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Staying Ahead of the Curve: The Art of Fashion Trend Forecasting and Design Innovation 

My Journey from Computer Science to Fashion Design

I am a Computer Programmer-turned Fashion Designer.  I Graduated BS Computer Science at the Angeles University Foundation in 2006, and eventually found my love for fashion design. Also, I took up fashion designing at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines and graduated in 2012. In terms of accomplishments, I was 2nd place Designer of the Year Awardee by the Fashion Institute of the Philippines in 2012, Top 3 Finalist of the fashion reality show Mega Young Designers Competition All-stars 2013, and the Grandwinner of Stylefestph2019.

Fashion is a form of expression, and people differ with the way they express themselves. Trends are there to serve as a guide of what’s new, cool, and in. However, I still believe that an individual’s personal style will always make a person feel confident and comfortable- but that personal style with the current trend adds a different vibe to an individual’s personal look. Through trend forecasting, designers are also able to update and elevate their design by incorporating what’s new to their fashion pieces.

What is Trend Forecasting and Why is it Important?

Trend forecasting revolves on the season. For summer, we would normally expect something light and fresh. For rainy days, we would expect darker shades and some layering on clothing. While during holidays, specifically December, we would expect sparkly designs. These are some of the basic things we would expect depending on the season. But when fashion designers incorporate a fresh approach, idea, or design on these basics that they think people will definitely love and purchase, then you could project what would be the trend.

Usually, we could see upcoming trends in magazines, fashion shoots, online editorials and other fashion publications. The saying “Fashion repeats itself,” is true. If you’ve noticed, some trends in the past decades have also been making a comeback in the fashion scene- but with some innovations to keep them updated with current society. Personally, I really do not have specific resources, but I would sometimes look-up on the net to see the global fashion trends which I try to re-incorporate with my designs and edit what would be suitable in our country’s climate and weather.

My Signature Aesthetic and How I Developed It

Each designer has his own “aesthetic”, which is one of the reasons why clients would go and have custom-made clothing done.  And this is the very heart of the designer’s work which makes him different from others. I remember a question raised during our Mega Young Designers Competition- “Which is the graver sin, lack of taste or lack of style?” This has been one of the foundations whenever I create a design either as a collection or for a client.

Taste would always matter more. Trends would spring out every now and then, but we also have to realize that these trends would not suit everyone. A specific trend may not look good to a specific body-type, and that’s where designers do their thing. I would normally ask my clients what they want, and check for their measurements. From there, I try to incorporate what my client wants with what I think would look good on my client’s body-type without compromising my aesthetic, and also my client’s request. 

Since I’ve been designing since 2012, I was experimental as a designer. I’ve done avant garde, romantic, feminine, futuristic, street, and other styles. But when I won in Stylefestph2019, where I fused street wear with formalwear, that became the aesthetic and heart of my designs. I try to incorporate street vibes with formal menswear or basic clothing and the result has been fashionably satisfying. Not a lot of designers are able to do menswear and this has been one of the reasons why I’ve experienced an increase in male clients in the past months. I am also a flexible designer who could do menswear, womenswear, and childrenswear. To be able to design and create garments for different markets is also an edge in the industry.

“Fashion is always a collaborative effort between people in the industry.”

Fashion Designers make-up the design and stylists give a different interpretation to the design based on how they style and mix the outfit with different accessories. When designers are also open to suggestions, stylists sometimes ask for some designs which they think will flourish in the coming months. But these are still subject to the designer’s aesthetic and interpretation.

Lately, there has also been a rise with the love of native products such as locally weaved fabrics and materials. Sometimes with the fast-paced era that we have right now, these native resources tend to be set aside in pursuit of something new. However, lots of designers now are incorporating a new twist with these resources to make them current and relevant to the market. Before, you would only imagine a barong as something which could be worn on formal occasions. But now, there have been innovations with the barong such as a bomber jacket made of barong materials and embroidery, or a barong with street vibe or element. By making these native resources relevant to the current market, designers are also able to help local weavers and manufacturers to have sustained visibility and a stable profit.

The Innovative Change of Design

The digital era has changed the way everyone markets their products. Designers specifically, are also able to extend a higher reach of audiences and clients through utilization of these social media platforms. Not everyone would be willing to spend some amount of money to buy a magazine, but almost everyone nowadays has a phone and a social media account. And this has revolutionized the way we designers also market our products. Clientele is no longer limited to those who are in close proximity to our shops. Because of social media, we’re able to gain international clients through promotion of our designs through social media platforms.

“A trend could be seen almost everywhere, especially through social media. However, in my opinion, trends are not for everyone.” 

What may be fitting to a specific person may not look good to another and vice-versa. We also have to take demographics into consideration when designing something. For example, a sexy silhouette may not be well-accepted in a specific setting because people in that demographic are known to be conservative. If that’s the case, then designers should also be able to adapt in certain situations. At the end of the day, whatever business or industry we are in, it’s still important to have a stable income through clients.

To be able to create clothing that makes people of different sizes or body types feel great about themselves is my advocacy. In my opinion, one of the greatest accomplishments as a designer is to be able to give a person a moment to look good, and be confident because of what they are wearing. I’ve had clients ranging from the undersized to plus-sized. Personally, I feel so much fulfillment whenever I see my clients amazed and happy while fitting their custom-made clothing.