The Formidable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition

The Formidable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition


Discover the stories of the alumni of MEGA Young Designers. From runway triumphs to timeless creations, explore the impact of these designers on the industry’s landscape that defines MEGA’s legacy

To don a garment crafted by a fashion designer is to embrace more than just a piece of clothing. It’s also to embody a statement, a piece of wearable art that carries the imprints of the creator’s imagination. The MEGA Young Designers Competition has consistently been a cradle of creativity, unearthing raw talents that eventually take the industry by storm. Here are who the competition has shaped.

RELATED: How to Join the MEGA Young Designers Competition Philippines 2024


Winner: Furne One

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition FURNE ONE
Photo: FURNE ONE (via website)

It goes without saying that Furne One has made a significant mark in the fashion scene. His victory was a clear signal of his innovative prowess that resonated throughout the fashion world, including Dubai, where he set a new standard in haute couture. His win, the very first of the competition, has also set the stage for the unveiling of more exceptional talents in subsequent competitions.

2nd Runner Up: Rajo Laurel

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition RAJO LAUREL

Sharing the spotlight in the same year was Rajo Laurel, claiming the position of 2nd Runner Up. His journey from the competition stage to a revered position in the industry became an embodiment of the elevated standards that designers of his caliber bring to the runway. Rajo has become a vanguard of style, shaping trends and influencing the course of Filipino fashion.

Finalist: Michael Cinco

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition MICHAEL CINCO

Michael Cinco, a designer whose name resonates without the need for introduction, stands today as one of the foremost figures in the global fashion scene. Initially studying Fine Arts at the prestigious University of the Philippines Diliman before transferring to the Slims Fashion and Arts School in Manila, Cinco laid the foundation for his illustrious career. His initial foray into the Dubai fashion scene marked a pivotal moment where he reinvented the image of a somewhat conventional fashion house, injecting it with new variations that captured attention. The list of global icons who have adorned his creations includes Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Aishwarya Rai, Nick Jonas, James McAvoy, Jason Derulo, Steve Aoki, Carrie Underwood, Sofia Vergara, Mila Kunis, Kylie Minogue, and Britney Spears.


Winner: Raoul Ramirez

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition
Photo: RAOUL RAMIREZ (via Facebook)

Presenting in Philippine Fashion Week ever since his 1997 stunt, in Raoul Ramirez’s designs, the appeal is reminiscent of a high-society socialite who demands the elevator exclusively for herself—even if it’s not her building. The collection is dominated by sleek and sophisticated patterns and silhouettes, a deliberate asymmetry with embellishments that accentuate the contemporary soul within a traditional aesthetic. Each piece carries an air of exclusivity, capturing the core of a modern twist on fine structures.

1st Runner-Up: Patrice Ramos Diaz

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition

Patrice Ramos Diaz embodies the keen insight that a female designer brings to the world of fashion. Her exceptional expertise underscores that women not only have equal opportunities, but can also excel in the field of fashion design, particularly in understanding what women truly desire to wear. Patrice has ascended to prominence, earning acclaim for her artistry in crafting wedding gowns that elevate the beauty of brides on their significant day, renowned for her enchanting, contemporary, and profoundly feminine design aesthetic. 


Finalist: Edwin Ao

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition EDWIN AO
Photo: EDWIN AO (via Instagram)

Finalist Edwin Ao’s palette is devoid of color, yet his patterns speak volumes that speak for itself. The Cebuano-based designer and painter boasts over a decade of experience in designing clothes, presenting in Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Paris. In fashion, it’s not solely about color; it’s the architectural prowess of the garment that unveils its brilliance and exclusivity—this is what makes it colorful.


Winner: Alex Pigao

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition

Alex Pigao seized the spotlight with an aesthetic defined by playful ruffles, elaborate pleats, and artfully gathered elements. His palette unfolds in a spectrum of romantic reds, vibrant violets, and bold blues, commanding attention and stirring emotion. His win was no shock, given the magnetic allure and expressive charm inherent in his designs.

1st Runner Up: Mich Dulce

MEGA Young Designers Competition's Formidable Alumni MICH DULCE

The year 2002 witnessed the ascent of Mich Dulce, securing the title of 1st Runner Up. She has accomplished notable success in millinery, showcasing a remarkable talent for crafting hats and headpieces. Her aesthetic is a harmonious marriage of creativity and wearability, effortlessly bringing together the avant-garde with the practical, making her a standout figure in Philippine fashion. This influence is evident in Mich’s designs, which carry a distinctive flair and a rebellious spirit reminiscent of Vivienne Westwood’s iconic aesthetic.

Finalist: Ivarluski Aseron

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition IVAR ASERON

Known for his ability to seamlessly merge tradition with contemporary elements, Ivar’s design aesthetic is characterized by a thoughtful interplay of cultural influences and innovative concepts, setting him apart as a designer with a keen eye for redefining the boundaries of fashion. In his latest collection, A Memoir in Motion, he transforms the established Venetian Blinds technique, introducing a breathtaking and unconventional method that redefines textile craftsmanship at its core.

Finalist: Chris Diaz

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition CHRIS DIAZ

Chris Diaz’s aesthetic encompasses easily entangled romantic nuances. In his decade-long journey in the industry, he’s been a consistent curator of romance, with soft fabric marrying slender silhouettes. Attiring in his designs is an invitation to confidently embody a distinct feminine allure, a celebration that encourages the bold embrace of one’s unique beauty.


Winner: Gian Romano

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition

Gian Romano secured victory in 2004, bringing forth an aesthetic marked by an edgy fusion of darkness and conceptual design juxtaposed in traditional yet intriguing silhouettes. His creations unfold a sophisticated interplay of blacks and grays. Notably, Romano stands as the first Filipino designer to showcase his collection at Singapore’s Audi Fashion Festival, sharing the spotlight with the esteemed Vivienne Westwood.

1st Runner-Up: Aztec Barba

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition PUEY QUIÑONES
Photo: Aztec Barba (via Davao Fashion Design Council website)

What defines Aztec Barba’s aesthetic is the inherent wearability of every piece, a fundamental element of the designer’s fashion philosophy. Barba merges class with edginess, evident in his creation of straightforward silhouettes and the sleek interpretation of geometric patterns. With his husband, fashion designer Dodjie Batu, they manage the Davao Fashion Design Council (DFDC), where Batu serves as President. Together, they spearhead the annual Fashion Weekend Davao (FWD) during National Heritage Month, providing a prominent platform for emerging talents and purveyors in the fashion and design industry.


Winner: Aries Lagat

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition
Photo: ARIES LAGAT (via Facebook)

In 2006, Aries Lagat emerged victorious, capturing attention with an aesthetic that seamlessly blends modern flair with a touch of edge, marrying the timeless and the contemporary. Aries’ designs showcase pleated sheers, textured mini dresses, and paneled skirts that are both immersive and effortlessly wearable. In 2008, Aries Lagat achieved a significant milestone by winning Project Runway Philippines, further solidifying his position as a standout talent in the fashion industry.

Finalist: Veejay Floresca

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition VEEJAY FLORESCA

Based in Los Angeles, Veejay Floresca’s aesthetic incorporates minimalism with contemporary trends, attributing and accentuating femininity. Armed with a Masters in Fashion from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, the finalist has elevated her craft; from presenting in New York Fashion Week to clinching the Grand Prize at the Los Angeles Fashion Design Competition. The designer’s works has always been in spreads from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.


Winner: Russell Villafuerte

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition RUSSEL VILLAFUERTE

In 2009, Russell navigated the entire second season of Project Runway Philippines, clinching a commendable second place. The subsequent triumph unfolded in 2011 when he emerged victoriously in the MEGA Young Designers Competition. Fast forward to nearly a decade, and he orchestrated his fashion resurgence at the Bench Design Awards, competing under his newly minted namesake brand, Strongvillage—the direct English rendition of his surname. Noteworthy is his sustainability commitment, exclusively employing vintage garments and remnants of fabric to breathe vitality into his creations.

Finalist: Patricia Santos

MEGA Young Designers Competition's Formidable Alumni PATRICIA SANTOS

Following her notable participation in YDC in 2011, Patricia cultivated a dedicated following among brides-to-be: fashioning feminine silhouettes from exquisite materials, intricately detailed. Her reliable delivery of sophisticated, nuanced, and enduring creations laid the groundwork through her own ventures, PS Officiel the Label and Officiel Bridal & Couture line. 


Winner: Renan Pacson

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition RENAN PACSON

In the subsequent year, Renan Pacson stood at the pinnacle of innovation, claiming the title of winner in 2012. A designer embracing the allure of one’s shadows, he crafts designs that balance drama with delicacy. His streetwear effortlessly embodies a grunge aesthetic, fusing elements of gender-neutral style and practical functionality. Recently, he entered the metaverse with “Meta Filipina,” a collection featuring virtual garments on digital mannequins, pushing the boundaries of fashion into the digital landscape.

Finalist: Mara Chua

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition MARA CHUA

Mara Chua adeptly juggles several design brands—from her eponymous line to bridal wear to corsetry. Her design philosophy pivots on the concept of subversive femininity and female sexual power, a distinctive approach that challenges norms and celebrates femininity. Through her creations, Chua fuses the clean, sleek, and structured with a rebellious spirit.


All-Star Winner: John Herrera

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition JOHN HERRERA

John Herrera mastered his craft and earned the title of winner in 2013 All-Star. His designs merge the spirit of native Philippines with Western fashion influences. He also made a significant international debut at London Fashion Week in 2015, followed by Tokyo Fashion Week in 2016. His FW/2017 and SS/2018 collections found a place in the pages of British Vogue. It’s noteworthy that every piece was meticulously crafted by hand in his London studio, showcasing a dedication to artisanal craftsmanship.

Winner: Emir Yamamoto

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition

Emir Yamamoto is celebrated for his artistry in designing creations that blend daring elements with nuanced details, intertwining a robust masculine structure with an inherently feminine essence. These captivating paradoxes not only spotlight Yamamoto’s technical finesse but also underscore his instinctive talent for design and execution.

Finalist: Puey Quiñones

Notable Alumni of the MEGA Young Designers Competition PUEY QUIÑONES

Puey Quiñones added a final flourish to the competition in 2013 as a finalist. His creations are appreciated by urbanites, trend enthusiasts, and discerning individuals as wearable art. Enjoying international recognition, the designer is known for his balanced mix of innovation, femininity, and elegance. Following a successful decade leading a design house in Manila, he opened a studio in Los Angeles. With a passion for the arts and expertise in draping, embroidery, and hand-beading, he brings his skills and experience to women worldwide.

The influence these designers wield is not just in the stitches and seams, but also in the way their designs become a part of the collective consciousness. Along with MEGA Young Designers Competition that helped them rise to prominence, they shaped what is Filipino fashion. We wonder who could be next.

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