5 Key Things Every Emerging Designer Must Learn

5 Key Things Every Emerging Designer Must Learn


With the annual Style Fest PH fast approaching, we get an insider’s look at the designer mentorship program that eight local emerging designers undertook before they showcase their collection next week.

Born with a mission to bring fashion and business together, Style Fest PH is a platform with unmatched opportunities for interaction where local designers, style icons, and young content creators can showcase their craft. And staying true to its primary mission, the two-year-old fashion festival will culminate with a 3-day expo featuring headliners generated by its program pillars this year. From trend talk by Fashion Snoops, runway shows of established local designers, designer mentorship program, to an exclusive shopping party, it definitely looks like Style Fest PH is the perfect place for all style savants to go to.

But setting aside all the glitz and glam of the fashion rendezvous, what really made us ecstatic is how the the style council—namely Inno Sotto, Carl Jan Cruz, Zalora’s Co-Founder and CEO Paulo Campos, 0917 Head Leah De Guzman, and fashion stylist Sidney Yap—is doing its part to pass on the knowledge and wisdom to the next generation. Recently, MEGA got a glimpse of how the designer mentorship program has helped various young designers.

Carl Jan Cruz

“It’s quite an interesting point right now,” designer Carl Jan Cruz openly shares on being one of the mentors. “I feel that everyone is emerging, so it’s just really nice to open up and have a dialogue amongst each other in terms of the challenges, inspirations, and even ideas on everyone’s point of view.” By doing so, Carl Jan Cruz believes that all the collaborative efforts of both emerging and established designers are creating an excellent means of making fashion more inter-generational. “Knowledge gets more and more refined as things are communicated. So, everyone’s learning something from each other, because exchanging POVs strengthens that more,” he explains.

Style Fest PH Finalists

From this progressive conversation, we also got five key takeaways from the designer mentorship program. Here are five things we believe every young designer must possess in order to be chart success and thrive in the cut-throat industry of fashion.

The Art Of Listening

Adrian Sahagun

“It’s to actually be able to listen,” one of Style Fest PH’s finalist and former MEGA Young Designer’s Competition finalist Adrian Sahagun says. “There’s a tendency for designers to say, ‘I’m in control.’ But, there’s another point of view—which is from the mentors.”

So, when Adrian got feedback that he needs to add more to what he initially presented, he had two questions in mind: Should he listen to them or should he listen to his gut instinct? “But even if it’s not my comfort zone, I still followed them. And they were right, kasi ‘yung kinalabasan mas maganda,” he shares.

Deliver On Time

Another key aspect to consider when you’re a designer, especially if you’re still starting, is to deliver the output on time. “Because in the business of fashion, it is one of the major things that we have to provide: the time frame,” Adrian explains.

By having that work ethic, he was actually able to finish his collections a bit early. “I’m glad to say na parang three pieces na lang… buo na [ang collection ko]. So, since I still have two weeks left before my show, I still have a lot of time to edit, and make sure everything’s perfect.”


As you already have a specific time frame to follow, now you know why it’s critical to allow ample time to edit your work. According to Ia Coca, another Style Fest PH finalist who’s based in Cebu, “Editing is important, especially if you’re still a young designer. [Because] you’re still enthusiastic and you get a lot of ideas.”

And the reason he understood the importance of editing is because he also shared the same struggle when he was conceptualizing his collection. “For example, Inno Sotto taught me to funnel all my ideas into a cohesive one,” Ia shares. So, Inno suggested told him not to put all his ideas into one. “You just choose one, stick to it, and refine it.”

The Business Of Fashion

In every business, we want to capture all types of customers. However, it’s not always the case. That’s why Ia Coca learned the significance of knowing your market. “From the Zalora team, I’ve learned the elements of what’s going to sell in the market for a particular age group,” he explained.

That’s why for his collection, he realized that his target audience is really the older generation because of his design aesthetic and inspiration. Hence, the Titas of Manila became his target market.

Don’t Be Afraid To Explore

While there’s so much risk involved when trying out new things, Ia Coca learned not to fear exploring new waters. “Don’t be afraid to explore,” he reiterates. “It’s my first time to engage with Manila designers, so I really get starstruck with their designs and how free they are [when designing]. And I feel like coming from Cebu I’ve been in a cage of what works and what doesn’t.” Although that may be, he explained that Style Fest was the best avenue and time for him to venture into somewhere else.

StyleFestPH is a platform created by Globe Telecom’s lifestyle brand, 0917 Lifestyle, together with the country’s premier event agency, SAGA Events. It will happen at the Grand Hyatt Manila (BGC) this November 4 to 6, 2019.

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