fashion . Interview

These On-The-Rise Filipino Designers Highlight Craftsmanship

at Vancouver Fashion Week

Vancouver Fashion Week celebrated another season of multiculturalism with up-and-coming designers on its runways. This year, two Filipina designers joined numerous emerging and established designers from around the world; Krizia Jimenez and Tia Lacson showcased their collections that feature a wide range, from high-quality evening wear designs to unconventional high street style. 

Jimenez (left) and Lacson (right) at Vancouver Fashion Week 2018

We chat with the Manila-based and Bacolod-based designers to find out more about the inspirations behind their collections, their creative processes, and what to expect from them post-VFW. 

Describe to us the experience of showcasing your work at Vancouver Fashion Week.

Krizia: It’s been quite overwhelming. Almost like a never-ending rollercoaster ride. I have to admit; I have to kick myself sometimes. It’s been tough, a lot of hard work but it’s all worth it. Starting small, learning and just grew from there.

Tia: Being able to showcase your collection and your work of art, on an international scale was an experience I definitely would find hard to forget. It was exciting, exhausting, and emotional. But once you finally see your models wearing your creations, see people applauding and hear great feedback from the guests, it all becomes worth it.

What's the story behind your collection?

The concept of the collection is actually based on an imaginary place that I envisioned. It’s located underwater and it’s called Atlantica. It is a place where the mysteries of the sea and its elemental forces are found. It is a world full of the unknown, culturally transcendent, filled with elements and silhouettes that are unconventional. A haven full of beauty and the unlikely.

The collection is crafted with an obsessive attention to detail. The pieces stay close to various dramatic forms and colours that epitomise existence undersea. The whole collection showcases a palette of neutrals to colours that draw more attention to the eyes. It dawns simplicity yet creating images with soft and stiff forms, allocating wider proportions while highlighting the figures using a couple of silk pieces and brocade bodices.

In short, I wanted to express to people how I view these objects, the details I notice, the subtle elements that catch my attention when I go on dives. Not everyone notices or are capable of seeing them up close and so I wanted to inject those details into my work.

One of the looks from Jimenez's Atlantica

Tia: I got my inspiration from an independent woman blooming and clearly ready to become a better version of herself. A woman who rose above all the struggles and turned the situation into something beautiful. Renaissance means “rebirth” in French, and this whole concept of a renewed confidence, love for self and a brighter outlook in life is what I want my clothes to look and feel like. 

This 12-piece clothing and accessory collection consisted of playing with delicate guipure laces, ruffles, ribbons and fall hues such as whites and silvers, beige, gold and reds. At first glance, you can see hints of the Renaissance from the subtle details and patterns reflecting it in the clothes. 

One of the looks from Lacson's Renaissance

What's your favourite piece from the collection and why?

Krizia: One of my favourite pieces from the current collection would be a tulle skirt with little organza details (aqua ten tulle skirt). 

It’s quite special to me because it took me so long to create the small details that actually brought the whole skirt together. I also favour this garment because I’m drawn to the colours that build it and the species that I derived inspiration from to create it.

Tia: It’s hard to pick a favourite since I love every item but of course, like every collection, my final piece and the mesh fully beaded top paired with the pink ruffle pants were ones we put the most work in so I’d choose those. I also loved the burgundy casual dresses, something I would wear daily.

[The collection] gives off a romantic and quite feminine vibe. [The culture in Bacolod, with it being the City of Smiles, helped inspire that, in a way]. I think part of my style comes from my hometown, and part of it also comes from all the places I travel to. 

Krizia, your work is more on the unconventional type of modern wear. How much of your work can you attribute to being inspired by the Filipino culture or being a Filipino in general?

Sometimes when I create a piece or design I not only consider the aesthetics of an object but how that object comes to be — down to its growth and the production of it. I always create in hope that someone out there will appreciate and connect with me in a manner where they understand the art that was put into creating that certain piece. Craftsmanship.

I feel like a part of my work somehow reflects me being a Filipino. Filipinos are a mixture of souls. We endeavour to seek new perspectives, intertwine modern and traditional concepts with unique style choices. We adapt and explore and are very keen on details and how things are made. Sometimes I catch myself injecting Philippine designs into my work like with fabric choices, intricacy, etcetera.

Tia, what can you say are the pros and cons of being an influencer when it comes to starting your own label?

Marketing your brand definitely becomes easier since I’ve had experience working with brands as a blogger, and I can definitely use the techniques I’ve learned throughout the years with getting your name out there.

What can we expect from you after VFW?

Krizia: Growth. I’m hoping to continue to proceed with my craft; imbue good design, quality materials, and further improve the label and create a proper platform that could speak to people locally and internationally.

Tia: A lot of exciting things are lined up for LuxeSaint. We are working on a swimsuit line, and will also be catering to more weddings and ready-to-wear collections which will be found on our website

(Cover photo from: @luxesaint & @kriziajimenez)