As the LOOK of Style Awards finalists were busy setting up their entries, jewelry designer Micki Olaguer was quietly seated, waiting for her turn to present her creations to the panel of judges.
Her jewelry pieces, inspired by gold mining in the Philippines, are made of hand-cut mother-of-pearl, set in pure silver and dipped in 24-karat rose gold.
“It is an homage to the Filipino gold miner,” she said. “An homage to the fears and hardships they face to make a living.”
It was no surprise that her entry struck a chord, establishing her as someone to watch out for in jewelry design. She emerged as winner in the Accessories Design category of the 2016 LOOK of Style Awards held at the Samsung Hall of SM Aura. She received a three-week study grant at Istituto Marangoni’s London campus.
This industrial design graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman has long been in love with jewelry design. With a mother who is a jeweler, she was exposed to the craft at a young age.
“Designing jewelry allows me to use my education to make beautiful, lasting pieces that can be worn for generations,” she said.
Today, London has a special place in her heart. Earlier this year, before the LOOK of Style Awards’ call for entries, with the help of Citem (Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions), she was in the British capital for three weeks to represent the country at the International Fashion Showcase, which has become an avenue for up-and-coming designers to showcase their works.
As LOOK winner, she won a stint yet again in London. This time she took up Fashion Business at Istituto Marangoni. “I hope to use what I’ve learned to build a strong foundation for my brand,” she said, “and to eventually make it grow into a lasting business that uplifts the local jewelry industry.”
At Istituto Marangoni, Olaguer got an overview of the global luxury fashion market, learning the basics of branding, planning a promotional calendar, staging a fashion show and even writing press releases. She visited luxury stores like Dover Street Market and Liberty London, viewed design exhibitions, and visited museums.
Photography Kenneth Tangonan
Styling Luis Carlo San Juan
Makeup Mark Qua for Laura Mercier
Hairstyle Mong Amado
Model Alaiza Malinao