RON ROXAS fashion student

Meet Ron Roxas, A Queer Fashion Design Student Proving Fashion’s Power In Self-Expression

Fashion is more than just the clothes you wear.

Designer, fashion design student, and drag queen Ron Roxas lets us in on his relationship between fashion, self-expression, and his queer identity. 

Related: With Color and Confidence: This Gen Z College Student Found Self-Confidence Through Fashion

In an age of increased visibility and a fight for equality that has yet to be won, Ron Roxas, a fashion design student taking up BS Clothing Technology at UP Diliman, is fiercely making his own mark. Fashion has always been an important tool for people to discover themselves and a medium for self-expression. That couldn’t be any truer for Ron, especially as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Through his work, the Gen Z creative is shaping a narrative that pushes his creativity and stays true to his queer identity.

His dedication to his craft shows itself through his work, creating boundless looks that resonate with his vision. A story of creativity, freedom, and power is being written through every thread he seems. Along with making clothes, Ron Roxas is also a drag artist, adding to his versatility as a creative. He’s living his truth and owning his expression. 


As creativity sparks within us, it shapes how we express ourselves and share our visions with the world. For Ron Roxas, this journey began with a personal touch. “It was my older gay cousin who introduced me to fashion design through his intricate illustrations of bridal gowns,” he tells NYLON Manila. “Seeing these designs during a family vacation sparked my interest in sketching fashionable figures. This became a way for me to explore my repressed femininity through each garment I create.” 

His journey kicked into high gear in senior high school, where he found a home among creatives and the LGBTQIA+ community. “At Malayan Haus of Fashion and Arts, also known as The Haus, I first experienced a sense of community that allowed me to be myself and explore my passion for fashion,” Ron recalls. 


Every creation tells a story, and for Ron, that story is deeply personal as he takes inspiration from the childhood that made him. “I usually draw from my own queer experiences, capturing both joy and struggles. My childhood memories, especially dressing up with household items like blankets, towels, and clothespins, inspire my designs. I channel the innocence and wonder of young Ron into the theatrical and imaginative elements of my work,” he explains. 

Ron also uses his designs to pay homage to local queer pop culture and history, with nods to legends like Vice Ganda and director Wenn V. Deramas. “My designs are always conceptual, often reflecting the pressing issues in our society. Being queer is revolutionary, and I strive to embody that in my work,” he adds. 

As a designer and student, Ron admits that balancing the responsibilities of both isn’t easy. It can be challenging, but he’s found a formula that’s helped him navigate the ins and outs of his creative landscape. “Honestly, I’m not the most organized person. But I believe that time management, hard work, and determination have helped me balance my studies and my dreams of becoming a designer.” Through dedication and a unique perspective, Ron is taking his personal experiences to shape and elevate creative expression, hopefully making a lasting impact as an emerging designer in the local fashion world.


Creativity comes in many forms, and for Ron, it starts with an idea. “I always start with a concept. This can come from a single word or a feeling I want to evoke,” says the young designer on the seeds that plant his creative vision. “Then I do my research and create mood boards, which are always in a collage format. This helps me practice the creative framing that I can apply to a design.” 

Among the looks that live rent-free in his mind, Ron points to his airmail terno named “Mga Liham ni Maria,” which went viral earlier this year. Believe it or not, it was a look he made for one of his classes. But more than just a piece he needed for a grade, the look speaks to a deeper meaning. “This piece tells the story of OFWs and the exploitation of cheap labor by imperialist countries. We based our design on an existing saya, a traditional Filipiñana skirt, from the UP CHE’s Costume Museum archives,” he explains on the dress he made for his CT 25 class. 


When it’s a serve, it’s a serve. And one thing that struck Ron was how one of his most memorable looks yet resonated with people beyond his classroom. “Many have worn it, like Gabriela She Lang and Mercury 007. This school project connected me with the clientele I want to work with in the future, especially drag artists,” he gushes. 

As he continues to build his craft and name, Ron has big plans for himself. His dream collab? “The ultimate dream project for me is to make a garment for Vice Ganda. I would know I’ve made it if I get that opportunity. Vice Ganda was integral to my childhood and made me feel represented despite my struggles with gender and identity.”


While he’s still a student, Ron hopes to use his work and growing platform to contribute to community work. “Being part of the LGBTQIA+ community means engaging and immersing ourselves in it. We share similar struggles and resist oppression together. Our community is our strength, and being queer means recognizing that we exist not just as individuals but as a collective,” Ron explains. That advocacy manifests through engaging with organizations like Bahaghari, which fights for LGBTQIA+ rights across various sectors. He also served as a gender desk councilor in the university student council at UP Baguio. 

Photo by Rei Medua

The young creative uses the community as inspiration for his work, and, in turn, wants to use his platform to give back. “I draw inspiration from my stories and those of the community around me, including other queer artists. I always try to lift fellow queer creatives by giving them opportunities to feature their work,” he says.

To be so comfortable with yourself in your space is not always easy. So, take it from Ron and know that being where you need to be is a journey, not a race. “Take your time and don’t rush,” he advises other Gen Zs who are still discovering themselves. “The many labels in our community can be overwhelming, but they are just guides. They can’t encompass every queer experience because each of us is unique. Ultimately, it’s up to you to define yourself.” As time goes by, Ron Roxas is a testament to self-expression as a member of the new generation unapologetically putting themselves at the forefront. 

Photos courtesy of Ron Roxas

Continue Reading: For His Thesis, This College Student Transformed Garlic Peels Into Sustainable Products