A red asymmetrical-band coat and inner dress with an origami-like draped bottom sent spines tingling when it first came out on the runway at the Aldaba Hall of the University of the Philippines last October. The piece was from RJ Santos’ graduation collection.
Santos belongs to UP’s next batch of Clothing Technology Graduates for April 2013. I heard that he got 1.0 for his collection. Definitely, he’s one of the young designers we should watch out for!
“Sweet” comes to mind when you see his collection, but you need to look closely, because he is not just a master of fabric manipulation, but also a storyteller.
He called his collection “Lo.Ath.Ve.” It’s a story of abuse and battles within us and in others. “I drew inspiration from abuse. Abuse from a lover, friend, family member, and even oneself,” said Santos.
It gives us something to reflect on, and not just to appreciate the clothes he designed for his first collection. “I used this as inspiration because I’ve always been fascinated with the human mind—how it thinks, perceives certain ideas, and how it reacts. I like translating abstract things… into my own interpretation.”
Seeing the craftsmanship, you wouldn’t think RJ is still in school. His treatment is quirky, maximalist. The pieces are well-made and well-thought out. He even designed his own prints for his first collection.
The green tortoise halter dress has images of guns and lip prints that are very easy on the eyes.
The long white dress, with digital prints of lips, sunflowers and drippings of blood, is alternative wear, even at formal events.
The bleached, splattered maxi skirt with leather upholstered dark brown vest is innovative; he maximized the use of leather and manipulated the color of the skirt. The prints and fabrics that he managed to create make me wonder what else this boy wonder can do.