Sunday, October 21, 2012

Flash Interview with Mark dela Peña (featuring his 2012 Fall Menswear Collection)

Since the new term is about to start next week, I went to FIP Makati to finalize the classes that I will take. I've decided to take Basic Pattern Making, Basic Menswear, and Basic Sewing.

I am really excited for this term, because after developing my illustrations skills via Basic and Advance Fashion Design I will now learn the basics of construction.

As I finalized my schedule for next term, a stylist came in to the school to return the clothes that she pulled out from the sewing instructor and designer, Mr. Mark dela Peña.

While Mark was unzipping the package to check out the pieces, I had a glimpse of those gorgeous clothes and I just have to take a picture of it.

It was after taking these photos that I had another stroke of genius. Since I already admire Mark's taste in menswear, I wasn't doing anything at that moment, and his Fall 2012 Collection is already there in front of me, I thought that it's a perfect time to do another flash interview with another talented designer.

Mark dela Peña Fall 2012 Collection
for Pilipinas Men's Fashion Week

I approached this master tailor after he taught his students what they need to do for their class. I've always wanted to interview him because I want to know his thoughts and his inspirations when he is conceiving his collection.

While teaching one of his students in Basic Sewing

(Just like Joy Chicano's interview, I just noted some keywords on my sketchpad as I asked him some questions. I just wanted everything to be truthful and spontaneous. The following dialogue is not verbatim.)

Images from Mark's Facebook Page.
Photo by: Lee San Diego

Me: What is the inspiration for your collection?

Mark: I had two inspirations. The color red and the houndstooth print.

Me: What's with the color red and houndstooth? 

Mark: Red is my favorite color and I just found the houndstooth print as something unusual.

Me: I remember that when we discussed prints in our Advance Fashion Design. It kinda reminds me of Chanel. Don't you agree?

Mark: True. I just wanted to transform menswear into something interesting but not too out there. I want it to be unique but not too feminine.

Me: I love that answer! You clothes sounds like something that I would wear. So how many pieces are there in your collection?

Mark: It was an 8-pieces collection and it took me 1 month to complete.

Me: 1 month? For 8-pieces? You work fast! Did you hire sewers?

Mark: I sew the pieces myself. Just like all of the clothes that I've created.

Me: Wow! No wonder why you teach in all sewing courses. So how did you acquired that skill? When did you knew that you wanted to do fashion?

Mark: We had one of those old fashioned sewing machines at home when I was young. My mom is a sewer and when she's away I always meddle with that machine. I've always wanted to create beautiful things out of nothing just like her.

Me: So did your mom taught you how to sew?

Mark: No. She actually didn't want me to sew. I practiced via trial and error until I learned how to create doll dresses which led to kiddie costumes for my cousins. When my mom saw that I was doing good with what I do, she eventually supported my passion.

Me: So who were you first clients?

Mark: Family, friends, and neighbors. They referred me to their friends and that how my clientele grew. Before teaching here in FIP, I was a freelancer so most of my clients were all referrals.

Images from Mark's Facebook Page.
Will Devaugh's photos by: Edizon Zausa

Me: Did you ever took another courses before you dabbled into fashion?

Mark: I took Psychology in college just because my mom wanted me to have a degree but I never practiced it. I know that this is what I really wanted to do. Its like it's in my spirit.

Me: I like that! Clearly, this is your passion. Have ever thought of putting up your own shop?

Mark: I actually had a shop in a commercial space before, but I needed to close it temporarily.

Me: What happened?

Mark: I was in my 4th year in college when we had that shop but since I didn't have any help except from my mom, we need to close it down. It was really difficult to juggle school and the responsibilities of having your own shop.

Me: I can only imagine your experience. So how hard was it when you were staring?

Mark: It was hard. When I had my shop, I needed to worry about the bills that we needed to pay and how I will divide my time. The only thing that really scared me, even up to now, is the capital of putting up my own business. Right now, I don't let that fear stop me from pursuing what I love. I always find a way.

Me: I guess that fear is true in all art forms with all artists, unless you were lucky enough to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth. So how did you get into FIP?

Mark: I took Menswear in FIP Ortigas. When Sir Shanon saw how I make clothes, he asked me if I wanted to teach. It was a win-win situation so I took that offer. It was the time when FIP was expanding and they are looking for faculties.

Me: Let's move on to your creative process. Do you have any specific fashion idol? Do you research other designer's work?

Mark: I don't have a fashion idol nor do I research other designer's works. I just don't want to be restricted by trends and references because everything has been made already, it's just a matter of giving your own  twist to it. This is just how I work.

Me: So who is Mark dela Peña as a designer? Who is your target market?

Mark: I do everything. Menswear, womenswear, in all shapes and sizes. I don't to want to be boxed in any specific category. I want to do it all.

Me: Are you focusing on menswear by chance or by choice?

Mark: I have to say that it's by chance. I'm mostly known for my menswear because that's what sells. Most men's apparel out there is safe or not wearable. There's also a lower number of competition in this field. Apparently my designs are marketable and wearable. But I also wanted to do couture eventually, wedding gowns and all.

Me: Now I get it. You are now balancing the artistic and business side of fashion. I'm just thinking of your past experience with the shop and all. The good thing is that your creativity still shines through your work whether menswear or couture.

Mark: Exactly. It's just that my menswear clients are either models or celebrities and who wouldn't want to have them as their clients?

Me: I remember a close friend told em that your name is usually mentioned on TV shows.

Mark: That's because some of my clothes are usually pulled out for photo shoots or shows. Just like this collection. This will be taken later by another stylist for Party Pilipinas and Mega.

Me: Wow! So these clothes travel a lot then. Now that's great exposure for you.

Mark: True to that!

Me: Now for my 2nd to the last question. Name at least 3 celebrities, both local and foreign, that you would love to dress. Who are you top female and male choices?

Mark: For females, they are mostly divas. It's Sarah G, Regine, and Beyoncé.

Me: Divas! Now is that Regine before or after giving birth? (laughs)

Mark: (laughs) Any! Like I said I do all shapes and sizes. I've always dreamed of having Regine Velasquez as a client. I am willing to travel just to do her fittings given the chance.

Me: Wow! I can feel that you are a big fan of the Asia's Song Bird. Now how about the guys? Who would you want to dress? Or undress for that matter? (laughs)

Mark: (laughs) Dingdong Dantes and Dennis Trillo for local celebrities. Adam Lambert and Mario Maurer for international celebrities.

Me: Now that's more like it. When I dress up as a guy, I do have that Adam Lambert thing going on. (Lol) And now for my last question... Can I try on some of your clothes please. ^_^

Mark: (laughs) Sure.

Your fabulousness and the talented Mark dela Peña

So after his the interview, Mark was sweet enough to let me try on some of his impeccably tailored clothes.

Working my curves.

Even though they didn't fit me as a glove because of my curves, I think I still to rocked his Fall 2012 pieces in my own fabulous way.

I just adore this piece!
This is so me doing menswear!!!

I just love how good tailoring can instantly make you look expensive,  Eeven if you are just wearing a basic t-shirt on the inside.

All in all, I am very happy with my flash interview. I was able to get to know a working designer who makes clothes that I would love to wear and at the same time, I was able have try on some clothes before they even show up on tv shows and magazines. ^_^

So that's all for now!

Please don't forget, The Vintage in My Closet in just 3 days away from it's launching so please LIKE and SHARE my page.

Au revoirs for now my loves!

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