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YStyle

The Great Escape

MJ Benitez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Designer Seph Bagasao’s inspirations for his pre-fall 2016 collection may stem from African and Japanese influences (well, just one Japanese artist/peace activist actually), but the designs are distinctly Filipino. Plays on texture and proportion figure largely in his eponymous label’s most recent collection as multi-hued handwoven trims sourced from Benguet are used to accent side-stripe flared denims, crinkle pocket midi dresses, and glossy knee-length pencil skirts. Meanwhile, easy separates such as outsized linen vests, relaxed silk culottes, sleeveless turtleneck tunics, and neon mesh-sleeve shirts are made for everyday wear, lending the range a more urban contemporary touch.

YStyle talks to the young designer about his homegrown brand and gets first dibs on his spiffy new collection, available at Soma Stores starting today.

YSTYLE: What inspired you to come up with this collection?

SEPH BAGASAO: This season, I took inspiration from Africa and Yoko Ono. I came across several photos of Kenyan women and was fascinated with how the richness and details of their ornaments contrasted nicely with their clothing, which I find very similar to the Japanese design aesthetic, at least in terms of shape and proportion. As for Yoko Ono, I have always been captivated with her persona so it felt right for me to infuse her uniquely artistic mood in my collection.

How is your current collection similar or different from your last prêt-à-porter collection?

Like my past offerings, I came up with a lot of separates and incorporated a mix of fabrics and textures for this collection. This time, though, I made use of different trims with colors that included hints of neutrals and brights, which I rarely use.

What specific materials or textiles did you use?

 

 

 

 

?I’ve always wanted to utilize local woven fabrics and make them more current so I used handwoven trims from Benguet and combined them with denim, linen and water-repellent fabrics. I also used Dri-FIT fabric, vintage silk, and brocade to amp up the texture in my pieces.

From the viewpoint of an indie label, what’s it like being in the local fashion and retail industry?

In a setting where consumers are accustomed to spending good money on made-to-order pieces or high street brands, introducing an independent brand with a similar or higher price point such as mine is challenging. The rise of international fast fashion brands in the metro has made it even more difficult. But then, this challenge is something to be accepted and not brushed off. After all, fashion is always moving forward and awareness is slowly being increased. I just have to stick to my guns and keep doing what I do.

So what do you think are the industry’s strengths and weaknesses?

Our country has a wealth of amazing talent and resources, which, when utilized effectively, has the potential to compete even with top-tier brands in the global market. The industry must learn to give great value to the people behind each garment so they can all take pride in what they do. When the skills of artisans and workers are nurtured, growth will be imminent. Also, the support and patronization of local independent brands will go a long way.

How would you describe the Bagasáo brand?

Bagasáo is all about quiet luxury. We build each piece with quality, functionality and individuality. We create not for a passing moment of recognition but to fulfill our aspiration for longevity. Subtlety is everything.

 

Photos by RALPH MENDOZA

Styled by MJ BENITEZ

Makeup by DON DE JESUS OF MAC COSMETICS

Hair by RHOY CERVANTES

Modeled by JESSICA YANG

Stylist Assisted by KAT FERNANDO

Clothes by BAGASÁO. Heels from CHARLES & KEITH. Hat from AC +632

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