Promise fulfilled

FOUR fashion designers were given a challenge: create a prom gown. And boy, did they deliver. Lush, beautiful and romantic, these four designers gave four different looks for every kind of prom queen. Meet four top Cebuano young designers as they talk about design inspirations, chasing dreams and life mantras.

Mikhail Achas

Mantra in Life: Just be nice. It goes a long way.

Mikhail is still a fashion student at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines-Cebu (FIP-Cebu), but he has a strong background as a fashion designer as he has worked with renowned designers like Harley Ruedas and Mark So. His prom gown is a classic beige tulle ball gown with intricate flower details on top — beautiful and effortless as he describes. “My pieces are detailed but not overwhelming,” he said.

What pushed you to become a fashion designer?

When I finished my nursing degree, I enrolled at Stylissimo. It was a fashion design workshop by Dexter Alazas. I got introduced to some designers and eventually started an internship at Harley Ruedas. It pretty much started from there.

As a young designer, what are some struggles do you go through in your creative process?

It’s very challenging to create something new that would be saleable to the market. Because you don’t want to be labeled as a sellout at the same time you also wouldn’t want to make things that nobody would want to wear.

Bree Esplanada

Mantra in Life: Every experience is not a test but a practice to master your art.

Bree describes his design aesthetic as eerie and romantic — which his exactly what his prom gown is. He chose a bold maroon color with dramatic black details and a subtle cape for added drama. Bree is the newly promoted administrator for FIP-Cebu, and he loves his job very much.

“Teaching and helping them is one of the ways I can give back to them and help them build themselves up as young designers,” he said.

What pushed you to become a fashion designer?

It used to be a hobby back in high school. Then my friends and family encouraged me to do fashion, so in college, I joined local competitions or even school runway shows until I fell in love with it and decided to make it as my profession after college.

As a young designer, what are some struggles do you go through in your creative process?

One of the things that I usually struggle with in my creative process is thinking of new ideas. If I’m stressing out in my creative process, I just stop for days or even a week, then in my hiatus, ideas will be swarming like bees!

Glady Rose Pantua

Mantra in Life: Dream big, work hard, and stay humble be a queen.

Simply elegant — this is how Glady describes her designs. Her electric blue number is a sophisticated off-shoulder cropped top and pencil skirt with a ribbon trail. Glady is inspired by many remarkable women in fashion like Victoria Beckham and Audrey Hepburn.

What pushed you to become a fashion designer?

One of the perks of being a fashion designer is having an intense lifestyle, and that motivates me to do more — more in my expression of art and more in my desire to find new things in fashion.

As a young designer, what are some struggles do you go through in your creative process?

As a business woman, building rapport is my best tactic to gain success, but I make sure my work is not overlooked without proper review. In short, I am a perfectionist with my work.

Jessie Lastimosa

Mantra in Life: “Inspiration is one thing and you can’t control it, but hard work is what keeps the ship moving. Good luck means work hard. Keep up the good work.”

As a fashion designer, Jessie learned to love the idea of minimalism. “I always believe that I can still be creative in my designs as a minimalist through small details,” she said. This is greatly seen on his prom gown — a sleek mermaid gown with a fishtail skirt and heart-shaped top, bedazzled with faux jewels. It emphasizes the curves of the body well and the soft pink gives an ultra-feminine touch.

What pushed you to become a fashion designer?

Every time I scanned through a magazine, it always made me wonder how they came up with these beautiful pieces worn by models. It made me think how a simple fabric became the most important piece in those glossy pages. That’s when my curiosity in making a garment was born. I was sure it wasn’t easy, and I proved that it never was.

As a young designer, what are some struggles do you go through in your creative process?

Personally, I learned not to think about what other people are doing because thinking about what I’m doing and what I will do is already too much. Let’s focus on making our craft better every day through learning.

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