Meet Pamela Madlangbayan, the Osaka-based Filipino fashion designer behind PAMMADLA. For this story, we dive into her relationship with beauty, including her skin-focused routine
Traditionally unconventional—that is exactly how Pamela Madlangbayan described her namesake label, PAMMADLA, and her pieces prove exactly that. In fact, the designer’s craftsmanship showcases her play on silhouettes, textures, and fabrics. “I’ve been working in fashion for a while now, more on collaborative work,” she opened up. “I’ve been on the fence about starting a brand right after college because I was still finding my identity as a designer. I’ve been dabbling into womenswear, costume design, and now menswear, [and] I made sure to go through everything to find out what fits me best.”
For this Beauty Profile, we are putting the spotlight on Pamela Madlangbayan, the Japan-based Filipino fashion designer who is making a mark in the global scene for her unconventional take on her craftsmanship. We sat down and explored her relationship with beauty, her best-kept practices, and her growth as a creative.
Pamela Madlangbayan is best known as a fashion designer with a new sense of creative play. But before she earned her designer title, she was just a young girl with a dream. “I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer at the age of 12,” she reminisced about the moment that made her pursue her career. “My mom and I used to sew costumes for my sister who was a dancer at the time. I loved making paper dolls out of cereal boxes as a child. I’d make paper dresses for me and my sisters to dress our avatars, pre-internet.”
As we continued the conversation, Madlangbayan reflected on how she identifies herself as a designer. “I think the way I’d describe myself as a designer would be resourceful because I often work with limited resources since my main specialty is rework. I like the challenge of having limitations. It pushes my imagination better than starting from blank.”
“I personally believe that fashion should be fun, so I like to incorporate some playfulness in works while putting in a lot of effort in construction.”
Despite her busy schedule, she admits that she truly loves what she does. “I get to create things, talk about art and fashion, and go on business trips to Tokyo for lectures. It’s great!” she shared. As for her weekend activities? “I live in Osaka, so I spend my free time finding hidden gems in the city, checking out museum exhibits, thrift shopping, or simply looking for a new cafe to chill at. When I’m not out, I love to watch films.”
On her beauty perspective
Beauty is often described as something that is subjective—it’s different for everyone. However, it’s undeniable that one’s perception says a lot about one’s character. And for Pamela Madlangbayan? Beauty is a superpower. “If you know you look good, you can do almost anything in the world!” she said. “I think beauty is about being confident in your own terms, and not anyone else’s definition.”
Perhaps one can credit the influence of her beauty icons like Brigitte Bardot and Sofia Loren. “[They] are absolute beauties on the silver screen. Think more of their signature beautiful doe eyes framed with fluffy lashes, pastel lids, framed with a crisp black liner. I love the emphasis on their eyes, which pierces through the TV screen, so I started doing the same with my own.”
And when does she feel the most beautiful and confident? “I feel most beautiful and confident when I know that I’m not dressed like anyone else,” she candidly said. “I don’t try to look good for other people, I just want to look interesting. I like experimenting with colors, prints, and layers. When I think of a look, I think of the whole vision. Is she cool? Is she intimidating? Is she flamboyant? Is she artsy?”
On her relationship with beauty
“I was always a kikay kid!” the designer confessed, adding that she loved playing with her mom and aunt’s makeup. She even called herself a definite Bratz girl. Eventually, it was when she entered her teenage years that during the early days of Instagram that she got truly interested. However, as she migrated to a new country, the creative learned a new beauty approach where less is more. “I’ve lived here for most of my life. I’ll always be a Filipina and not Japanese, so I just embrace being different by not following seasonal beauty trends on purpose.”
It goes without saying that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship with beauty. In fact, the fashion designer became candid about her own insecurities. “I struggled with acne throughout my teen years ‘til first year college,” she shared. “I was very insecure about my skin texture for almost a decade [that] I’d hide my face in my hair. I [couldn’t] even look in the mirror with the lights on.”
“I still have marks up to this day, but I love them now because [they] shaped who I am and my relationship with my body.”
After extensive research on hormonal acne, she was finally able to identify the skin treatment that works for her, including the right products for cleansing and gentle exfoliation. “Eventually, I learned how to conceal my scars, [and] I focused my makeup on my best features—mostly my eyes because it was the one thing that I didn’t learn to hate as an insecure teen.”
On her beauty routine
Pamela’s less-is-more approach to beauty reflects on her skincare routine. Her top-shelf product? MUJI’s Light-Toning Water. “I swear by the formula because it’s very light, [and] it doesn’t feel sticky. It’s a sustainable skin routine for a working girl because I can always buy it everywhere when I run out. It’s reliable and affordable, two very important things I consider when buying products I use on a daily.” Elsewhere, her picks include The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution and ILLIYOON.
The fashion designer also gave us a look into her makeup rotation. “I always use Biore Skin Aqua-Rich water as my primer and Dior Forever Skin Glow as my light foundation,” she shared. “I love playing with my eye makeup so I either go for a pop of color. My favorite is Fenty Beauty’s Snap Shadow MONEY palette or I go for a razor-sharp eyeliner look with KATE Super Sharp Liner EX2.0 to elongate my round shape eyes.” As for her go-to lippie? A berry-shade MAC lip pencil and Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss is her favorite combination.
On that one beauty product that makes her confident
It is an unspoken rule that every beauty enthusiast has that one product that can certainly boost confidence. And for Pamela, it’s the Dior Forever Skin Glow. “It makes me look like I have naturally perfect skin in photos without the layers.” Apart from that, she also named cult-favorite products like LUSH’s Rose Lollipop Lip and KATE Super Sharp Liner EX2.0 as her non-negotiables.
On her beauty philosophy
An exchange of a beauty lesson is a non-negotiable in the column. As we end our conversation, the designer reflected on the beauty lesson she wants her fans to learn from her: “Beauty should be fun and creative! The sky is the limit.”
Photos: PAMELA MADLANGBAYAN