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Fashion Chika with… Nicolò Perez!

Fashion Chika with… Nicolò Perez!

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. 

Nicolò Perez’s playfully modern and edgy take on fashion makes him one of the most exciting designers in the local scene right now.

Nicolò Perez is the 26-year old Filipino designer and mastermind of his eponymous fashion label based in the Philippines. Since 2018, Perez and his team have been recontextualizing streetwear in their own unique perspective. Their goal is to create clothes executed with clean and sharp construction that not only makes the wearer look good, but also feel good.

What or who got you into having a passion for fashion?

I was just really naturally inclined into fashion as a child. I remember before when I was left alone with the television, I would always switch it to Fashion TV and be so amused by everything I saw there. This interest led me to already make a lot of fashion sketches from a young age.

Another factor that really solidified my love for fashion was when I was in high school, around 2009. During that time, I got exposed to Lady Gaga and Alexander McQueen. I would say they were the first people I looked up to in fashion. 

Is there a moment when you told yourself “Okay, it’s time to pursue fashion design”?

I don’t think there’s a specific moment. But towards the end of college, I had to think already about what I was going to do after graduation. So I decided to finally pursue fashion.

At the time, I was taking up psychology because my parents wanted me to become a doctor. But on the side, I was doing production work for theater, as well as taking a class on costume design. I didn’t really want to pursue medicine. So being involved in these creative outlets motivated me to go for what I really want to do, which is fashion. 

During my first greetings to Perez, I have indicated to him that the designs of Nicolò looks reminiscent of many things from the past. Stanley Kubrick’s obsessive practice of precision with his films first came to mind—especially 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey—exemplified with the sharp tailoring of his works. And then with the structures and silhouettes, it reminded me of those early 2000’s Stella McCartney and Ghesquière’s Balenciaga collections. So innovative with streetwear, and overflowing with so much creativity and joy.

With your brand Nicolò, for me personally, I see so many references in the designs. There’s a sharp and precise fusion of art from the past and modernity, both technically and metaphorically—all done with a great sense of ease and playfulness. Can you take me into your thought process when coming up with a look or a whole collection?

In terms of my process, I start with gathering images of things that inspire me at the moment. From these, I then come up with a concept for a collection.

When designing, I get elements from multiple references and mix them together to create a look. Sometimes, it’s also the fabrics that inspire me. I sketch out the looks and do a full render of the final ones so I can already visualize the full collection clearly.

Another key factor for my design process is balance. With it, I try to make sure there’s always a balance in terms of the silhouettes, the colors, and the materials in the collection as a whole. During the sample making process, the designs still evolve—and sometimes, new inspirations even arrive. 

Throughout your career as an established Filipino designer with your own brand, what’s the best advice that you can give to anyone that wants to pursue fashion design?

I wouldn’t say I’m very established already. I think my brand is still at the beginning stages. I’m still learning a lot, but based on my experience so far, my advice is for them to believe in their creativity and find their individual voice. The industry is already so saturated and there’s a need to slow down. So my main advice would be to really try to design products that are worthwhile. 

And Perez definitely practices what he preaches. Notable names in the country such as James Reid and Pia Wurtzbach have heard his unique voice in fashion, and from it, have worn his cutting-edge pieces!

And for the final question, what’s next for Nicolò Perez?

Next month, I’m going to be releasing my next collection as well as be participating in my first fair/pop-up. I’m also looking to expand the team and open a showroom to let people look at the clothes and try them on. I’m planning to build a workshop to streamline our production. One of my main goals for the brand is to create quality products—so I want the production to be in-house to ensure this. 

Nicolò Perez’s namesake brand is a strong indication of the great future for the industry in both the local and international scenes. It is thoughtful with its designs and careful with its creations. Nicolò not only showcases Perez’s amazing abilities as a designer, but also reveals his devotion to fashion. And that is a recipe for success.

To see more of Perez’s works and upcoming projects, you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram. You can also learn more about Nicolò and buy its stellar pieces on the brand’s official website here!

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