By Kab. Chris Daymon

He himself was destined to design and to exhibit anything, including a variety of skill with a taste for couture and avant-garde.

Jimi was born and raised in Quezon City. He studied Fashion Design at Slim’s Fashion and Art School in the Philippines and took the fashion world by storm by showing us his outstanding point of view and beautiful ideas on the runway which stunned the fashion world with a melodramatic air.

At a very young age, he loved browsing at fashion catalogs that his mother collections such as Harpers Bazaar, Vogue and Cosmopolitan magazines. His mom loves to sew as a hobby for family and friends and he knew all along that he would one day be a fashion designer.

“When I was in high school I make a few bucks from submitting t-shirt designs at our schools cooperative which they manufacture and produce. After graduating from High School I went to Salvacion Lim Higgins Slim’s Fashion and Art School to study fashion illustration and pattern making.

From then on I never looked back…I continued to pursue my love for fashion and was able to be mentored by great designers like Jun Jun Cambe and Ching Santos. I went on to open my own fashion house in Manila.

During the early ’80s production of Ready to wear garments was booming and I was lucky enough to be able to supply clothes at leading shopping malls like SM Shoemart under the label SM Vogue and Robinson’s and Isetann Dept. Store both under my own label.”

He was able to put up his own fashion house at a very young age and became one of the members of Isetann Board of designers and making beautiful couture clothes was his space and secret garden with an amazing, inspiring and tingling time.

We could see his style evolves with the period we live in, the season, the extravagant trends in the worldwide couture market.  It is the art of dressmaking on a fairy-like luxurious and grandiose scale.

He moved to Dubai in 1991 to further cultivate his craft and became a head designer for La Donna Couture for nearly two decades before he was offered a lucrative job to work for one of the most prominent royal family in Dubai.

Why did you choose Dubai?
Dubai is a perfect place for every fashion designer….all you need to be able to create is available here in Dubai. Even the government supports and promotes the fashion industry. You can get materials from all parts of the world from textiles to embellishment readily available for you. 

What is Fashion for you?
“For me, Fashion is an expression of who you truly are by the way you dress and the way we live. Fashion has to do with ideas, what you wear is how you present yourself to the world. It is about self-expression and above all, attitude! The joy of dressing is an art and every time I create something for my client, it gives me this sense of fulfillment and like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well.

The challenging part is for you to be able to focus on the woman and realize her dream. And what is important in a dress is the woman who’s wearing it. And once I have achieved that. I can honestly say that I did my job well.

I like knowing that someone’s life is better because of what I do. I also enjoy the act of creating clothes. Working with color and fabric are still things that really drive me.”

He says that Creativity is necessary to be able to make a mark in the fashion industry. Artistry and imagination can provide you with ideas necessary to convert raw materials into a breathtaking piece of art.

It also requires to have an eye for details and an amazing taste for delicate intricacies. A strong visual skill is also important. The better your visualization skills, the more proficient you’ll be at making your ideas come alive.

Lastly to survive in the fashion world, one must have a thorough understanding of business, including the key areas like finance, sales, and marketing, which are essential to becoming successful in the fashion industry.

How do you stay up to date regarding fashion?
Remain updated on the current and latest trends. There is always something new to learn about fashion. Research more about the prevailing preferences amongst clients and learn what the most sought after designers are creating. Flow with the new trend while sticking to the all-time favorites.

As a fashion designer, you need to make yourself a remarkable trendsetter. You must remain motivated to be able to cater to newer tastes and choices which are necessary in this competitive world of fashion industry. 

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is simple and yet trendy. I try to reinvent new combinations of what I already own and play with it. I tend to evolve my look or try something new once in a while, and mixing it with the all-time favorites.

 Who are your biggest client?
My biggest clients are the royal families both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

How would you relate past and present fashion trends?
Fashion trends change so fast. Today, people dress based on many different influences. Some fashion choices are even based on looks from past decades. We always take cues from decades past and reworking them to fit within modern tastes. 

What’s next for you as a designer?
The Philippines have a lot of young creative and talented individuals in terms of design and craftsmanship.

In the future, I would like to be able to share what I have learned here in the Middle East to these young designers, to further maximize and cultivate their creativity and skills and prepare them for a better future for themselves and be able to sustain it.