SILENT WORKER

This fash­ion de­signer be­lieves de­liv­er­ing qual­ity work pro­duces its own press

Northern Living - - SPACE - TEXT KARLA MAQUIL­ING PHO­TOG­RA­PHY JOSEPH PAS­CUAL

In the cut­throat fash­ion in­dus­try where the pres­sure to top one’s last col­lec­tion hangs over ev­ery de­signer’s head like Damo­cles’ sword, fash­ion de­signer Ziggy Savella is qui­etly making a name for him­self with func­tional, prac­ti­cal menswear pieces.

Over the last three years, he has dis­tanced him­self from the runway, caus­ing ob­servers to be­lieve he had got­ten tired of it all. “I wasn’t really gone,” he says. He merely took the time to fig­ure out which di­rec­tion to take his ca­reer and where to build his workspace. Now six years on his own and with very lit­tle so­cial me­dia buzz or public­ity, Savella en­ter­tains clients in his quiet and com­fort­able work­shop in an unas­sum­ing Que­zon City neigh­bor­hood. Here, loyal cus­tomers come to have their suits made, happy to spread the word about him on Face­book and In­sta­gram. Not one to self-pro­mote, he says, “I be­lieve that if you pro­duce good work, peo­ple will rave about you.”

A graduate of fash­ion de­sign and mer­chan­dis­ing from the De La Salle-Col­lege of St. Be­nilde, Savella found him­self drawn to menswear “be­cause I wanted to cre­ate clothes that I can wear.”

It’s the same no-non­sense at­ti­tude that he brings to his work ta­ble. Prac­ti­cal and time­less, his col­lec­tions in­clude pieces that any­one from the 8-to-5 of­fice worker to the bank teller to the me­dia ex­ec­u­tive can wear. “I want my clothes to be down-to-earth and re­lat­able; they’re not sup­posed to shock peo­ple. I want them to see that my clothes make for good in­vest­ments.”

De­sign­ing for the fa­mil­iar may be lim­it­ing for some, but not for Savella. “The big­gest chal­lenge for menswear would be to rein­vent what is al­ready there, by adding sub­tle de­tails with­out over­pow­er­ing the whole look.” At the Manila Fash­ion Fes­ti­val, where he launched his come­back with a loungewear col­lec­tion in­spired by “adap­tive cloth­ing”—cloth­ing meant for peo­ple with spe­cial needs—he ap­plied this phi­los­o­phy by reinventing sleep­wear but still keep­ing it prac­ti­cal and wear­able. The col­lec­tion was in­spired by his late grand­mother, a home eco­nomics teacher who had taught him the value of dis­ci­pline as well as es­sen­tial sewing tech­niques.

How soon we’ll see a new col­lec­tion from Savella will all de­pend on how in­spired he is to cre­ate an­other line. “It really de­pends on my mood. I don’t want to release ev­ery­thing for the sake of re­leas­ing. It might take me three months or three years. It all de­pends on how in­spired I am.”

For now, he likes to stay off the radar and keep him­self busy with work, “more than 70 per­cent of which is fun,” he says. “You do get those crazy mo­ments, but I al­ways tell my­self to al­ways de­liver, and to de­liver good. If peo­ple want to talk about me, it has to be on a pos­i­tive note.”

Dark interiors lead to de­signer Ziggy Savella’s workspace, where he pon­ders the mod­ern state of mas­culin­ity.

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