Art/Style/Travel DiariesStyle

Jude Macasinag, Carla Zhang (Le Ngok), Ana La’O, Prince Padilla: Four young designers we love

'I have a personal rule: if a client has more Birkins than good art in their home, I will probably say no'

From left: Novel by Prince Padilla, Jude Macasinag photographed by Thomas Dherte, Ana la O', and Le Ngok

Jude Macasinag, Le Ngok, Ana La’O, and Prince Padilla are designers with their own vision and outlook, and designs we covet. Their work has been featured in various publications the last few years.  Macasinag has a strong cult following, while La’O is still getting her feet wet. All have distinct designs and we look forward to seeing where their paths lead.

Jude Macasinag

There’s been a lot of buzz about Jude Macasinag the last few years, and we asked him if he ever thought about why. “I try to not view it from the eyes of the people who look at it or wear it, because I think that at a stage as developmental as where I am right now, it’s important to form my own creative universe that remains true to my DNA. I’m oblivious to the buzz—assuming there is a buzz—and I think I’d like to keep it that way for a while.”

The designer says that his clients tend to collect art and design pieces. He chooses them by deciding if the objects he creates will be valued meaningfully. “I have a personal rule: if a client has more Birkins than good art in their home, I will probably say no.”

He also emphasizes that his brand is not the most sustainable. “We have the Found Object line, which takes on working with found materials and discarded items and upcycling them into interesting objects. But this only scratches the surface.”

Macasinag, whose Masters graduate collection will be presented on February 26 in his school in Paris, Institut Français de la Mode (IFM), says, “There is a market in the Philippines, but it is not as large the market in Paris. Plus, in the Philippines, there’s still much more restraint and conservativeness, which is always fun to toy around with.”

Le Ngok

When she began designing a few years ago, Le Ngok’s Carla Zhang, a Chinese who moved to Manila over a decade ago, had a curiosity and a passion for fashion, art, and design. Eventually, she focused on fashion design and realized that it was about the meaning that fashion presents to the world. “It’s like storytelling. Every detail of the clothing means something, every element plays a role in my visual narrative. I want to share that story in an interesting manner.”

She recently held a pop-up highlighting her Zipper Bags, made of deadstock zippers, and Pot Bags, made of recyclable bioplastic and fabric. “I love to push creative boundaries by using various mixed media from art and many innovative techniques.”

Zhang says that each piece she makes is an experience for the senses and allows the wearer to express themselves uniquely. She describes her clients as independent, have attitude and aren’t afraid to wear statement pieces.

Le Ngok is joining the Tranoï trade show in Paris from February 29 to March 3.

Ana La’O

Ana La’O began her career in Manila with the label Eairth about a decade ago. She then pursued textile design at Central St. Martins and worked in fabric development at The Row.

“Our team makes our fully fashioned knitwear by hand on domestic knit machines, which means that each garment panel is knit and shaped without cutting extra fabric,” says La’O. Because everything is made by hand, each surface has imperfections, textural nuances and details from mending.

For her latest drop at Guava Sketches, La’O wanted to create easy clothes with a sense of tenderness and drama. Materials include organic cotton, Philippine-grown raw cotton, and bamboo. “We introduced bamboo for its sheen, slink, and breathability, and because it also happens to be a fast-growing, renewable plant that requires much less water than cotton to grow.”

Novel by Prince Padilla

“I come from a first-generation immigrant family, so I’ve spent most of my life in England. I have a BA in Fashion from Manchester School of Art. I’ve worked and interned with design studios and brands in London,” states Prince Padilla, designer behind the brand Novel.

He describes his clothes as heavy on construction and deconstruction. He says that what makes him different as a designer is that he makes everything himself, from the fashion jewelry and accessories to the garments themselves. “I have full knowledge and control of the process, which I take pride in.”

Padilla, whose work is sold at Guava Sketches, states that his inspirations are never fashion-related. “My personal journey through life and wanting to give back to the community, even if you’re not part of that community, are important to me.”

While his brand is still trying to fill a gap in the fashion industry in the Philippines, he looks forward to what will happen next.

IG: @novelworlwide

About author


She was fashion editor of Mega and Metro magazines, in different stints, and former editor in chief of Metro style. She also wrote for Philippine Daily Inquirer for a decade. She lived and worked in Paris for eight years, writing for international publications, and worked as copywriter for Louis Vuitton Paris.

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