I recently met Charles Cua [women’s designer] and Melchor Guinto [men’s designer] at the S|S 2015 LA Fashion Market SELECT Contemporary Trade Show as they were a new addition to this curated show. These two up and coming designers, who presented a bold and progressive look, were featured in the SELECT Runway Show and in Malaysia’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week [to name a few], are finding their path of ‘exposure’. Guinto/Cua are based in Singapore so the designs are being conceptualized and influenced by the Singapore cityscape. Their brand, Azur Lapis Lazuli, is being handled by A-Ware Trading which is based in Manila, Philippines where their production is.
Here is some interesting insight into our exchange:
EDGE recognizes the difficulty for emerging designers to get exposed. I see that word of mouth, participating in fashion shows, and some retail exposure in the Philippines is working for you. Congratulations! You have significant presence in the Asian Fashion Week events and other local Asia markets. You most recently were in the Select Contemporary trade and fashion show organized by the International Fashion Tour in California Market Center for Los Angeles Fashion Week.
RPHill: Of your choices of how you expose your brand, which do you prefer?
Guinto/Cua: Social Media and Mainstream media with little shell out of capitalization but by reputation of the brand and designer, clients would contact Azur Lapis Lazuli.
RPHill: What is it about your collection that sets you apart from other brands?
Guinto/Cua: Azur Lapis Lazuli specializes in tailored sophisticated pieces with some touches and details of quirkiness without looking amateur, handicraft or ethnic.
RPHill: What are some of the difficulties or challenges in today’s role of a fashion designer and how do you find ways to overcome them?
Guinto/Cua: Being able to connect with serious buyers would be a challenge but by being proactive in searching for the right customers is a way to overcome such problems. Having a permanent strategic location showcasing products and attending to such customers would be another way to overcome vacancies.
RPHill: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Guinto/Cua: Melchor Guinto’s believes that sustainability is key to being a responsible fashion designer. He believes in using skilled workers that are being paid reasonably and using materials in the best way possible combining design aesthetics with responsible usage of materials to reduce wastage and at the same time maximizing the properties of materials through cuttings and placements.
RPHill: Share a business tip with the readers that has served you well.
Guinto/Cua: It is important for designers to treat its clients with utmost respect and attention because the clients are there to collaborate with the designer in what they want to wear and the designer is there to give suggestions and provide with his expert opinion to create a piece of art and garment that the client can treasure and use at the same time.
EDGE congratulates you, Melchor Guinto and Charles Cua, on your journey so far and extends with warm wishes for the future!
Images from their Look Book, Photographer MJ Suayan