A young Filipino in New York has achieved one thing other fashion designers can only dream about: a feature in Vogue.
Betina Ocampo, 24, who designs her brand of embellished T-shirts called Betina, has landed a feature in the October 2013 issue of American Vogue (Sandra Bullock on the cover), in a story titled “The Future of Fashion: The 11 Designers You Need to Know Now.” (She came out twice in October.)
Ocampo had interned in Vogue as a freshman at Parsons. But it wasn’t her Vogue friends that got her the coverage.
“Ironically I did not land the feature through them,” Ocampo tells Lifestyle. “I e-mailed Virginia Smith and she agreed to see my line.” Smith is Vogue’s fashion market and accessories director.
“Vogue has always been very supportive of my brand in more ways than just a feature.”
The article describes the Betina line as “sourced in the Philippines from small-village costume makers and stitched by nuns in a remote province,” and Ocampo tips her designer hat to the Filipino craftsmen behind her work.
“I definitely feel the advantage of having the resources I have in the Philippines, the craftsmen and artisans I work with are all very accessible,” she says. “Opportunities in Asia such as meeting all sorts of creative talents are endless. I get to live the best of both opposite worlds but the communication, time management (time zones), travel logistics can become very tricky. I do most of my sales and marketing in New York but the design process, product development and sourcing require constant travel to HK/China, rural areas in the Philippines and now India.”
Betina is available in the upscale department store Barneys New York.
Ocampo—whose mother is Celestina designer Tina Ocampo, who has incidentally also been featured in Vogue—mentions the challenges of living in New York while having her products made in Asia. “It is very difficult to visually communicate my designs or manage a company while I am in New York, but at the same time it is very important to be here for sales, marketing, research. It is an endless cycle that requires a lot of travel, and constant communication. I am still a small company so I have to be involved in every minute aspect of my business. It is a very exciting time.”
A recent graduate of Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, she plans to put Betina in more stores around the globe.
“Usually, it takes a very sophisticated woman to appreciate the handmade aesthetic. Most of the pieces are heavy on dimension, [there’s] intricate embroidery/embellishment,” she says.
“However, I am trying to capture a younger market by keeping my designs relevant to our youth culture, breaking away from the fast-fashion movement that consumes our generation. I want more of my friends to find beauty in pieces that are meaningful. For the next few seasons, I am focusing on collaborations with different designers, artists of different mediums.”