This Young Creative Brought To Life The Sets For Barbie Forteza’s NYLON Manila Cover Shoot

She turned mufflers into the Iron Throne.

Katrish Aristoki will always deliver when it comes to her designs. And her work for Barbie Forteza’s NYLON Manila cover was no exception.

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When it came to Barbie Forteza’s NYLON Manila cover, there were a lot of moving parts that brought it to life. And one of the key elements was the production design. From the layout of Barbie with the mannequins in the pink wigs to her burning rubber on the motorcycle with the motor parts adorning the background, the sets helped tell the story we envisioned for this cover.

And bringing all this to life for our July cover was Katrish Aristoki, a young production designer who understood the assignment. With our creative vision and Katrish and her team’s expertise, Barbie’s cover shoot was built from the ground up as the actress embodied a whole new side of herself. And that’s on the power of young creatives.


Katrish’s journey to becoming a professional production designer began, fittingly enough, with a college org. “I joined a theater organization called Artistang Artlets. Back then, we were making stage design for theater plays.” Following graduation, her “break” came when she got a position at Itch Creatives, an advertising agency in Pasig. “I was still a graphic designer back then, but the CEO and my art director gave me the opportunity to design the set for an ad we are doing for Careline.” The project was a success, and Katrish’s bosses decided to let her continue her set design work. The rest, as they say, is history.

Admittedly, production design can get stressful . There are a lot of moving pieces and fields involved in PD that go beyond just set-making. For Katrish though, this is the part of production design that speaks to her the most. “I love how [production design] pushes me to have multiple skills in different fields. As a production designer, I sometimes become an interior designer, an architect, an engineer, a florist, a painter, and many other roles because projects are very diverse and require you to study different fields.”


Katrish’s portfolio is filled with barren sets that were turned into magic, so it was a no-brainer for us to get her for this project. And with the help of the shoot’s creative director, Kenneth Dimaano, Katrish brought this new look for Barbie to life. “When solidifying the set design, there was no other name in mind than Katrish Aristoki,” says Kenneth. “As a young commercial set designer, she was incredibly enthusiastic about creating an iconic cover with us.” As for Katrish, her thinking went like this, “In terms of installation and accumulating the set pieces, for the cover I had this concert of Lady Gaga in mind where there were a lot of mufflers around her. The installation was inspired by Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne, mimicking Barbie as a queen but in stylized form.”

From the pink wigs to the mufflers and the actual motorcycle, it was a bit of a scavenger hunt for Katrish and her team to source all the needed props and materials. But that is part of what goes behind the job as a bit of crafty resourcefulness is needed. This part of the production was, in fact, her favorite part of the whole shoot.

“It was hard looking for [mufflers] because normally shops keep these things as they could still be used on repairing other motorcycles. My assistants Mike Tan and Sunday Carreon helped me get all the parts. The funny thing is when we were cruising through the Muffler and Junk shops in Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong, people got weirded out on the things we were looking for.”

Adds Katrish, “I think that’s how production design becomes so interesting. It puts you in different processes where you are in situations in which you have to be as resourceful as possible.” It was all worth it in the end as the final output resulted in sets that resembled art installations. Stepping between the layouts felt like you were walking through a museum.

Overall, getting to work up close with Barbie Forteza was a memorable experience for Katrish, especially with how the set design was able to help the actress bring out a new character. “I’ve always seen Barbie in television shows and have regarded her roles on her prowess as an actress. Working with her in this photo shoot is kinda seeing Barbie not in a new light but in her ability to prove that prowess.”


Even though she’s still in her 20s, Katrish has already worked with her fair share of big stars and major brands. Barbie Forteza is yet another name she can add to her already glowing resume. Though she admits that getting to work on these major projects brings her nerves, it’s the experience and working with other creatives that matters to her. “I think when you’re doing something bigger than yourself, the fear is always there. But more than the fear, I am always excited about what the outcome would be like. I like these ideas in my head seeing it in person.”

As for her advice to other young people who would like to begin their journey in the creative industry, the young creative shares that it all begins with that single step. “I hope fear and doubts won’t stop you from being curious and staying inquisitive. I took that leap of faith in experimenting and challenging how our society expects us things to be. You are already a work of art. Please proceed to get that sunshine.”

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