Cool Filipino Creatives You Should Meet: Vol. 1

Time to boss up.

Before the year ends, we take you to different pit stops as we embark on this mini world tour with some of the best Filipino creatives that made a name for themselves beyond Philippine shores.

Powering Volume 1 of this list are homegrown emerging Filipino creatives whose growth we have witnessed. From a theatre designer who worked on Disney’s The Lion King to a rising menswear icon whose pieces have been worn by the KarJenners and Hollywood’s finest, the finish line doesn’t seem too far from where they stand.

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Rhuigi Villasenor

Founder and Creative Director of LA-based Streetwear Brand RHUDE

Photos courtesy of Rhuigi’s Instagram, Rhude

Born and raised in Manila, 28-year old Rhuigi Villaseñor never had any formal training in fashion. As a teenager making his way into the Los Angeles scene, he knew his unique sartorial choices and love for pop culture would lead him to something bigger. After interning for British fashion designer Shaun Samson and learning dressmaking, doors opened for him when rapper and Pulitzer price winner Kendrick Lamar wore one of his early bandana tee designs to the BET Music Awards in 2012.

Three years later, he finally created his own line, R H U D E and slowly became one of Hollywood’s favorite streetwear brands with the KarJenners, NBA players, Bella Hadid, down to musicians like The Weeknd, Alicia Keys wearing his nostalgic pieces. Rhuigi also had his first show at Paris Fashion Week early this year and was listed in Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 in 2019 and Hypebeast’s 2020 HB100 list. Here’s to wishing we could get that JAY-Z co-sign in the future too.

Lise Laboratory

Founder and Designer of Lise Laboratory

Lise Laboratory
Photos via @liselaboratory on Instagram

You might have seen Lise Baker’s paisley-printed puffer jackets and reworked Carhartt and Gucci vests on Pinterest or on Instagram’s streetwear-curated accounts, but not a lot of people know that he creates his pieces by hand in Baguio. Each of his garments are intricately handmade and stitched together, no wonder he’s cultivated a following overseas and was unsurprisingly noticed by Complex!

Aside from the handiwork, it’s his choice of vibrant and one of a kind vintage fabrics that make his clothes standout even more. Lise never attended any fashion schools nor worked under the wing of any designer but his background in architecture (like Virgil Abloh) played a pivotal role in the way he cooks up his designs.

Paulina Paige

Creative Director and Co-founder of Our Recess, Illustrator, Fashion Designer

Paulina Paige
Photos via @paulinapaige on Instagram

Who else is obsessed with new active wear line Our Recess as much as we are? If you found the colors of the pieces and their feed aesthetically pleasing, you have Sydney-based creative director Paulina Paige-Ortega to thank for it. The Cebuana has collaborated with various brands such as Uniqlo, Barbie, Bench, Araw the Line, TROPA Store, and recently stepped in as co-creative director for Sunnies.

This is a girl who can never sit still. After working for several creative agencies in Manila and Singapore, she decided to immerse herself further in NYC’S School of Visual Arts. Though she may have cemented her place in the creative industry with brands eager to work with her, Paulina never forgets her homeland and her roots—always focusing on self-care, body positivity and sharing a safe space for fellow Filipinas through her colorful world.

Yeo Kaa

Internationally Acclaimed Contemporary Visual Artist

Yeo Kaa
Photos via @yeokaa on Instagram

Bursting with vivid hues and hauntingly cute illustrations, welcome to the wonderfully surreal world of Yeo Kaa. If you’ve ever visited Secret Fresh Gallery or the annual Art Fair, there’s a high chance you’ve already seen her works. Contrasting the adorable imagery of her wide-eyed muse, she often juxtaposes it with dark, twisted and disturbing themes—proving that art truly is meant to provoke.

Yeo Kaa’s work is her diary, mirroring her struggles, anxieties and inner feelings beneath the candy-flavoured colors. A concept that most people can relate to from all over the world—having countless exhibitions in Paris, Singapore, Indonesia, Germany, and Finland.

Mikayla Teodoro

Artistic Director & Principal Designer at Puppet Theatre Manila Currently in the UK

Mikayla Teodoro
Photos via @mikayla.teodoro on Instagram

Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stage”—and he wasn’t wrong. Working on theatrical sets, costumes, props, and puppets are just some of the things that Mikayla Teodoro does on the daily. Not only is she bringing creatures from fantasy to life, but she’s also out there building worlds. Aside from being the artistic director and principal designer at Puppet Theatre Manila, Mikayla’s currently taking up her masters, Design for performance, at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

A young female creative burgeoning with passion for her craft, she has already worked on international plays such as Disney’s The Lion King, Lunchbox Productions’ Potted Potter, Full House Theatre Company’s Annie, and Kinky Boots with Atlantis Theatrical Entertainment group in her bag.