I used to manifest that this would happen. What I enjoy about this is that, aside from boosting their confidence even more, I realize that they are real humans too, haha. Of course, boundaries are set, but I love when my goal is achieved – for celebrities to experience the fantasy with my creations.
Could you share a memorable experience from working with a celebrity on a red carpet look or a special project? What challenges and successes did you encounter?
As mentioned, it’s just the beginning. I learn from my clients and celebrities. One of the most memorable and successful moments was when Michelle Dee wore the sculpted gold bodice at the Mega Ball because she was the first celebrity to do so. The rest is history.
Fashion is often seen as a reflection of culture and society. How does your Filipino heritage influence your design choices and creative process?
Again, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon. However, I grew up in the Middle East, in Qatar. I’ve seen my makeup artist mom work hard just to provide for our family and to follow our dreams, and I’ve witnessed other Filipinos striving too. I believe my humble beginnings as an independent designer, the tireless process of directly sourcing suppliers, communicating with manufacturers, and experiencing the diverse walks of life, all represent the influence of Filipino heritage. It’s about perseverance and hard work.
Sustainability and ethical fashion are growing concerns in the industry. How do you incorporate these principles into your work, and do you believe they are important for the future of fashion?
I often get questions about my choice of material, which is leather. The initial impression is that I’m using animal hides. My honest opinion is that sustainability doesn’t need to be limited to the choice of material. Sustainability can also mean innovation. Real Leather Stay Different is a great example of a global campaign that encourages designers to be both innovative and sustainable. Their mission is to showcase the beauty and sustainability of real leather through original designs and to reduce the use of synthetics, disrupting the fast fashion cycle.
As a Gen Z designer, how do you see the future of fashion evolving, and what trends or changes do you anticipate being influential in the coming years?
Honestly, I’ve always been an old soul. I’m not even sure if this is the right way to answer this question, lol. I also don’t follow trends. I expect to see more sculptural volumes, drop-waist metallics, sheers, and vibrant colors!
The fashion industry can be highly competitive. How do you stay motivated and innovative in your designs, and how do you handle the pressures of the industry?
I’m fully aware that the fashion industry is highly competitive. However, I don’t engage in competition. I’ve always remained authentic and personal in my work. If it becomes too much for my mental health, I take a pause, as every designer and creative needs a break to draw inspiration from life and nature, returning healthier and stronger.
What can your fans and the fashion community expect from you in the near future? Are there any exciting projects or collections on the horizon?
I haven’t debuted a runway collection yet, but I would like to align it when the time is right. For now, I do have plans but they are gate-keeped. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for the clients and stars who wear and support me.