Louis Claparols: Know your worth

WORDSWORTH - Mons Romulo - The Philippine Star
Louis Claparols: Know your worth
Fashion designer Louis Claparols.

During one of our conversations, we asked Louis Claparols about his advice to aspiring designers. His immediate answer, coming from someone who has experienced it all, was, “Fame and talent are two different things; cultivate your talent, not your popularity.”

Louis, who grew up in Bacolod City, remembers being asked by his classmates to design their prom dresses. He then moved to Manila in 1997 without any intention of becoming a designer, but his designing career took off. He was a very young and a new designer when Preview magazine discovered him and gave him a five-page editorial. He became one of the most sought-after designers and he designed for not only Manila’s socialites but was often requested to dress up celebrities and be featured in various fashion magazines. He then became a member of the Young Designers Guild of the Philippines from 2004 to 2011, and even served a term as president in 2009.

In 2005, at the Mega Fashion Awards, he was chosen as “Ready-to-Wear Designer of the Year.”

“I participated in several Philippine fashion weeks and Metrowear shows from 2004 to 2011,” Claparols recalled. “I was tapped by several companies and brands such as Ayala Malls, Ensembles, SM Dept Store, Hyatt Hotel and Casinos for collaborations.”

In 2016, in spite of his popularity, he decided to embark on an “Eat, Pray, Love” journey in LA, later settling down in Bangkok, where he started teaching in an arts and fashion school that was co-owned by another Filipino designer, Len Nepomuceno. In 2018, he decided to move back to Manila and launch his own online brand, “The Muse Project.”

Louis at work.

When asked about his future plans, he shared, “Nothing major, I’m just happy I was able to relaunch my brand in Manila after the pandemic, thanks to Bench and the Katutubo Pop-Up market. I will be turning 50 in May. I just want to enjoy my life as much as I can.”

He gets his inspiration from music, art, film and things around him. Since the ’80s, Madonna has inspired him for her music and her contributions to popular culture.

Louis shares with us 10 life lessons:

1. Don’t compare yourself to others; comparing yourself to others can be detrimental to your wellbeing and own personal growth and it overlooks your own individuality and the path you are meant to follow. Just focus on yourself, be productive and trust the journey.

2. Always respect or pay homage to those who helped you when you were just starting. By respecting those who have helped you, you will inspire others to do the same. Acknowledging their contribution is showing your understanding of the value they added to your life and career. And as the saying goes, “Be nice to the people on your way up, because they are the same people you meet on your way down.”

3. Never stop learning, never stop evolving.

4. Always take responsibility for your mistakes; when you acknowledge your mistakes, you show maturity and willingness to grow and learn.

5. Fashion is fleeting. Friends and family stay on.

6. Love what you do. When you love what you do, you stay motivated; when you are motivated, you become very productive.

7. Always pay it forward. I have always been very thankful to all the people who have helped me along the way in my career, and I feel that it’s my time to return the favor, that’s why I decided to be part of the Sofa Design Institute faculty, to train and prepare the next generation of fashion designers of the country.

8. Hit the “Pause” button when needed — the creative industry can sometimes burn you out. Learn to recognize that you need a break, go on a vacation, get inspired again. When you’re ready, just carry on where you left off.

9. One should be adaptable to change. The landscape in the world of design is constantly evolving; technologies, trends and client expectations are always rapidly changing.

10. Know your worth as an artist, as a designer… don’t let people write their own price tags on your name. The people who value and know your worth will naturally navigate towards you.



We welcome your suggestions and comments. Please e-mail me at [email protected]. Follow me on Instagram @monsromulo.

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