In This World Of Make Believe, Jaggy Glarino Introduces Us To His Long-Held Core Memories

It's time for cruise control.

In his anticipated return to the runway, Filipino designer Jaggy Glarino takes a few pages from his book of nostalgia and translates these core memories it to a collection that is definitive of his renewed, recalibrated, and reworked vision for his brand.

This is the undoing of Jaggy Glarino, at least when it comes to fashion. 

Unlike the cloak of mystery and curation that many cocoon themselves in, the Filipino designer prefers to bare his soul. It is an ever evolving dialogue, one that is expressed primarily through the stories that seam the predominantly visceral approach to fashion. “In my journey, I realized that fashion can be an instrument for expressing personal experiences without having to explain why, and conversely, not be scared to be judged for your past,” says Jaggy Glarino ahead of his highly anticipated return to the runway of Bench Fashion Week. “Plus, with the generation now, there is a lot of acceptance and openness, even with being Filipino.” 

If one is to operate on semantics, it doesn’t seem to be that much of a stretch, considering the approach of Jaggy Glarino to fashion has always been guttural, instinctive, and emotional. But just like many during the fear-fed uncertainty of the punishing pandemic, there was a paradigm shift. “After the pandemic, I realized, there is self-hate within me,” he says as a matter of fact. “About childhood ‘yung first collection ko, but glamourized. Para siyang mask, part of it, but it’s not the entire story. The pandemic got me prepared to talk about my things openly and express it through fashion.”

His Make Believe World

“Dun ako nag-start mag open up, pwede pala ako maging vulnerable sa collection,” he intimates. “Why am I afraid of expressing my childhood? When you’re growing up, because you’re preocuppied with what people think, there is a part of you, not that your ashamed, but not necessarily proud of. Parang ‘di na kailangan pag-usapan. The kanal, puno ng kaimito, napapalo sa pwet, first kiss with a boy as a scout, and generational trauma and all, these are all part of who I am.” An exercise of catharsis more than anything, Jaggy Glarino sought to recalibrate his brand, one that was compacted and admittedly, confused with facets of the avant garde, bridal, artisanal, made-to-measure, and ready to wear. “I created a brand that I really want,” he asserts. “And now, I want it to resonate my personal experiences and who I am.”

Confronting this assault of nostalgia, he began the exercise of letting go of what was once his absolute perception of passion. “From here on, mas personal, mas may hugot, mas inspired. Not just because I want to create, but now, it has to mean something,” he explains. “Mas grounded sa Filipino experience, rather than what I watched on Fashion TV.” Now, this isn’t to say that there will be a deflation of the buoyant spirit that lifts up the Jaggy Glarino brand. There will still be that distinct, joy-inducing whimsy that precedes his name, but this time, he is zeroing in on practicality, especially when it comes to the business aspect of his brand. “Because with my first collection, it was my make believe world. Hindi ako ‘yun, just a hint of it.”

No, Jaggy Glarino will not stop believing. (He will, in fact, hold on to the feeling, which yes, you can sing at this point.) The intentions will just be more precise and thoughtful, much like the way he constructs and crafts his out-of-the-box creations. 

The Core Memories Of Jaggy Glarino

So, after his thorough introspection, he put in the work, literally. 

“As simple as naglinis ng bahay and seeing old albums, looking at nostalgic moments, this inspired my next collection,” reveals Jaggy Glarino. “This is a brand new start of the brand, a rebirth. Consider this a birds-eye-view of the brand and me as a designer.” In this reintroduction, the result is an assemblage of core memories manifested in 25 looks that are just as colorful, poetic, and vulnerable, but this time, a lot more fun. 

At a glance, the collection, simply titled Core Memories, is all over the place. This is exactly how Jaggy Glarino envisioned this exposition of fashion. Unlike his previous outings, Eroplanong Papel and Cuddles, he wasn’t as obsessed with the idea that it needs to be perfectly styled from the top to bottom. “This time, binago ko ‘yon. Like, letting go of control,” he says. In the end, he just kept creating until he could mix and match the pieces just as someone would on a normal day. There are coordinated pieces, like a set that is reminiscent of a Boy Scout uniform, except transposed to more contemporary proportions and prints. But even amid all the exuberance of layers and textures, there is an apparent joy in the pieces that look lived in. Take for example the intrusion of a woven terno ensemble, which was worn with wide-legged denim trousers, quilted denim mitts, and mantel-like lace top. Further down the line, there is the Jaggy Glarino signature, a solihiya woven barong, an oversized knitted cardigan of alternating sunflower-like motif, and finally, a kumot dress in silk. It is supposed to not make sense, all this seeming chaos, but it completely does both as intricate individual pieces and a beautiful whole.

Committing To Sustainability

Taking everything he has learned in his life so far, as well as the trove of memories that he keeps at arms length, this purging of passion is his most definitive and accomplished work to date. From the snippets of his youth in General Santos, slipping in and out of their karinderya, to inheriting the penchant for crafts and handworks from his grandmother who would weave banigs and crochet, as well as of the use of haunting laughs and lullaby to soundtrack the walk down memory lane, it is not only a feast for the senses, but one that exerts a depth that is moving. Compelled by the idea of making use of what is available, this self-confessed hoarder committed to the idea of sustainability that is not just for mere lip service. 

“No new fabric was purchased,” he reveals. “All the fabrics were repurposed of existing garments or salvaged from my closet and bodega. I forced myself in this collection to make use of what I have. It’s not necessarily the most comfortable thing, especially when you have certain ideas. Sometimes that won’t necessarily work in this context.” The aforementioned denim, the fabrications (some woven pieces are from selvedge denim, which were then woven into one fabric through a handloom), and even the ink for the printed silk and crepe were all realizations of sustainability. 

One would assume that in the initial act of letting go, there will be that breath of space where things go all over the place. But with a deft hand in design and more resolute maturity in the present moment, Jaggy Glarino is able to orchestrate everything into a vivid picture of coming to terms with the past. Revelling in this reawakening of sorts, he is raring and ready to fashion a future of his own doing, core memories included, of course.