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Why Michael Leyva thrives even in pandemic

As he prepares for Dubai, his is a story of resiliency

Michael Leyva: 'I always pray that I can help my employees make a living'

A Michael Leyva blush pink gown with pleated skirt and top, and fan neckline

The pandemic has definitely affected the local fashion industry, like every other industry. Many fashion designers are forced to trim down their operations or to shut them down. But there are a few who seem to have been spared from such misfortune.

One of them is Michael Leyva, who’s busy preparing for his collection to be showcased in Dubai by end October.

“Our business is doing well, we have new and existing clients who would ask me to make gowns for them even for small occasions,” Leyva said in an interview with He was also given the opportunity to produce PPEs, which made up for the postponed weddings and other occasions in the lockdowns.

Leyva did not really start out as designer; he was a flight attendant with Philippine Airlines. But the sudden demise of his older brother, Brian, in 2010 prompted him to continue the fashion design atelier Brian started.

Leyva is a devout Catholic who has a devotion to Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo. His Instagram followers are familiar with his posts of visits to Antipolo Church to give thanks. “God is good. I always pray that I can help my employees make a living for their families despite the pandemic.”

Leyva keeps reminding his employees to give their best because they are so blessed despite the situation, for clients to keep coming and give them work to do.

Vice President Leni Robredo in Leyva ready for 2021 SONA

The Michael Leyva woman is someone who is confident enough to try on different styles. Among his high-profile clienteles are Sen. Grace Poe, Rep. Maryln Alonte Naguiat,  Kris Aquino, and Vice President Leni Robredo. “I love exploring, and making things extraordinary,” Leva said, “Fashion should be fun and limitless. It should be something that would enhance the best in a person.”

Leyva also reiterated that his relationships with his clients is very important, “I value them as my family.”

But Leyva admits that he misses doing fashion shows, that is why he was grateful when Michael Cinco asked him if he wants to do a show in Dubai for Arab Fashion Week Spring Summer 2021 this October. Leyva passed the screening and is busy creating 30 pieces. “Preparation time is quite short, but my team and I are doing our best to execute fresh ideas and be able to present a stunning collection.”

Credit: Video by EJ Bonagua

He named his Dubai collection Diamonds, for as the saying goes, diamonds last forever— sparkling, glittering and magical. But to be patriotic, he will inject Filipino elements. “My gowns will have a touch of our local fabrics.”

He will use weaves made by local embroiderers from Laguna. “I believe it’s the right time to bring back events and showcase fresh ideas and talents. Plus, the fact Dubai is one of the best places where I can showcase and market my creations,” he said.

Photography: Glette Muring

Styling: Luis Carlo San Juan

Makeup: Theresa Padin for Dior Beauty available at SM Makati

Hairstyle: Florenz Torron Tegui

Model: Kathleen Paton


About author


He runs a GenZ website He was contributing editor of Inquirer’s To be You section where he built a network of student writers, student athletes and models and beauty pageant candidates including Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach who was its beauty correspondent, then beauty editor. He’s styled Wurtzbach and other beauty queens for shoots. He’s a stylist and a kettlebell aficionado.

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