At an early age, Anda Carmona had already decided on a career path and it was going to be fashion. She enrolled in a design school to learn how to make clothes instead of enjoying summer vacations with her friends. The same year she graduated from high school was the same time she graduated from Slims Fashion Design School as its youngest student ever. While in college and earning a degree in business management, top designer Aureo Alonzo recruited her to model for Conching Sunico’s Karilagan, the country’s most prominent modeling group. She quickly became one of the nation’s top models, traveling internationally to promote Philippine fashion.
“Even before I started modeling I was already a designer. My sister and I were best dressed in high school because of my passion for fashion. At a young age my career goals were set, all I needed to do was pursue it and I did it with fervor. It was exciting to see how fashion evolved over the years. Every generation was defined by their fashion esthetics. That is how much power fashion yields.”
During the 1970s, she successfully juggled entrepreneurship, modeling and her studies. She was taken in by Shoemart’s Tessie Sy to pioneer the launch of the Designer Ready-To-Wear department on the second floor of their flagship Makati store. Shortly after, Anda established a manufacturing firm, which included factories in sewing, fabric printing, and garment dyeing. Not only did their brand sell to local stores but it also had a healthy export business to the US and Europe.
In 1977, Anda moved to the United States, got married and became a homemaker, and doting mother to three sons Jason, Matthew and James. In the mid-’80s, she reentered the fashion industry and elevated her skills to a new format by immersing herself in all levels of the business to eventually become a director of design and product development. Her exposure and hands-on work with major retailers in the USA and Europe gave Anda an advantage in strategizing how to pull sales and manufacturing contracts with prestigious stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Bloomingdales, Free People, Macy’s. Her work with factories in China and other Southeast Asian countries developed her abilities to maximize quality work and fulfill clients’ production calendars efficiently.
About a decade ago, Anda was sought after by the fashion design departments of various colleges and universities to join their teaching community as a part-time industry professional instructor. The goal was to prepare students for the true working environment of the apparel industry. She willingly shared her knowledge and experience as an adjunct instructor in the Fashion Design and Merchandising classes of FIDM, Art Institute of Hollywood, Woodbury University and seminars in product development at the LA Trade Tech and American international University.
As an innovator, Anda has developed looks that have become staples in apparel — from dyed lingerie tees, super sheer knits, stretch Lycra in woven and knit fabrics, ’60s color blocking in contemporary designs, layering colors in sheer knits, new approaches in mixed media, embellished denims, new graphic designs and dip dye cotton dresses with crochets.
The gem of her successful product line is the colored jean leggings, DBlue part of the Desert Blue Jeans umbrella which she launched in 2006. They created a stir in the fashion world with A-list celebrities being photographed wearing her stylish and fabulous-fitting creation. The jean leggings design revitalized the jean market. To date it has been the highest selling retail jean design among females of all ages, being sold at prestigious boutiques and chains such as Fred Segal, Kitson, Posche, Blues Jean Bar, all of Free Peoples 34 stores and global clients in Japan, Australia, Canada and London.
Anda influenced most of her siblings in embracing fashion and the media. Her sisters Zen and Charo Carmona and brother Derek all modeled and did stints on the ramp, television, print media and Derek even acted in the movies. Second generation fashion model-turned director Robby Carmona has followed in the footsteps of this talented family.
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For inquiries, e-mail Anda Carmona at Miranda_carmona@yahoo.com.
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