Fashion, probably more than any other industry, celebrates uniqueness. Along with its relentless desire for evolution, it is also sprouting out a new crop of talents into the scene. Paving their own paths, and in their own terms, they are driven to become the modern innovators of the industry. A brand new age of fashion is upon us, and it is as exciting as ever.
Highlighting individualism and artistry, this is a series where I talk to Filipino talents from the fashion scene today. Exploring it as both an industry and art form, we get to see it all through their own unique eyes. From inspirations to aspirations, Fashion Chika with… celebrates their devotion and craft—all fueled by their passion for fashion.
Jude Macasinag is the emerging fashion icon bringing the beauty and uniqueness of Filipino culture to the City of Love that is Paris.
After getting a scholarship at one of the world’s leading fashion schools in 2019, 22-year old Institut Français de la Mode student Jude Macasinag has since forged his own path onto the Paris scene. Combining surrealism with a dash of that innocent and wildly imaginative naïveté of a child, his singular and eccentric vision is what fashion craves for right now.
What or who got you into having a passion for fashion?
My background is probably the most cliché. It has always been an interest with me ever since I was young. My mother gave me pencil and paper when I was around three years old to keep me occupied. And those doodles I made just turned into drawings of people in clothing.
Fashion was something that was very alien to my family growing up. I didn’t have a mother who would wear her pearls or put lipstick on everyday. In fact she always wore whatever goes. So I’m not sure where I picked up the idea of fashion and clothing from.
Who are your inspirations—both in life and in fashion?
The most striking inspirations for me come from anywhere. Whether it’s a grand staging of something or a tiny detail I saw on the street. I try not to be specific of where I get inspired from and be open to several possibilities. I do however try to maintain my personal universe and design identity. And these come from influences from my childhood in the Philippines, to the daily culture that I witness in France.
Is there a moment when you told yourself “Okay, it’s time to pursue fashion design”?
I think I was right when I told myself that I wanted to study fashion—specifically in Paris. But that didn’t really feel feasible due to lack of resources especially.
During highschool, I would spend my weekends studying at Slim’s Fashion and Arts School in Makati. And somehow right before entering college, I randomly sent applications abroad and got accepted to a school in Paris. In the end I transferred to another school in 2019, at the Institut Français de la Mode (formerly the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale Parisienne) which has been my dream school since I was around fourteen.
As an avid fan of Macasinag’s work for quite some time now, it’s truly amazing seeing him bring everything in his vision to life. He is rich in creativity and a young master in filtering references into his inventive sieve. Think of him as the somewhat fashion equivalent of Federico Fellini, post-8½, where everything he creates is just so outlandishly beautiful, vibrant and unique.
“MANIFESTO”, your graduate collection, has so many complexities in it, both visually and metaphorically. Can you reveal your thought process and any of your influences in creating this collection?
It talks more about how we, as creatives, draw from our own influences to create a visual language. Since our personal influences are often a hotpot of several references and ideas, there’s no one specific process nor influence for this collection.
Macasinag was so kind to send the book of MANIFESTO for this piece. From a declaration of one’s own creative perspective, to an education for all to understand the unique lexicon and foundation of the young designer, the collection taps into the human psyche in order to tell our stories to world—through fashion.
From Jude Macasinag’s look book for MANIFESTO
MANIFESTO is a rich culmination of fashion, art and culture, as seen through the inspiring vision of Macasinag. A visual orgy and an electrifying feast for the eyes, the 8-piece collection is unrestrained and efficient in its delivery of presentation and story. If there’s one thing that MANIFESTO says about the universe of Jude Macasinag, it is limitless.
Macasinag’s impressive designs have been recognized by a lot of people, especially on social media. But not only that, his works have also been acknowledged and worn by some of the country’s most famous women.
As a Filipino in Paris, what does it mean for you personally to share your culture to the world beyond the Philippines? Do you feel any pressures and responsibilities in somewhat carrying a torch for the country?
Of course it’s exciting to be able to talk about one’s culture to the world, but I personally don’t see myself as something sort of an ambassador like that. What’s important for me is to not see Philippine culture as an “other” or to put it in a glass box for others to gaze at. Doing that would make Philippine culture this object of curiosity rather than something relevant. I would rather let certain “Philippine” ideologies and ideas on our tangible heritage seep into daily culture. It’s more universal like that.
With everything that you have learned throughout your successful bachelor program at IFM, what is a tip that you can give to anyone that wants to go into a fashion school?
Stop buying Zara.
Kidding aside, the keyword is identity. Fashion schools choose not just for one’s technical quality, but also on how different you are from others. Anybody can sew, but not everyone can make clothes in a different perspective.
But still—stop buying Zara, and start thrifting.
After your life-defining run at IFM, and now going into your masters’ soon, what’s next for Jude Macasinag?
The MA program is still something unsure despite being accepted, since once again I don’t really have much resources for it. Assuming that does push through, that’ll be two years of honing my own visual language. I plan to work in studios for about five to ten years to gain more experience and to expand my network. But I also want to maintain the made-to-order business I’ve already started in the Philippines since 2016.
Art is at its deepest when one’s own, personal subjectivity is molded by it. In Jude Macasinag’s case, he exemplifies that through his next-level fashion designs. Both inspired and inspiring, he is on his way to become one of this generation’s leading fashion visionaries.
A fourth-year fine arts college student in the University of Santo Tomas, majoring in advertising. Nathan usually does extensive research on fashion and runway history, film, music and pop culture, with a strong eagerness to learn more.