Don’t be fooled by the name Vicente Villarin. These feminine designs are actually the creation of female Filipino designer Joanne Reyes. Named after her grandfather, the Vicent Villarin brand represents Sophistication, Confidence, Elegance, Individuality and Modernity; women that want to feel pretty and elegant yet modern and sexy. Read on to learn more about Joanne’s education, experience and influence in creating her own fashion line.
ASIANCE: How did you learn to design?
Joanne: I first wanted to be an Animator and started sketching cartoons at age seven.
By age eleven, I began designing for clients. Currently, I create most of the patterns and sew the first samples, which I really do enjoy. My Filipino background taught me to be a hard worker and a lot about team work.
My family had a boutique where I’d spend most of my after school hours. The boutique slowly became a one stop bridal salon that offered custom made dresses. By age eleven, I began designing for clients.
ASIANCE: Where were you educated?
Joanne: I first studied Architecture at the University of Washington in Seattle, but found a love for fashion design and so re-located to NYC to attend Parsons School of Design.
ASIANCE: Do you actually sew? Did you apprentice for anyone?
Joanne: It is very important as a designer to have an understanding of execution. Currently, I create most of the patterns and sew the first samples, which I really do enjoy. While at Parsons, I interned with Vivienne Tam, Jill Stuart, Maggie Norris Couture and House of Diehl. My first Designer job was for Ji Haye Couture in Paris and from there Reem Acra and J.Mendel in New York and Monique L’huillier in Los Angeles.
ASIANCE: Tell us about your background? Were you born and/or raised in the United States?
Joanne: Filipino American with Chinese (father side) and Spanish (mother side) descent.
Vicente Villarin is an Italian name from my mother’s side. Born and raised in San Bernardino Valley in Southern California.
ASIANCE: How has your Filipino background influenced your design work?
Joanne: My Filipino background taught me to be a hard worker and a lot about team work. These attributes have influenced me in all aspects of design work and in building a strong team.
ASIANCE: What was your inspiration for Spring 2008?
Joanne: The Spring 2008 collection was titled “Distorted Sweetness,” and was inspired by the romantic and dramatic essence of the early 1900’s blended with today’s edginess of modern art, Julie Mehretu: Drawing into Painting, which inspires the layering of surface treatments and the color story.
ASIANCE: How do you see your line progressing?
Joanne: I see the line continuing to grow in a positive direction and hope to add other brand extensions in time.
ASIANCE: What kinds of fabrics do you like to use?
Joanne: I love using all sorts of fabrics. It is dependant on the execution of the design. For this past luxury collection, I used pure silks and cottons-silk chiffons, jacquards, wovens, and silk tissue organdy.
ASIANCE: Who would you consider to be your muse?
Joanne: My grandfather, Vicente Villarin is my source of inspiration. There is a reflection of him in the brand and in the designs I create.
ASIANCE: If you could design for any celebrity who would it be?
Joanne: It would be an honor to design for Cate Blanchett. She is a very talented actor who possesses the quality of the Vicente Villarin brand.
ASIANCE: Who are some of your favorite designers?
Joanne: I adore Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Christian Lacroix, and John Galliano.
ASIANCE: What challenges do you feel that young designers face?
Joanne: Young designers today face many challenges. Fashion has become even more so competitive with all the “hype” and “glamour,” which makes it even harder to be taken seriously. Every starting designer takes a risk, some more so than others, and you also face the challenge of your work being noticed and accepted by the industry.
ASIANCE: What trends do you see emerging in the couture market?
Joanne: There are many repetitive trends in the couture market such as solid clean seams of structure, over-draped embellishments, and artsy oversized silhouettes, but I believe that couture is slowly returning to its roots of structure and quality blended with unique creativity of silhouettes and surface treatment that are more wearable and does not take away from the feminine form.
ASIANCE: Any world destinations that inspire you?
Joanne: Any world destination inspires me, but I am always inspired when I visit France or Italy. I learned a lot about surface treatment during my course-work in Paris.
ASIANCE: What is your favorite country to travel in Asia and why?
Joanne: I would love to one day visit all the countries of Asia especially Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan and Russia. It would be an amazing experience to learn all the different cultures. I’ve only been to Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
What are you working on after the Spring 2008 collections?
Joanne: Right now I am finalizing the execution of production orders and beginning to design the next Fall 2008 collection.
ASIANCE: What advice would you give to any Asian girl wanting to get into the fashion business or one who wants to start her own line?
Joanne: The advice I give to anyone wanting to get into the fashion business or start their own line is to always be prepared. You have to really want it and make sacrifices. Fashion is not glamorous-it is a lot of work, but as long as you enjoy and love your work-you will always be happy.
Please visit www.vicentevillarin.com