Meet Yana Kalaw, the Young Filipina Redefining Fur Fashion

We love cruelty-free fur.

This young creative’s walk into the world of fur fashion didn’t follow conventional norms. Rather, it was rooted in a profound belief in responsible fashion.

Related: This Gen Z Filipino Fashion Designer Is Behind The Structured Silhouettes You See On The Runway

Yana Kalaw, a young and innovative Filipina fashion designer, is leading a transformation in the world of fur fashion. Her visionary approach is reshaping the industry’s narrative by embracing sustainability and ethical practices. As the founder of a burgeoning brand, she’s redefining what fur fashion represents in the modern era.

If you’ve caught sight of those distinctive furry hats, mini skirts, or other curated collections on the runway, chances are they’re her creations. Wondering about the creative process of cruelty-free fur? Get to know more about Yana and her work in our interview with the creative below.

Introduce yourself.

I’m Yana Kalaw, fashion designer of Yana K. Studios

Could you share your foray into the world of fashion and what motivated you to specialize in fur fashion specifically?

I guess you could say that I’ve always had an interest in fashion from a young age. Dressing up was something I loved, but I never saw it as a potential career until later in life. However, pursuing clothing technology in college changed everything for me. It strengthened my adoration for design and innovation. My inclination toward using unconventional fabrics in my designs has always been a constant. Eventually, I found myself particularly attracted to fur due to its textures and the captivating way it moves when worn by someone.

How do you perceive the intersection between tradition and innovation in fur fashion?

Traditionally, fur has primarily been utilized for warmth, especially by the Inuits in their harsh weather conditions. The intersection of tradition and innovation lies in its function for warmth while also fostering new silhouettes for people to appreciate. I’m currently in the process of creating new pieces. At present, most of my products are designed for celebratory occasions. However, my objective is to integrate fur into everyday wear, so I am crafting simpler silhouettes suitable for daily use.

In what ways do you believe your Filipino heritage influences your approach to redefining fur fashion?

From the beautiful jeeps that roam around our cities to the vibrant fiestas that breathe life into our community—we, as Filipinos, love colors. Colors represent a celebration for Filipinos, and in creating my pieces, my goal is to emulate that joy each time a client wears one of my designs.

What challenges have you faced in altering the perception of fur in the fashion industry, and how have you tackled these challenges?

Since I use faux fur, I haven’t faced any challenges in altering its perception as I don’t utilize real fur. I suppose the real challenge for me now is to create or find a better alternative for faux fur to make it more sustainable.

What are the sustainable practices or ethical considerations incorporated into your designs within the fur fashion landscape?

The goal has always been to create hats and clothing that last. To reduce overconsumption, we operate solely on a preorder basis, thanks to our wonderful sewers.

I am currently working on creating unique, one-of-a-kind pieces using scrap faux fur fabrics that I’ve been collecting. Additionally, I’m seeking out alternative faux furs that are more sustainable.

How do you envision the future of fur fashion, considering evolving societal attitudes toward sustainability and ethical consumption?

As a designer who evolves alongside its consumers, the goal has always been innovation. While I began with faux fur, my aim is to discover alternative fabrics that are more eco-friendly while retaining the enjoyable aspect of fur that I love.

What was your experience like showcasing your creations at prestigious fashion events like BYS Fashion Week, and how did that exposure impact your journey as a fur fashion designer?

I am truly honored to have collaborated with Ha.Mü in the BYS Fashion Week. This opportunity opened doors for me, and I welcomed the critiques that accompanied it. It provided me with the impetus to innovate further and explore how I can incorporate other fabrics into my work as well.

Collaborating with A-listers often brings both perspectives and challenges. Could you share an anecdote or memorable experience from collaborating with notable personalities in the fashion industry?

I am fortunate that the individuals I collaborated with have genuinely admired my designs and trusted my vision in creating these pieces alongside them. It truly involves collaboration; they express their desires, and I integrate them into my designs.

How do these collaborations with high-profile individuals influence the direction or inspiration for your future collections or design concepts?

I believe it’s about striking a balance between meeting people’s expectations and introducing them to pieces they might not have initially considered but are open to trying. It involves attentively listening to their preferences while staying authentic to my brand.

How do you balance preserving your design aesthetic while incorporating the preferences or styles of the personalities you collaborate with?

It will always be a collaborative process. My clients convey their desires, and I interpret them in my unique way. It’s a relationship built on mutual trust between the designer and the client.

Could you highlight a particular piece or collection that embodies your mission of redefining fur fashion and share the inspiration behind it?

I don’t think I can highlight just one piece at the moment, as I aspire to keep evolving and creating. However, if I had to choose, I’d say my clownpuffs stand out because that’s where it all began.

I believe I’m still in the process of redefining fur fashion. There’s ample space for innovation and exploration, not only within fur but also beyond it. Unconventional fabrics have always been my passion in fashion, and it’s an ongoing journey of continuous exploration.

What advice would you give to young aspiring designers, especially those interested in exploring unconventional niches within the fashion industry?

My advice is never to stop creating. There’s ample room for innovation! It’s about discovering your unique niche in the industry. Surround yourself with like-minded creatives, and you’ll always find inspiration.

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