As he prepares for his debut solo fashion show, Gian Romano juggles photo shoots, makeup and hair tests and production meetings alongside teaching classes at the School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA) in Makati as well as out-of-town trips, including a quick weekend getaway to Oslob, Cebu.
“Those are my most cherished moments, when I have the luxury of not doing anything,” he says.
Gian recalls how his partner found it baffling, that amid all the work he’s been doing, he had the energy to run off to the water slides on the other side of the island, a few hours after they landed in Cebu. He says it was necessary to keep him sane.
“While I was in Cebu, Bubbles [Aguilar, who is in charge of marketing for his show] was messaging me, and Ariel [Lozada] was calling me… Being out of town meant I had reasons not to answer,” he recounts with a laugh.
“I’m not an in-your-face designer who likes to be everywhere,” he points out. “I don’t like to be in front of the camera (though lately, I haven’t had much of a choice). For me, it should always be about the work and not the person.”
Much as he wants to just let the show speak for itself, Gian feels grateful that the people behind it are longtime friends: Hinge Inquirer group publisher Bea Ledesma, Inquirer RED editor in chief Ria Prieto, and fashion director Ariel Lozada. “It’s easier working with people who truly know and understand you,” Gian says.
The 33-year-old designer reveals that he’s picky with his clients. “I find it hard to trust strangers nowadays,” he says, adding that his customers are mostly referrals from friends.
“I think I have low EQ. I can’t deal with many people all at one time,” he confesses. But this attitude, he adds, has changed over the years; it has even enhanced his designs.
His women’s silhouettes have transformed from hard-edged to soft, and his men’s wear designs now explore a bit of folklore.
Lozada says, “Gian decided to create a movement, [although primarily] confined to his workshop, to focus on this aspect of silhouette, form and shape of Filipino tribes, but not necessarily with a literal interpretation.” The director wishes Gian to continue to explore the endless possibilities of Filipino elements, as well as its influences.
In Ariel’s opinion, fashion in the last 10 years had no clear direction: “I really think that tapping the DNA of Filipino artists in the design department will give us a more solid sense of identity.”
Gian may hate the limelight, but is nevertheless looking forward to express his art to a wider audience. Having the audience react to his creations is what he’s most excited about.
The Inquirer RED x Gian Romano fashion show will be held Nov. 24 at the Samsung Hall in SM Aura, Bonifacio Global City.