Jude Macasinag Celebrates His Queer Identity in His New Collection

Jude Macasinag Celebrates His Queer Identity in His New Collection


Jude Macasinag introspects his queerness through cultural influences in an exclusive exploration with MEGA. How do Macasinag’s bold designs inspire a new era of queer representation?

Jude Macasinag found himself thrust into the spotlight in more ways than one. With the bustling backstage chaos, a calm excitement rippled through the air as whispers spread of two distinguished guests making their way toward the designer‘s collection. LVMH CEO Sidney Toledano and the First Lady of France, Brigitte Macron, were about to step into his world of “Haute Queer-ture”.

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The First Lady sparkled with curiosity as she admired Jude’s finale piece, a ballgown crafted by the Italian denim manufacturer, Project Officina Creative. “It took about eight or nine treatments to get the fabrication to its current state, which fascinated Madame Macron,” Jude explains. Meanwhile, Mr. Toledano’s keen eye for detail didn’t go unnoticed as he inquired about the production time of the piece and weighed the gown in his hands, remarking on its resemblance to the iconic work of John Galliano at Dior. It was a moment of recognition, a nod to Jude’s talent and creativity from one industry titan to another.

Haute Queer-ture

“It was, of course, a privilege to be able to share the room with people who are influential not just in fashion but also in France,” the designer reflects, in that moment, surrounded by the buzz of excitement and the glow of admiration, filling himself with gratitude. Macasinag had taken a leap of faith and emerged triumphant, his vision celebrated by the highest echelons of the fashion world.

From Memory to Runway

Memories linger like whispered echoes, mingling with the feel of the fabric and the soft rustle of paper patterns. Here, with the bolts of cloth and scattered sketches, Macasinag delves into the heart of his inspiration with delicate precision.

“One of the initial ideas for the collection roots from self-introspection,” he shares, drawing inward as he recounts the tender noise of his childhood. In the recesses of his mind, he retraces the steps of a young boy navigating the maze of identity in a world colored by societal expectations and cultural norms. He transports us back to a time when dressing flamboyantly and moving effeminately felt as natural as the rhythm of his own heartbeat.

Haute Queer-ture

“But growing up in the Philippines, it was always a matter of having to shadow my true self in order to conform to the society around me,” the designer continues, his words weighted with the burden of conformity. Amidst the darkness, a flicker of defiance ignites, a spark of creativity that refuses to be extinguished. It was a spark, to pierce the dark. “Haute Queer-ture” was his rebellion.

Taking cues from his upbringing, Macasinag infuses his collection with elements that speak to the soul of queer individuals in the Philippines. “One of the more noticeable elements is the Sparrow kumot floral print,” Jude reveals. It was a blanket alight with nostalgia, shared through comfort. “I also represent the Philippines’ apparent fanaticism towards pageantry.” With deft precision, he employs the technique of trompe-l’œil, superimposing a pageant sash onto a modified Bar Jacket.

Haute Queer-ture

Machismo No More

Macasinag delves deeper, exploring the nuances of identity through the politics of fiber and thread. “I looked into the archetype of the Barong, the traditional men’s shirt,” he explains with a hint of defiance. In the delicate folds of this garment, he finds echoes of a society steeped in machismo and conservatism, a world where queer individuals are often marginalized and persecuted.

In a bold act of rebellion, the designer appropriates this emblem of oppression. “Appropriating this article of clothing into a form that conforms to the drag process of reshaping the silhouette of the body is, quite frankly, a queering of the artisanal.” he declares.  It is a defiant act of reclaiming agency, a celebration of queerness in all its myriad forms.

His reverence for the creative process is palpable as his admiration for the work of young Filipino queer individuals like photographer Ricardo Yan shines through. “Ricardo’s photography captures the raw energy of Manila’s underground nightlife scene,” the designer reflects. He believes this method of creative documentation will prove strong in the telling of our queer history in the Philippines in the future.

Haute Queer-ture

Beauty in the Bin

In the designer’s collection, ordinary materials find themselves reimagined and repurposed, transforming into works of art that challenge perceptions and redefine boundaries. “I honestly did not find the usage of ‘trash materials’ like broken beer bottles to be unconventional,” Macasinag admits, going through preconceived notions of beauty and worth. In the dance of creation, he sees beauty whereas others see only waste. 

The journey begins with a piece of jewelry from his previous collection, a relic of beauty reclaimed from the detritus of everyday life. In collaboration with the Italian embroidery firm Rilievi, this humble artifact is reborn as a surface design for an evening gown, its shattered fragments transformed into opulence.

“Transgression can even come in the form of just being yourself.”

Jude Macasinag

For the fashion designer, sustainability is more than just a buzzword—it is a guiding principle that informs every aspect of his work. “The form of sustainability that I believe in is through the collaboration of artisanship,” he explains. In partnership with weavers Arlyne and Alan Tumbokon of La Herminia Weaving, he breathes new life into ancient techniques, weaving piña sinuksuk with human hair in the form of his logo, the Sunburst.

Haute Queer-ture

Each strand is painstakingly inserted by hand, a labor of love that speaks to the intimate connection between artist and medium. “The integration of human hair onto traditional materials and processes was something suggestive of a forbidden intimacy and eroticism,” the designer states.

Thread, Thought, and Tightrope

Recognizing the limitations of his craft in effecting immediate change, he acknowledges the performative nature of fashion as both a constraint and an opportunity for social commentary “Fashion itself is a performative field.” He understands that while clothes alone may not save lives, they possess a unique ability to communicate ideas and provoke thought.

In his designs, Macasinag seeks to amplify the voices of marginalized communities. Yet, for him, activism through design is not confined to overt symbolism or slogan-laden garments. It is a deeply personal journey of self-expression and authenticity, where the act of being oneself becomes a radical act of defiance. “Transgression can even come in the form of just being yourself,” the designer says.

Haute Queer-ture

As he walks the tightrope between artistic expression and social advocacy, the designer remains steadfast in his commitment to responsibility. He understands that while fashion may offer a platform for change, it also carries a weighty burden of accountability. With each creation, he strives to uplift and empower, using his artistry to shine a spotlight on the issues that matter most.

A Haute Rebellion

As Macasinag casts his gaze towards the horizon, he envisions a future where “Haute Queer-ture” serves as a beacon of celebration and empowerment for queer individuals everywhere. With a heart brimming with hope and determination, he shares his aspirations for the impact of his collection and the broader landscape of queer representation in the fashion industry.

“My aim for this collection is to celebrate the queer identity through a personal lens,” he declares. But his vision extends far beyond the confines of his runway. He dreams of a world where queerness is not merely tolerated, but embraced as an integral part of the societal fabric. “I can only hope that more people partake in the much-needed representation,” Macasinag muses, acknowledging no two journeys are alike.

Haute Queer-ture

While his tone resolute yet hopeful, he recognizes the challenges that lie ahead—more laws to be passed, more mindsets to be shifted—but he refuses to be deterred. For him, every step forward is a victory, every voice raised in solidarity a testament to the power of change.

As he stands on the threshold of a new era in fashion, Jude Macasinag is filled with a sense of purpose and possibility. With “Haute Queer-ture” as his rallying cry, he embarks towards a future where queerness shines brightly, unapologetically, and beautifully.


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