By Trisha Maie Apa-ap, UP Cebu Mass Comm
BEFORE Aldo Senining Loquinario became internationally acclaimed and awarded for his festival costume designs, the road he took to become who he is now was hardly festive and lovely.
It was while he was studying Optometry in South Western University that Aldo discovered his passion for sketching and designing. Bored with the discussion, he’d find himself sketching the teacher’s face. “It began as a crazy hobby during my free time, yet I didn’t know that it would come this far, he said in Cebuano.
Although his innate talent might’ve come from his parents who were both sastres (tailors), Aldo revealed they didn’t really encourage him to take the career path he wanted. Instead, his mother made him take a medical course when his male siblings disapproved of him taking Fine Arts.
Growing up, he was the seventh out of eight siblings. “So my parents had five sons, two daughters, and half a son and half a daughter, which is me,” he said candidly.
Everything he did was kept secret because he didn’t want to have a confrontation with his brothers.
Aldo’s first made costume was for Miss Mandaue in 1998. He said he was helping out a classmate look for the things to use for the upcoming event, yet when he was asking around, he was surprised because well-known designers back then didn’t let him borrow and priced him high if he offered rent. Because of that, Aldo decided to make a costume instead.
Having made several winning costumes, Aldo’s favorite is the one he designed for the Lumad Basakanon dancers in Sinulog 2013 that won Best in Costume, as this was when he started getting serious recognition.
Since then, Aldo’s designs have consistently won the Sinulog Festival Queen’s costume award, including last year’s.
Aldo’s roster of wins include pageants such as Queen of Cebu 2013, Little Miss Earth 2015, University Queen 2016, Liv Super Club’s Sinulog Queen Competition 2016 (bagging the top three). He also contributed to the International Pharmaceutical Inc. float costumes in 2016. Earlier last year, his costume for Australia’s representative won in the Queen International 2016 held in Thailand.
His creations have also been bought as costumes in the United States and gained him a feature in a TV show when he designed Katy Perry look-alike costumes for Melody Hodgson in It’s Showtime.
He was also one of the first designers who used non-woven material (feather-like material) and LED lights for his costumes, which, he said, were eventually copied.
Senining used to get mad when other designers copy his designs, but now he considers it flattering and thinks of it as healthy competition.
“Young designers now tell me that they are intimidated by me, but I secretly am intimidated by them, too,” he said.
Colorful and Festive
When asked to describe his 25-year career, Aldo said it’s colorful and festive, like the costumes he makes. He added that just like a colorful festival, his career has its peak and low seasons, which means income can be inconsistent.
It gets tiring sometimes, he said, but he quickly forgets this when he starts making costumes because he knows that he loves what he is doing.