Horse.

Losing you.

Hey guys! I can't believe 2012 is already over! YEAR OF THE DRAGON~ I remember telling myself growing up that upon the coming of the next Dragon Year, I'd bust out a mutation of some sort and rule the Earth. Clearly that hasn't happened. So here's a little segment I'd like to call: things I've done in the past month.


We shot, published and launched the House of Laurel Holiday 2012 Collection!


The collection is called HANAMI or flower-watching in Japanese. Aren't those pants sick? Sadly, I'm not convinced yet that I can pull them off. Lol!







This is the first time we featured a really elaborate set for one of our books. We took a wooden arch and tacked on these giant paper flowers to create some texture. We decided on an all-white backdrop to still have the clean, minimal counterpoint to the clothes. To see the full process and more BTS shots, check out my boss' blog for more.


The cover shot!


As with every collection, it's a lot of making do with what minimal space we've got!


Thank you to Enzo Mondejar (photographer), Yves Camingue (stylist), Mark Familara (hair), Jarwin Manosa of MAC (make-up) and our lovely models Jodilly, Irish and Stefan.

See the rest of the photos in all their glory via http://www.rajolaurel.com!

As opposed to shooting a conventional Rajito look book for this season, we had a special collaboration with Ruffa Gutierrez and her daughters LOrin & VEnice. The LOVE collection shot by BJ Pascual!


Beautiful set elements thanks to Matet Esguerra of E-Vents!


Set furniture from Phoenix Home!


Ruffa and the girls!


Thank you to BJ Pascual (photographer), Gela Laurel-Stehmeier (Ruffa's make-up), Judy Sales (for the children's make-up), RJ dela Cruz (hair) and E-Vents for the set design.

For more, check out the generous designer spotlight by Garage Magazine December 2012-January 2013 issue on House of Laurel's RajoMan Holiday 2012 collection! Wuhoo. Pretty psyched about this, I'm really happy with the way the photos turned out. Special shout-out to the inimitable Gabby Cantero for shooting these. Super kilig, tbqh. I had fun during this shoot.


Simon in my favorite piece: the ISAMU Jacket.


It's chiffon, chiffon, chiffon for men right now. I'm kidding but hey, I love this look.


Brocade! An alternative for evening.


Looking super suave! Thank you Garage Magazine (Rey Ilagan, Adrianne Concepcion and Leo Balante for this feature!) and Gabby Cantero for the awesome photos.

And for something I feel really excited about, grab a copy of the Rogue December 2012-January 2013 issue because I did a spread for them! The brief was to come up with a style guide for table settings. The only direction was that it will be a top shot and basically to capture the Rogue reader's table--basically, an affluent gentleman with discerning taste.

It was quite the experience, nothing quite like what I'm used to on a normal basis. Basically, it was the pulling-out that was both trying yet very educational hahaha. Trying because I've never done it before and educational because there really is a wealth of stuff out there. Shout out to AC+632 and W17! It's the lure of consumerism people, get with it!


Out on news stands now! My first time in #Publishing HAHAHA and for Rogue to boot. Love this magazine!


Here it is! As grabbed from Zinio (thanks Thysz!) in its full spread glory. HAHAHA I'm proud of it as a first attempt but I honestly think the story could have been pushed more. I'm just happy it's less Martha Stewart and more Bon Appetit!

Thanks to Raymond Ang for taking a chance on me! And to Mano Lotho for the last minute saves, super grateful for this. Now on to the #DailyGrind and let's get 2k13 started!

P.S

On the fitness front! I've been doing well in terms of fitness (now weight loss, is a whole other story--I'm still on 215-220lbs).

I've broken through both my 3x5 Squat PR (295lbs + bar) and 3x5 Chest Press (155lbs + bar). Continuous gains on my jump rope skills and the fact that I've maintained a three week streak of doing a trail run every Sunday.

I plan to continue this well into 2013, reinforcing it with a well thought-out diet. Something that is virtually impossible during the Holidays hahaha! I feel great though, isn't that what counts? Cheers!
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Godric

Not feeling the aster.

Hello, hello! It's been a while since my last update. It's been a busy past couple of months! We shot our Holiday 2012 look book, shot our Rajito LOVE collection collaboration with Ruffa Gutierrez, set up for the CITEM 2012 trade fair, had the Zuellig inauguration fashion show and then just yesterday, the launch of the LOVE Collection for Rajito. I've been nothing but work, work, work. Taking the few weekend respites I get staying at home and vegging out. Before I get to all that, let me take you back another couple of months.



Throughout the past year, I've been working side by side with Rajo developing his W by Rajo! line. Since it's pretty close to the actual process of our RajoMan development, I've been taking the reins on this one ever since. We shot our 2nd collection look book! I honestly like writing about these experiences (shows and shoots!) because I feel like this is the highlight of my job. It can be tiring and the attention to detail is exasperating, but the fulfillment and education are always there.



We shot it in Edifice Studios along Pasong Tamo. Jav Velasco shot it, Melvin Mojica styled it! Gela did the make-up and RJ dela Cruz did the hair! These are just some of the shots!



The model is Rafael do Prado from Elite! Pretty happy with how it turned out. Our concept was an "Art Dealer", which fit well with the collection's inspiration from one of Rajo's paintings.



Casual looks! Available in all SM Department stores!



The team, with W by Rajo! proprietor Penny Ngu and her team!



For a closer look at what happened that day, check out this video. Lol, don't judge my fat self!

Now back to September, a full week before the Parisian 2012 show! See previous entry to this one for that. We had a double booking for the Bench Universe 2012 Underwear show. I think it's a bi-annual show, but this year it was held for two days. For us working backstage, two days is basically a living hell for the first day and at the end of it: you'll have to clean up and make sure that you're ready for the day after. Hahaha! It wasn't pretty but it did make for a good show!



Rajo's segment for the show was Timeless. His direction was basically the year 2200 when it's already the future but both aliens and humans alike are still pandering towards Bench for their underwear needs. Lol, well internally that was our brief! Rajo translated the idea into these aliens in technicolor.

The concept needed a full-on set of body paint artists to come in, and my task was to oversee the "production". In short I was there both days, armed with Rajo's sketches, 4 artists, the actual paint and 15 models to accomplish. It was nothing short of a nightmare at the time.



Painting a model would take almost three hours, from start to finish. But thankfully, for both days, we managed it fine and well. In addition to the four artists, I was already painting bodies. The models were painting themselves and each other. It was funny! But I'm sure it was worth it, the final effect when they finally walked under the black light of the SM Arena stage was kinda epic.



To realize the vision even further, Rajo collaborated with Leeroy New to make these custom glow-in-the-dark pieces! The overall effect was great! Of course, it was a pleasure also to work side by side with Leeroy also. Genius levels!



Jiro as a full-on alien warrior!



Our girls right before the first walk!



The sweetest celebs you will ever meet: Enzo Pineda and Rocco Nacino for our segment! Love these guys!



Kathryn Bernardo in Leeroy New's galactic body armor! Looked amazing under the lights!



Rocco killing it!

The full two days backstage were made more fun because for every down moment, I'd run to the celebrity (uy!) holding area to meet up with Janine.



I am but a lowly serf next to the majesty that is Janine Gutierrez in her Ezra Santos regalia! HAHAHA thanks for sticking it out with me, even if I was caught "green-handed" half the time. Effing paint.



As far as last looks go, this is us with Sarah Lahbati HAHAHA. No comment except, LOVE HER.

At the end of the day, I feel blessed with the opportunity to have been able to be a part of grand things like this. The experience has been invaluable and I truly have been learning a lot. I just need to channel all of these things into something bigger, further down the line. That's the challenge now! Cheers.

P.S

As some form of bonus (which I'm sure you could've lived without receiving), check out our Halloween 2012.



Lol we had the bright idea of dressing up as sheep because Luna (my sister's daughter!) dressed up as Little Bo Peep. HAHAHA my Lola made these costumes! If you notice, I'm in sensible separates, Maia's in a bubble dress and Miguel is in an effing onesie. We kept it super literal but ended up looking a lot like wolves in sheep's clothing.

But really, this was my peg:



HAHAHA long live T-ara!
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Varekai.

Runway, runaway.

Holy wow, has it really been two months since I last wrote on this thing? Incroyable. Well for what it's worth, it's been a dizzy-ing past few months. Show after show after show. Oh and also, it was my birthday last month. Yaaay. Nat! It was pretty uneventful. I turned 24. One year closer to the dreaded 25th, aka quarter life crisis! Time just moves so fast, life is very short and all that jazz. And to think, I'm not exactly sure if I am living it. I am working for it though, that's for sure!


Me, post-schlep, backstage with our girls: Jasmine, Jodilly and Valerie!

Like I mentioned, it's been show after show this past month. It's the first time I've ever truly felt the holiday months taking its toll on the industry. The rush is almost tangible, especially for the fashion world. Every week is peppered with event after event. It's almost like a struggle for legitimacy, or even an audience. But that's a concern for another day. Let me walk you through what happened behind the scenes of our most recent show: RAJOxPARISIAN+MILANOS! Note, all photos I stole from my boss' blog. Since he basically has the best BTS pictures, and go there for a much, much, much more detailed account. Thanks to Jujiin for taking most of these!


The sharpie applied tattoos on the day of the shoot. The concept for this look was yakuza-inspired.

First up was the campaign shoot! Gosh, I wasn't heavily involved at the start of this project. I'm mostly tasked to assist when it comes to clothing collaborations, Rajo basically took the horns on this project all on his own--minimal assistance on his team for the creative aspect. So when plans came in for the campaign to be executed, I begged (well okay I didn't have to beg haha!) if I could go and assist during the shoot because I heard Vince Uy was creative directing it! And of course, BJ Pascual (my favorite photographer, naks) was shooting it.


Gela and Vince working on our model, Kseniya from Russia.

If I had any ~industry heroes~, I guess Vince would be one of them. On the onset, I didn't really have a clear idea of his role when it came to the actual shoot date. I just knew that creative directors are in charge of coming up with the concept, selecting the right people to execute, augmenting the mood etc. He did that and so much more! It was so fascinating to see him at work. It was like a mix of styling, art directing (THIS. WAS SO PRO!) and so much more. Like, I felt tired just watching him. He would dress the model, augment the composition, tell her how to pose and then some. Basically making sure that every shot BJ takes is going to be amazing. I bow down to him. So good, /spazz.


I just love the styling. And the fact that his underwear is peeking out, lol it's the nature of the hakama--culottes go under them. The pieces are things we culled from Rajo's archive of authentic Japanese garb and things we're releasing for Holiday. Watch out!


The entire village making it work. Spot me, the tallest lol. Don't I look handsome?


Some of the final images.







Like I said, I just stole these pictures so don't stone me that there are so few. Head on to Rajo's blog for everything! Two months after we shot the campaign, it was on to the launch!


Raymond Gutierrez was the host of the show! I love that we had him decked out in pieces from the holiday collection of RajoMan! Coming soon, so good.

The launch basically, consisted of a cocktail event, a fashion show and then a shopping event. In that specific order. We once again, had the pleasure of working with Saga Entertainment, led by my favorite client Robby Carmona. So event logistics goes to them, our office is tasked basically with two things: the guest list (making sure our beloved clients come) and the actual show. I had the distinct pleasure of handling the show: this basically means the clothes. Model casting and show choreography are on Saga's end.


Spot me schlepping garments upon garments while Rajo fits Ria Bolivar. Lol isn't it pathetic how in most of these pictures that "have me in them", I'm hardly even in them? Terrible.

Fortunately, this isn't the first show I've organized for Rajo. Preparing for something like this consists mainly of two things: fitting the models and the show itself. Simple right? Wrong. Fittings can either be very easy or very laborious. Remember the Bench show last time LIVING HELL in terms of the styling and sheer amount of pieces.

The process is basically a mix of model casting (who wears what, lol that could be a good website), styling and taking notes on clothing repairs. Basically the smaller the show, the less exits (looks!), the easier it is. Foresight on Rajo's part was on our side this time because the theme of our next collection is also Japan. He drew the same inspiration for this shoe collaboration and applied it to our RTW collections as well. So we had a lot to pull from in terms of the clothes. And of course, the model selection was quite--shall we say? TOTES AMAZE.

To illustrate:


Rajo trying out an obi on Jodilly. This happened a week before the show, to make time for repairs and whatnot.


Alex in a look. Love these shorts!


One of the options for Vince. Hahaha for posterity!

Basically, models come--we show Rajo the options. Options, options, options, as Rachel Zoe likes to say. Rajo chooses, we put them in the clothes and once we have the look (or lewk, depends) we snap a picture and save it for the exit board: it's a large board we tack up backstage to help us dressers make sure that each model is executed to the tee. A visual guide, if you will. Thankfully, we managed to square everything away a week before the event. So it was pretty much smooth sailing up until the show.


The girls backstage!


Our four models, lol including Mond who fit right in! Unfortunately our campaign model John Spainhour wasn't able to make the show, but we were more than happy with who we had!


The show begins! Mond goes first and talks about the collection.


Alex on the turnstile.


I adore those pants. Coming soon! Shoes are available now, now, now at an SM near you.


Our homegurl Jodilly, serving geisha realness.


I love this wind-up doll posing.


Jasmine Maierhofer to me is A+++.


For more picture stealing realness, this is Sam Adjani in his look via Stylebible! SO MAJOR.


Irish Ong in full Japanese regalia. This was clearly a moment. See the rest of the looks here.

All in all, the show was a massive success. The show (and shoes!) was well received and the sales were dizzy-ing. It was great to be a part of it, such a huge learning experience for me and I was so glad that everything looked super soigné on the runway. Couldn't be more grateful! Congratulations to my boss and the SM group! Bravo!

In a nutshell, this is my attempt to write down a gist of what I do when bigger things happen. It's one of the more exciting parts of my job! I have yet to write about the Bench Underwear Show that happened earlier in September because I'm still waiting for pictures from, ehem, Janine that we took backstage. Hahaha watch out for that! Now that was an experience, for all the wrong reasons mind you.

I guess that's all for now! What's up next for me is realizing a shoot for an upcoming collaboration for our children's line, the shoot for our Holiday 2012 look book and the launch as well. I pray for one thing and one thing only: creative confluence. That is all! More to come.

P.S

Look, Mom! I'm right next to Liz Uy here: SNAP. HAHA this conversation may or may not have occurred. Cheers!
Duel

Flight to the ford.

Hello, hello! And how are we all on this terribly rainy evening? Can bring nothing but trouble down here in these parts (read: Marikina), I just hope it clears up enough tomorrow morning so I can make it to work. At any rate!

Been a crazy past couple of weeks! We shot and released our Transition 2012 look book, the team flew out to China, and we shot a campaign for one of Rajo's collaborations. Still learning, experiencing brand new things week after week. But first off, check out what we did:









The Spock and Savile 2012 collection is already out in stores! The inspiration behind the collection is a 1960's perspective on Science Fiction cinema and futurism. We tempered it with shapes and silhouettes from English tailoring to give it that extra dimension. For RajoMan, we decided to take a more sci-fi film noir approach to the clothes. Think Blade Runner with all the outerwear they used in the city. We used unconventional materials like plastic, leather and acrylic beads. As for the kids, we decided to go for spacey prints and even more flouncy shapes. Think Judy Jetson!













These are just some of the clothes! See the rest at rajolaurel.com. This is our first time shooting outside of the office, we opted to go for Jo Ann Bitagcol! This fabulous model turned photographer who shot all these effects raw. Our models with Alisa (a favorite of my favorite photographer, BJ Pascual) and Jay Jackson. Jo captured this amazing feel for us, of depicting this vintage feel of shadows blending. A naive take on sci-fi futurism. We had accessories made with Yekky Balingit of Miadore (acrylic visors and all that) plus had help from a very talented artist Leeroy New in the form of sculptural head pieces. It was our longest shoot yet! We had the pleasure of having a very talented hairstylist with us, RJ dela Cruz, who is a magician with blonde extensions and Landmark bought wigs. Make-up was courtesy of MAC Cosmetics with help from our in-house House of Laurel Salon! Great experience all in all! Can't wait to do our next one.

Sorry I don't have any behind the scenes shots! I'll leave my boss for that, lol. What I do have though, is this:



WHAT, Y'ALL! Who werq'd it best? Me or Dawn Zulueta??? Hahaha! This is me holding up a dress for a test shot! Thanks to Jo for sending this to me! This will forever be an illustration of how I operate in the store.

Cue: "Ohhh my gohhhdddd, this would look so cute on you??? If you're not going to get it, I'm gonna get it." I'd leave it up to you to guess if that happens or not. Haha!

In more news, gearing up for a really exciting shoot this week! Well, I'm really not involved with this particular project but I requested from my boss if I could come and watch. It involves a lot of the big names in the industry and I would love to see how they operate. Apart from that, there's another show coming up in September. Something verrry relevant to all our interests hahaha. Stay tuned for that!

As for the fitness front. I plateau'd. Not because of some immovable block, but because I kind of dropped the ball on this past 60 day challenge. Combination of the trip to China, the glorious food in China, the succeeding weeks of staying over late at work kind of bogged me down. But been trying to keep up with the mobility workouts and I'm making progress! So not all is lost. Looking forward to getting back on the horse!

The good news is, I'm still hovering over 213lbs as of last time I checked. Onward, ho.

P.S



Here! Have another gratuitous shot of myself! This was taken I think a month and a half ago if I'm not mistaken, it came out in Chalk Magazine August 2012 issue! Get yourself a copy, it's a good read and it only costs 95 pesos.

Lol, I have to be honest and say I'm not particularly happy with my face in that photo. HAHAHA It reminds me of the WWF logo. I kid you not. Sigh, but as always, I'm more than happy to be there. Thanks Toff for thinking of me! XO!
Duel

Day by day.

Hello, hello! In fresh off the salon chair's news, I had a haircut! Difference is: I feel really good about it. I usually give it a few days of "growing in" before I feel at ease with it. I had the idea to trim the sides/back down to accommodate my recent fancy of displaying my forehead. Aka, I've been experimenting with waxinnn' my hair up into a gasp, dare I say the words, faux-hawk. Hahaha a defensive little joke I say when people invasive-ly ask(!): why is your hair all up in spikes? I just turn around and say "why ba?! My forehead deserves its own Renaissance!" HAHAHA I hope you don't read this and proceed to tell me it doesn't suit me, IRL. I don't think my fragile ego will be able to take that... Be warned! Moving on, hahaha.

It's been a while since I last updated! Let's bring ourselves up to speed, for you dear readers (all 2 and a half of you) and for future me, 2022.

I'm keeping up okay with what's been happening in my life these days. Life, meaning, my job as a Brand/Design Assistant for rajolaurel.com. I feel like I've got a solid handle on everything right now. I recently discovered that being a designer may not be for me after all. And I'm not fazed by that fact at all. I still can't tell you what it is. But what I do know is that I want to be in fashion; be it fashion marketing, editing, creative directing, merchandising or whatever I find myself doing.

I like where I am right now. I like the things that I'm doing. I am learning everything there is to learn, and frankly, I'm just taking it day by day. The experiences I've had so far (more on this later!) are slowly creeping up on me as things that I am extremely lucky to have had a hand in. Who else can say they developed a mass-market clothing collaboration? I am so grateful for the opportunity and I am living for what's coming up next. Day by day, we go.

Things could go better, more or less, but otherwise I'm content. Professionally speaking, I'm handling more and more each day. I guess it comes with experience and the trust of my superiors. The good thing is, it's not the stifling "I want to crawl under my desk" kind of load. I'm not very stressed. Frankly, I don't get very stressed at all. I get angry sometimes at certain injustices but those things really can't be helped. I'm only a year into this job and the challenges just keep on coming, I just go out and meet them as best as I can. 100%. So far, I haven't disappointed myself yet (the biggest critic) and hopefully, I won't allow myself the misfortune of disappointing the people I work with. Trabaho lang talaga! I don't think I have the time to deal with your neuroses, so back off. No tea no shade, I just want to get on with it. On to more tangible things:


We had our show last May! The Bench OJ + Rajo! Denim and Perfume collaboration! It was a massive, massive show held on the last day of Philippine fashion week!


It was quite the experience. I think the number of talents (we had to dress, at least) was something short of a hundred! Backstage was quite the clusterfuck, thank God there was only one look each for everyone.


Enchong Dee plus the other celebrities. Boy can he dance, I was so surprised! He brought out moves that never saw the light of day during rehearsal.


Slick moves, all in our Bench OJ! + Rajo denim! Styled with a lot of pieces from House of Laurel. RajoMan reprezint, y'all!


Mah gurlll (well, okay I barely spoke two words to her) Sarah Lahbati serving Park Avenue realness hahaha.


My personal highlight of that night! The G-Force Angels pulling out some Kazaky!


The model walk off! Sweet versus salty hahaha.


Preppy boys moving in on our glamazons.


Love the headpiece on Joey Mead!


The final crush!


The perfume models! Cough.


The Rajo Uno, Rajo Dos dance-off!


Rajo + the ANTM Girls in House of Laurel! Allison and Dominique! Shot next to Ben Chan and Georgina Wilson!

It was quite the show, definitely something different from the rest of the shows during Philippine Fashion Week. I was so impressed by how Saga Events (the company who staged it, led by my favorite RajoMan client Robby Carmona) stayed so true to Rajo's vision. I know understand why he loves working with him! They are pros! Imagine we had 6 celebrities, two-full on dance groups (All-Stars and G-Force), 20 models and two cheer dance groups. That's a heck of a lot of styling (pre-styling, sourcing and documenting to boot). We went with some losses but everything went without a hitch! Pretty proud of being a part of something in this magnitude.

I've been working with my boss on this project from the late part of 2011. From drawing up the mood boards, fabric inspirations, packaging details, tech sketches of the jeans themselves up until the finalized prototyping. It felt so surreal to walk into the Bench store (available right now! Jeans at 999 and the perfume at 400!) and to see the final product being sold. From form to mother-fuqin function y'all. I'm ecstatic. First stop Bench, next top H&M. KIDDING!

Well yeah, so much for that. For the most part, I am grateful that everything went according to plan and I can't wait to work on what's next. Right now, we're waiting on the final photos for our Transition 2012 collection. I'll talk about that as soon as I get the photos! The launch is already on the 16th! Apart from that, I know we've got at least three more big events lined up this year. I'll let you guys know.

On the fitness front! Between the last 8 weeks, I've somehow managed to lose something south of 10lbs. I kid you not. I've been keeping up with my workouts and my diet has been petering on normalcy for most of my days. The main difference is, as I mentioned last time, is that I've completely quit all liquid calories. AND also for the small fact that I am following the IF/Leangains clock of eating. Meaning I maintain a fasted state of 16 hours and keep all my meals with the window of 1pm to 9pm. I can definitely say it's working for me. I'm on a new 6 week challenge now and the goal is to lose another 5-10lbs. I've already lost 2lbs from the past two weeks so I'm hoping to keep this trend up. Wish me luck!

I guess that's it! Preview Ball this weekend! I think we're wearing the new collection so that should be easy and fun. The weekend after that is our Transition 2012 launch but I'll be all the way in Guangzhou, China sourcing for our Holiday collection. Busy busy times ahead. Cheers, y'all!

PHOTO CREDITS: Bench, Sandro Paredes and PinoyExchange.com! To view the show in its entirety, which I recommend, in full-on live action:

Horse.

Hush.

It's been a while dear lj! I haven't really gotten the will to update on here, but a lot has happened since the last entry. Nothing really major except(!) I just arrived from Singapore! More on that later though, for now a brief recap of life as I knew it, in pictures no less!


Me and my gorlsss at Toff de Venecia's #HipsummerOfLove party. Taken by otherjoseph. I'm so happy Alcine's home!


Spent Labor Day weekend at Tali beach with the family and these bitches visited me!


Anna, Karen, Toff and Raymond working our conyo radarrr.


Me and the inimitable mondang, apparently sunproof. Lol I stole all of these pictures from Toff's instagram feed!

At any rate, I just got back from Singapore! It was definitely one for the books. It wasn't a vacation really, it was actually quite a lot of work--I went with my old bosses Amina and Miguel Aranaz. They asked me if I would be interested to help them out for their first ever international trade fair. Look up Blueprint 2012. Of course for me, I saw this as a golden opportunity to get out there and see what it's like on the international fashion trade scene. And boy, was it an eye-opener. We interacted with buyers from such big institutions as ASOS, Lane Crawford and Harvey Nichols to small-independent concept boutiques all over Asia. It was really the most fascinating thing I've seen all year.


The final booth set up, we actually had one of the prettier set ups. Not bad for first timers. Powered by IKEA! Hahaha.

The actual trade fair was actually well-received, there was a lot of positive response from the people with the products: with this being the first time Aranaz had ever pushed the brand outside of the Philippines. Filipino Press people were there also; namely Daryl Chang of Preview, Suki Salvador of Mega and two others, documenting the vast extravaganza that was Singapore Audi Fashion Festival--Blueprint included.

I was super happy to do this project on my free time, I managed to produce their look book for them also (which as of the moment, cannot be released yet as it is pegged for Resort 2013--but you can see a sneak preview with the photos up on the walls of our booth) with my dream team of photographer BJ Pascual and stylist Anna Canlas! I found out that this really is one of my great loves, producing fully-realized images that can stand on its own. It was just like confluence, and I'm really happy with the end product.

Another highlight for me was meeting Timo Weiland. CFDA Fashion Incubator Program Awardee! It was so surreal to have met a legit New York designer, and the best part of all? Amina, Vania (Romoff--another Filipina designer who ventured to Blueprint) and I were able to get pieces from his Spring 2012 line! Practically straight off the runway. Officially speaking, I think this is the only time I'll be ever able to say that I'm wearing something that is documented on Style.com and is CURRENT SEASON. #SmallJoys right there.

Needless to say, I got a lot out of this experience. Not only in the sense that I was able to experience how things are really done internationally, but also I got a lot of insight on how the future could shape up for me. I learned so much on this trip and was able to interact with all sorts of design and manufacturing operations from all over the world. One thing I realized is that being a designer or a clothing retailer doesn't have to be the end all or be all of my journey. There are so many opportunities out there and I just have to decide where I want to take this.

A lot of things to think about right there, so people better stop giving me crap.

In other news, right now at homebase House of Laurel--we're busy prepping for the launch of our Transition 2012 collection. It's going to be called Spock & Saville. It stems from the duality of English tailoring and Space-inspired treatments and motifs. Pretty interesting actually, I'm excited for what we're going to be able to whip up. Stay tuned for that.

My boss though is launching something really big this weekend, we're right in the thick of making sure that everything pans out. It's going to be a good show, right at the end of Fashion Week. Let me know if you want to come watch! All for now.

P.S

Currently right smack in the middle of a 6 week NerdFitness challenge, and Singapore debauchery aside, I'm way on track! Haven't had a drop of anything that isn't water (except for tea!) for 20 days. Quite the achievement.
Duel

The wheat from the chaff.

Hello, hello! It's about time I wrote on here again! Just to update you, dear lj, on the story so far. It's been quite the ride--a few good things happened since then, a lot actually but some bad ones too. But I'm not one to dwell. One life to live, as I've learned to say--better believe it. Anyway--so last time I left you, we were on the cusp of shooting our next collection: Athletenique Spring/Summer 2012. It's been a long while since then, we've actually already released the collection and the reception was fantastic! Let me show you the invites we made for the launch:









You can view the entirety of the collection up on Rajolaurel.com. If I hadn't mentioned it before, the collection took inspiration from my boss' forever catch phrase "fitness is fashion." Mixed with the abstraction of ethnic print, it's basically an amalgamation of sportswear elements, brights and fabulous prints. We shot the collection with BJ Pascual, it was a very dynamic shoot and the end result was really something else. The collection is very on-trend and makes a lot of bang for your buck. Needless to say, we've had a really good month in terms of the reception of the clothes. Especially in terms of sales, editorially speaking--we've yet to see it shine. But all in all, we're really happy. Way to keep things on the up just like our Holiday 2011. Another great showing, if I do say so myself. Here's a summary of what went down:



In the same light, I got "promoted" to brand manager for the menswear line! Like us on Facebook! Needless to say, I'm more than happy that I got the position--I mean ever since the beginning, I've slanted my approach towards revitalizing the mens line. It's far from perfect (let me tell you) but I feel like we're taking the right steps towards a stronger brand that could possibly be at par with the robust womenswear lines. Long way to go but who knows. I'm pretty happy with what we pulled out for this season, Rajo Man's Athletenique showing has exceeded expectations. But in terms of design, I wish we could've pushed it further in some aspects. One thing I've learned in the past couple of months is that design isn't just about shape and fabrication (I mean, it's a huge part of it) but I think for me, we sometimes overlook the human dimension of the clothes. The form and function, in the most abstract sense. Something I could look into and develop in the creation of the next collection. Another challenge for the brand! We'll see where it goes.

I guess that's all for now. The past month has been a blur of preparations for the launch of the collection, right now I can officially say we did it! It's pretty exciting, the challenge now is to do it all over again for the next collection. Right now I'm busy with preparations for my boss' other collaborations, can't name them right now but I think he's in for a big 2012. It's looking to be exciting.

In terms of my personal 2012 goals, all of that has been put on hold for now. Which sucks. I need a break. Holy Week couldn't have come at a better time. Cheers!

P.S

Four for you Glenn Coco, and none for Gretchen Weiners. Bye!
Duel

The bund.

Halfway into February 2012 and how are we all doing? I'm fine, just fine! Let's see. A month and a half into the year and I can't say I'm making headway into my 2012 goals. SUCKS, inevitable and making any progress soon is highly improbable. Apart from my fitness goals (which I am steadily working on, although there still have yet to be significant breakthroughs), I have not taken any solid steps on improving my clothing construction skills, nor my lack of language skills. Time to do (do!) something!

Had a perfectly okay past month, work-wise--we have been steadily working on the Spring/Summer collection for House of Laurel. It is officially dubbed as "Atheletenique", it's a word play on athletic and ethnic. The inspiration is translated as the interplay between sportswear elements and the abstract moods of ethnic prints. It's going to be lighter, with an emphasis on movement this time around for the girls. For the boys, I worked on pushing a jacket story for Spring. And the kids, it's going to be a gorgeous color blocked collection, with a more rough and tumble approach but still keeping the princess aesthetic our clients love. Very exciting. I'll talk more about the collection once I have more tangible things to show.

Speaking of things to show, the shoot for the adult brands is already going to be this Tuesday. The pressure is mounting but I'm not too worried, these things have a way of working out especially because of the keen eye my boss brings. Styling is definitely key, it's going to be trickier this time around because I find our menswear pieces to be slanting a little bit more casual than the usual RajoMan mood. I'm going to have the nth run through tomorrow just to make sure I have a handle on things. Wish me luck.

At this point in the story, the look book shoot would be my favorite, and at the same time, most daunting part of the creation process. This, I feel, is the culmination of all the work we put in making a collection--the expression of your total vision and intent into a set of pictures. It should be strong enough to stand alone and communicate, and at the same time, look desirable and commercial. In short, it needs to be something you'd be proud of and that would represent the brand in all aspects. Hence the pressure, but I'm optimistic! We'll see where it goes. Last time for RajoMan, it was simpler because the pieces were show pieces at its heart and the pieces literally sung on its own. This time, we'll have to style everything right.

In the past month of January, I've been on a few trips. We went to Tali beach a couple of weeks back, for Chinese New Year I think it was. No interesting pictures to show though but it was fun spending time with the Borjas, as per usual. A week before that, we went to Shanghai for work. Shame on me (shaaame!) for stealing pictures from my boss' blog. He takes the best pictures ever, so what can I do? Haha amazing! Look on.


Started each day with empty trolleys in tow, outside our hotel in Renaissance Yuyuan Gardens. It was FREEZING. Got our thermals on.


Ven and Rajo, General Manager and Creative Director!


The week before Chinese New Year, in Shanghai no less.


Streetscape.




Super interesting boutique hotel we checked out, high concept indeed!

Shanghai was tiring and fun, to say the least. I'm much less enamored by the city than I was the first time around. It has its beauty though, as every city does (though I'm not sure most of the time where the beauty of Manila is) but I guess after Korea, it spoke to me less. Great finds though, but can't say I'm looking forward to the next trip back.

It's going to be an exciting year, someway, somehow I can tell. But things aren't concrete yet so I won't talk about it now hahaha. Wish me luck for our upcoming shoots! Cheers!
Godric

Over the top.

Year in review, 2011 year in review! These things just keep getting posted later and later, it seems. Last year's (read 2010's here) came out mid way through January, but better late than never right? I promise next year, it'll be sooner! On to the show.


Stolen from Glen ko_kak, from our trip to Korea. One of the highlights of this year, I have to say. Wrote a story about it here.

It's been a whirlwind of a year, is it too self-aggrandizing of me to say that each year just keeps getting better and better? I guess I'm just lucky--and self-aggrandizement is human nature, after all. I'm sure this is only the beginning though, because I'd like to see bigger and brighter things in the future.

Where to begin? Of course, the beginning of my 2011. The onset of the year had me unemployed, a gentleman of leisure if you will. Haha! I was fresh off my "forced" leave from my old job at Instituto Cervantes. Thanks to a little book, I had the revelation late in 2010 that I wanted to see if I could make it in the fashion industry. I thought to myself, I basically grew up with the stuff--my Mother used to cut clothes, my Grandmother STILL makes clothes so I went for it. The first three months of 2011 had me at my Lola's house, learning the basics of pattern-drafting.

To be honest, learning this stuff wasn't easy. Creating a fresh pattern based off of a set of measurements is no joke. And I wasn't the most diligent of apprentices, I spent half the day lazing around, but I still managed to get some work done. Halfway through everything, a number of fashion positions popped up online and so, I decided to apply. This is where the story takes a turn for the unexpected.

Well of course, most of you (read: no one really, I kid) who read this blog know that I worked for the bag brand Aranaz, as an intern. It was a marketing position, something that had nothing to do with cutting patterns or sewing clothes. And it was bags, handbags to be more specific, something which I knew nothing about. But I still wanted to give it a shot, and mostly, meet the designer hahaha. Somewhere, somehow after a couple of interviews, Amina took a chance on me and offered me the job. I remember telling myself at the time that, this, was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would be a fool to pass that up. And you know what, it's still one of the better highlights of my year!


Rosanna and Amina at the Aranaz Summer Trunk Show 2011. Read up on the story in this entry.

I was an intern there for no longer than a month and a half; I gained friends(!), I got insight into one of the leading Filipino brands in the country, but mostly, I learned a lot. The experience was invaluable and I'm still forever grateful to them for giving me the chance to work with them. It was a huge pleasure, even more-so in hindsight. If I hadn't received a certain call, I would've pursued a career as a brand-assistant for Aranaz up until this very day. But as the story goes, marketing really wasn't for me--and another opportunity opened up, right at the end of my internship.

So as it goes, I was lucky enough to land working with one of the best (if not, THE best) fashion designers in the country. You all know him by now, so yes--it was Rajo Laurel. Working for him in under less than a year, I've learned and have been able to accomplish so, so much. The daily experiences in and around the House of Laurel have taught me things that I wouldn't have been able to merely see, let alone imagine. Growing into this volatile business of fashion, of celebrities, of marketing/publishing, of clothes, of tailoring and fit--the education has been immensely exponential. And for that, I am extremely grateful to the powers that be for giving me this. As they say in Japan, sankyu! I kid.


Looks from our Transition 2011 collection, from the Rajito line. Pretty cute huh? Read up on it here.

In a nutshell, my time in HOL has been spent overseeing the various productions of our ready-to-wear line. For the most part, I deal with the menswear and the childrenswear. I feel proud to have been able to take part in two collections already (see the Russe! Holiday collection here and the Androgyny Transition collection here). I enjoyed every single minute of bringing the collection to life--from researching the mood board, to developing prototypes, to fabric hunting, to making swatches, to coordinating a look book shoot, looking for the photographer and models, going for accessories runs, to styling the actual shoot, to seeing the final images. It's its own universe, and I'm really so happy to be a part of it. Can't stop myself from saying it enough.


The team House of Laurel, as we appeared in Garage Magazine November 2011.

Speaking of self-aggrandizement, hahaha I'm not going to lie--I was really thrilled to be part of a feature like that. Prior to this year, I've never been featured in any publication--oh well, save for those rowing things that don't really count. I feel like I'm slowly starting to make waves in this industry, hopefully to build what I eventually want to be someday. But don't get me wrong, I'm not after fame or anything. I think... I just really want to make clothes someday. 2011 has been a good year for me, career-wise. It's actually been pretty ideal. From realizing what I wanted to do, to receiving an undeserved opportunity, to peaking to one of the best companies in the industry--I don't think I can ask for anything more. You've been good to me, 2011, I'm beyond thankful.


Christmas 2011!

In other 2011 news, this was the year I started living with my Lola, full-time, all the time. It's been pretty sweet, she takes care of me a lot and I'm really happy that I am able to keep her company at this stage in our lives. She's behind me 1000% and, the funny thing is, I have a difficult time keeping abreast of that fact. Most days are good, but some days can get really bad with me giving her a hard time. Like a spoiled brat, as they say, but I'm hoping to change all that in the coming year. I really love my Sylvia. INSERT SNIFF, ANYWAYYY--

Living in my Lola's house in Marikina has afforded me the luxury of having an easy gym to go to. My fitness journey in 2011 had been a craggy one, but a journey nonetheless. I can definitely say that right now, I'm at the top of my regimen. My lifts have nowhere been as high as right now, and I can definitely say I've gotten my running stamina back. In terms of the weight though, I'm still working on it. Three years working on it, you'll say, but I definitely think I've hit the nail on the head this time. Let's just see where I can take it!

In terms of trips, I had three the past year. One was Malaysia (entry here) with Alcine and her family! The next one was Shanghai (entry here) for sourcing for our Holiday collection, it was pretty intense. And then last, it was Korea in November as was mentioned. Korea was definitely something else, I plan on coming back sometime later this year in 2012.

In general, as I've outlined above, 2011 was really good to me. As if some kind of cherry on top to this whole year, I finally learned how to drive(!) can you believe that? No longer a slave to the availability of a driver, take that! Needless to say, I was really blessed wasn't I? Here's to making an even bigger 2012! More on that on the next entry, before the week ends, I promise!



So I leave you with a picture of my friends who I really, really MISS from 2011. A lot of us have moved on to bigger things (some bigger than others, AMIRITE JANINE OR AMIRITE???) or have left the country to figure out completely different lives. Let's make 2012 the year of us again, yeah? CALATAGAN or something! Cheers bebes, I'm off. Hope I didn't miss anything! Stay tuned for another entry from me this week!
Horse.

Lovey dovey.

Ho ho ho, it's been exactly one month since my last update! Behold, we're already in 2012! Happy New Year! Sorry for the lack of updates, I can't really say I've been busier or anything, it's just with 6 days of work in a week, you really don't get much time to sit down and write about things. Hahaha so much for that, I'm here now aren't I?

If I haven't already said it, I hope you guys had a fantastic holiday and an even bigger, brighter 2012 ahead. As for me, I spent the holidays with the Borjas! Wouldn't have wished for anything else. Christmas Eve at home in Marikina, Christmas Day in Antipolo for Dad's side then White Plains for all of the Borjas and then New Year's Eve at Palms. Pretty sweet.


Time for some overexposed pretty! HAHAHA.






Christmas day merienda with the Borjas, with the one and only Sylvia.






New Years Eve at Palms with the Borjas again, pretty fun.

At any rate, I had a really good Christmas this year! I can officially say that this was the first time I went out to get gifts--real gifts for my family. I guess thanks in large part to the fact that this is my first Christmas with a real job (lol because Instituto never really counted, am I right or amirite?). Among a host of random things, I was able to get Luna her first set of Rajito dresses! Ugh, it looked like such a dream on her! Two dresses from our recent Russe collection and a favorite from the past Androgyny collection. Doubt she'll get to wear them again though but this can only be the beginning! She looked so cute.

On to bigger things, 2012 needs to be a game-changer for me. If 2009 was my banner year in terms of college (rowing, fitness, friendships and general epicness), 2011 was pretty good for me in terms of career. I took the plunge and jumped into a field that I wouldn't have even considered months before. It's been pretty good, albeit it's turning a little stale only in terms of learning and new opportunities. But don't get me wrong, I'm thankful to be where I am now--it's pretty stable and it can get tough, but I just see so much room for improvement that I have to step up a bit, somehow. Right now I can say I feel like I'm covering all the bases in my life (well the bases that matter anyway) but at the same time, I can't say I'm excelling or making the most out of it. Things need to change. So with this in mind, I'm going to run down a few of my goals for the year 2012! /CHEESE BUT WHATEVA.

1. Expand clothing construction knowledge.

Out of all of my 2012 goals, this will prove to be the most challenging. If you can recall, I spent the first two months of 2011 intern-ing with my grandmother (the infamous Sylvia, for your information) who has been a custom dressmaker for the greater part of the last 50 years. It is under her tutelage that I learned how to sew, cut patterns and the general basics of clothing construction. To this day, I still feel like I owe my recent successes to her (in landing a job at the biggest atelier in the Philippines) because I don't think I would have even been considered had I not had those skills. Right now, if I had to peg it, I think I only 10% of what she knows--I definitely think she has a wealth of techniques yet to bequeath to me. It's some sort of untapped resource that I need to look into. Before I set plans for further education or whatever, I really think that learning what my Lola has to offer would give me a huge advantage in whichever direction I choose to take.

Anyway (history lesson over), clothing construction for me is really one of the more exciting things in the world of fashion. I love finding out how clothes are replicated, how fabric stands up and the tailoring of it all--it's something I'd really love to master. For me, I get excited over branding, full-blown fashion shows and all but really, the heart is in the making. As of this point, I've successfully drafted and sewn basic bodices and set sleeves in. I've made a few dresses using cotton and satin, a tweed jacket that totally needs a trip to the tailor but the most ambitious project I've done is a serpentina gown for my sister (shaped with a princess seam and a panelled hem) but it was all under strict supervision from my Lola. I didn't sew it though, it turned out pretty well.

So my main goal for this year is to basically learn more about menswear construction and hopefully be able to make a few things for myself and family. Concrete actions I can take is to spend more time in our production and to learn from our sewers at the store. To see the general shape of patterns and sewing techniques to piece them together. I am also equipped with more books (Basics in Menswear Patternmaking, A Complete Guide to Tailoring, Perfect Shirtmakers Guide etc.) so even on my own, I have all the resources to get things started. My ultimate goal for this year is to make a suit. No matter how crummy the sewing and the shaping is, I plan to give this a shot by the tail end of this year. In between now and then, I'm going to try to make a few cotton shirts and see if I can tailor them to perfection. Pretty exciting stuff, things I should be able to do with enough time and patience.

2. Strive for a fitter 2012.

Weight loss for me has been a tricky thing ever since after college. My all-time weight low was a staggering 193lbs during the height of my rowing career, 2009 to be exact. That was due to a lot of cardio both on the water and off. I would row 3-4 times a week early morning, run 2-3 times on off days, go to the gym for light weights 3 times a week and do the rowing machine at least twice a week. That's a lot of cardio, with no special diet to speak of, I still managed to lose the weight. Of course after college, I didn't have the luxury of time and training so I had to adjust my strategy by a bit (read: A LOT).

Post-college fitness was mostly comprised of heavy weights. From a career low of 193, I'm now at a staggering 220lbs of fat and muscle (lol trust me on this). I know it's both muscle and fat for two reasons, a) I still fit into most of my old clothes except it got a lot tighter on the arms and the chest area, b) my strength has shot up from a measly 50lbs + bar squat to a now whopping 270lbs + bar squat just yesterday. Honestly right now, I'm happy how I feel and how fit I am. Not only am I growing in terms of strength gains, I've mostly recouped (and surpassed, I hope) my old running stamina because I do a lot of speed work each and every workout.

The inherent problem now is basically diet. My goal weight is an optimal 180lbs of solid muscle, and hopefully minimal baby fat. My goal isn't to get ripped as fuq, I just want to lose all the round parts in my midsection (which is a lot, 40lbs of fat to speak of). In order to get there, I really just need to step it up in terms of the diet. I've said this innumerable times before on this journal but I'll say it again. I heard a recent adage about a solid weight loss plan, if you don't see any changes within 4 weeks--you're doing it wrong. And I know for the past 2 years, I think I've been doing it all wrong in terms of diet. It's the little concessions that get me from day to day. I need to attack each day like it counts. If I rally myself together, I think I can definitely do this.

3. Learn Korean.

As for my last and final goal, it's basically to learn Korean. Simple as that! I think this is the most doable in terms of goals, not really interested in going out for formal lessons but maybe with the help of the internet and the sheer amount of Korean pop culture I consume on a daily basis--this could be achievable.

I guess that's that! If I think of anything else I'll let you know but as of right now, I want my 2012 to shape up as a learning and betterment year for myself. I want to establish some sort of mastery for the skills that I will need in order to further my dream. To what dream that is, I can't answer it yet but I know that without the proper foundation, I don't think it'll be going anywhere, anytime soon.

I still owe you guys an epic year-ended post on my 2011, my annual year in review. It's been an awesome 2011 if I could say so myself, but it'll have to wait a week or two because tomorrow, the office is heading out to Shanghai for a buying trip again! Hope I don't freeze to death, wish me luck!