It’s a cliché to say it but I’ll do it anyway: great things are wrapped in small packages. I’m not saying this shop is small, nor the designer lacks in height. Rather, it may not YET be as big as those top online sellers that we read in magazines, but I’m sure time will come that the world will unwrap it and discover its greatness within.
Or maybe I should change the cliché to: small but terrible...nah.
Two months ago, AuxManila has been featured in Melai Entuna’s blog, styleandsoul (feel free to visit, just click here). We were the first shop to represent a movement called Shop Support. Of course we didn’t pay her to do something like that, nor has given her any kind of freebie, goodie, or garment LOL. As kat would always say: Maybe we really did something good in Aux, and it’s just an innate response, an appreciation being translated into words. (Which melted our hearts btw, to read and be aware of how other people see us, what they think of us.)
As a way of paying it forward (as Mel would say it LOL), we would like to share a little shop that kat and I became very fond of, in fact, I would like to OWN every single, each and every one, the entire, the complete, every bit of creation that was and would be released by Manang Wanda – the person behind HTW Designs.
Here’s a quick info...(courtesy of FB – fropile ng bayan)
Full name: Wanda Kristina Madarang
Age: Eep! Kelangan ko ba sagutin yan? Hahaha.. fine.. 18... joke.. 24, but still the YOUNGest in the family. Hihihi! ;)
Affiliations: HTW Designs by Wanda
BTW(highway LOL) she’s my cousin’s cousin, although she’s not my cousin. It’s a long explanation (although I know you’ll get it), but she’s really not my cousin. Since she’s a family to me, I decided to address her faux-cousin (in line with her background in fashion) or pseudo-cousin can also do (being a BS Nursing graduate :D).
In addition, we call her (and her sister Manang Wonina, who models her works) “Manang” because she’s Ilocano, and manang = ate (in Tagalog) :)
I thinks it’s better to hear(or read?) from Manang Wanda herself for the reason behind HTW’s name :)
HTW stands for Haute-To-Wear (pronounced as oht-tuh-wair). In fashion school, I learned that you could either sell custom-made clothes (which is "haute couture" or "couture", strictly for a very select few only) or ready-to-wear (RTW). I opted to do RTW, but I wanted to have a high-end feel to it so I incorporated the word "haute" into the brand. Coincidentally, my designs came out as clothes you wouldn't really see anywhere else, hence the brand now also has a double-meaning as something that I think people OUGHT TO WEAR.
Haute-To-Wear debuted August of 2010. Before it came to be, M. Wanda (Miss Wanda, or Manang Wanda for me, of course J ) took up Professional Design at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines. For four months, she has been taught from the basics of inserting the thread inside the needle, until the part where you undress your mannequin because your creation has already been sold. One may question the short amount of time given to learn the fundamentals to the most clear-cut aspect of fashion. Where in this industry, no matter where you turn, critic’s point of view would always rise above all, and one might ask: “Am I ready?”
Yes, M. Wanda, I can see you raising your hand, what is your answer? (me pretending to be a teacher in a class, recitation time)
The classes and the learning part is admittedly a fast approach, which is okay. The practical aspect of putting what you've learned to good use afterwards is what's really gonna take much time, a lot of experimentation and hard work, failures, mistakes but also rewards. :)
*concepts include basic and advanced fashion design, sewing (taken during free-time), pattern-making, merchandising, children’s wear, and men’s wear.
Well said M. Wanda (pretend reply, as a part of the pretend class recitation harhar). And for that, you should attend the Graduation Show to be held next year. (this time I’m not pretending anymore :) She said she’ll be joining the Graduation Show, and a very excited me couldn’t hold back my smiling after hearing it from her :D )
To give a few more background, M. Wanda graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Management Major in Communications Technology from Ateneo De Manila University last March of 2008. Although she said designing wasn’t her first dream.
I had dreamt of becoming a nun, a nurse, a teacher, an accountant, a finance person and so many other things before I ever had the slightest clue I wanted a career in fashion.
And that was what she did. Last year, she could not stand going to the office anymore, and decided to pursue the life as a fashion designer.
It was scary, but I don't have any regrets even now that I don't have anything much of a booming career yet to be proud of. Nonetheless, I am currently very happy simply draining my creative juices each day and refilling it every now and then with brand new inspiration.
INSPIRATION: Where (the hell) do you get it from?
Anwser: I do try to listen to my inner voice, my instinct, the one that just FEELS something’s bound to be a classic.
Well apparently, she’s doing a very good job listening to that voice. I remember when I came to their big house (yeah, I have to say it. BIG), I caught her working. Using my ultra-heightened parallel vision, I peeked at her working desk, the size of a pool table (because it USED to be a pool table LOL), and just sighed: WOW... I didn’t understand anything that was going on in there. It wasn’t because things were cluttered (well, a little bit a guess), or I wasn’t familiar with anything there...actually I still haven’t figured out why (boo me), until now. It’s her insight.
I have been inspired by different silhouettes, structures and even my emotions at the time of inception. My inspiration can come from anything anywhere and everywhere!
It’s not like an origami where you should follow a strict step1 to 10, or else your paper crane would turn into a crap, I mean a scrap of folded paper. Different strokes for different folks, as my (ex)professor would say :).
a world that offered a place where my once locked up imagination could run free
To me, inspiration is extremely personal. What it means to me may mean something entirely different to someone else
In the fashion industry there’s no rule book, just guidelines. And at the end of the day, it’s still you taste, your preference, your pick, that would determine the type of designer that you are.
If you’ve recently watched a certain 3D movie, you would know what a BFAB is. Born From A Boom box. Now those are intended for dancers. Now, I thought we should come up with something like BFASM (Born From A Sewing Machine), or BFAPOC/ S (Born From A Pile Of Cloth / Swatches) or maybe BHANAT,COWAFO if we really want to get serious and bring it (Born Holding A Needle And Thread, Came Out Wearing A Full Outfit) :) Well, that’s just me :)
Few weeks after she opened her online shop, I found myself filling up the order form a few seconds later. Though I still couldn't make up my mind on what to buy, I ended up buying 2 of her works LOL.
Believe it, love it. HTW designs is literally ought-to-wear.
Wanda Madarang: Certified BFAPOC