This fashion designer believes delivering quality work produces its own press
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.