Proudly Pinoy

Filipino fashion designers share their thoughts on what makes Filipino design a cut above the rest.

To say that Filipinos are making waves in the design industry is an understatement. It would be more apt to say that we are conquering the world – in fashion, interior and furniture design, even digital arts.

We talked to some of today’s successful Filipino designers on their thoughts about what makes Filipino fashion design stand out, and what sets these designers apart from their peers from other countries.

Their answers made us stand up, place our hand on our chest, and affirm that we are – more than ever – proud to be Pinoy!


John Herrera

Winner, London Emerging Designer
(LED) Awards 2015

 "Our rich culture and history make Filipino design stand out. Our natural resources combined with our influences and our dreams make Filipinos amazing designers. It is only when we try to become someone other than who we are that we don’t become global. National identity is what defines us and it should drive our passion in design or in any creative human activity.

“Design is design, and people will celebrate creativity if it is authentic, no matter where it comes from. I was tempted to tweak my design sensibility to be more ‘London’ but in the end I decided against it. I would rather not win doing what I love, than to win with a collection that wasn’t me. Winning only comes second to the real triumph here: I showed London what Manila fashion is today."


Amina Aranaz-Alunan

Designer and educator

 "The Filipino aesthetic is highly intricate and detailed. One will notice a lot of handmade techniques and materials.
We gravitate towards a lot of detail, texture, and material manipulation. [We are] definitely not minimalists but lean towards exuberance."


JC Buendia

Fashion designer

" Unusual shapes and handiwork set Filipino design apart. Look at our butterfly sleeves, Kenneth Cobonpue’s wave-like furniture – Filipino designers usually draw inspiration from nature. Uniquely ours is fine embroidery, hand embroidery using techniques like callado. There is also the technique suksuk which is incorporated in the weaving process."


Rencie Santos

Accessory designer

 "What makes us stand out is our sense of adventure.
Because the Philippines has many international influences, we have no constraints with ideas.
We have abundant and beautiful natural resources that designers can draw from in terms of subject matter, materials,and structure."


Tracy Dizon


"Seeing Filipino creations abroad, what makes our [design] stand out is the human craftsmanship. There’s this sincerity, passion, and human touch or haplos ng pagmamahal innate in Filipinos that translate to our creations. Being a Filipino designer gave me the impetus to be resourceful. As they say, if you can’t find it, make it. This makes us more creative and innovative in transforming nothing into something."


John Ablaza

International eco-couture designer

"Filipino designers are world class  – very creative, ever-evolving, always re-inventing, and very resourceful. [We are] always on the lookout to create something unique and original. I do fashion not just for the glamour of it; I have advocacies attached to my work. I incorporate natural and highly sustainable materials in my creations. This way, I contribute in preserving nature’s bounty and create livelihood for less fortunate Filipinos."


Albert Andrada

Fashion designer

"Filipino design stands out because of its artful aesthetics. The Philippines is a country very rich in culture. From the earlier times, making fabrics from [the] raw has been a part of our rich heritage. We make our own fabric; we weave it and even color it with natural dyes. Art has always been a part of every Filipino."


Eric delos Santos

Fashion designer

" Filipino design stands out because of our workmanship and innate creativity. Our Filipino hospitality also comes out when we deal with our clients, both here and abroad. "

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