Photo by Romar Briones
I just realized that 2022 marks the 10th year of me being a *young* fashion designer. Back in 2012, I entered the world of fashion now knowing what I'll go through in the next ten years. It's nice to see though how far (as of now) I've gone even if I haven't reached 30 yet. I want take my readers through a time travel by looking back at the important milestones of my fashion career.
May 2012 - Girl After Class
Photo by Choy Palo
Model: Ysabelle Ho
Girl After Class was my first clothing brand. It started out as a buy-and-sell clothing line until I sold original designs to mostly college students and young professionals.
March 2013 - ACTS Fashion Competition
I tried joining a fashion design competition hosted by the University of the Philippines Association for Clothing Technology Students and didn't expect I'd won! According to one of the judges, Mr. Allen Castillo, my designs had "color and life". My models were Danj Lopez and Rich Asuncion.
April 2013 - Artetekta Fashion Show
My first fashion show! Held at the SMX Convention Center and produced by Mode Elle, this fashion show featured some of GAC's designs.
November 2014 - ONLY MNL
I rebranded GAC to become a bigger fashion brand. An online magazine and a clothing brand rolled into one, ONLY MNL collaborated with other local brands to co-market each other. We also worked with an NGO where relocated typhone victims would create the garments for the clothing brand.
August 2015 - Yna Mendez Couture
Photo by Choy Palo
Makeup by Je Fazunila
Hair by Myka Ang
Models: Kaye Mangilit, Tysh Basa, Chelo Espiritu, Charlene Ajose
My debut as a "legitimate" fashion designer (not sure what that means but....) from this point, I started accepting clients for couture. My debut collection was inspired by the colors of gem stones like emerald, aquamarine, and ruby. My brand's official name is Yna Mendez Couture
January 2016 - Fashion School
Enrolled in Style in Design Academy, Quezon City. I was able to study illustration, patternmaking, basic garments construction and menswear.
June 2016 - My First Clients
I started making couture by myself for UP's graduation ceremonies. Made some for my friends and of course, myself!
August 2016 - First Hiatus
Due to financial needs, I had to quit fashion school and closed all my fashion businesses. This was very heartbreaking for me but I know it's for the good and it's only temporary.
March 2017 - Comeback; Equinox Designer's Week
I realized that I can't let go of my passion. Six months in the corporate world showed me where I'm meant to be. I came back to fashion designing (with a bang) by joining a fashion show entitled Equinox Designer's Week produced by Belle Beau Talent Agency. My collection was inspired by the colors of sunset: orange, blue, pink, and purple.
June 2018 - Philippine Fashion Gala - Lokal
The birth of my tagline #DesignerWithAPurpose and my favorite fashion show to date! I have a whole write-up about my Philippine Fashion Gala - Lokal experience so I suggest you head there for the full story! Featured is my "Montanosa" collection, using weaves from Sagada.
November 2018 - Philippine Fashion Gala - Timeless
My last fashion show before the pandemic! Philippine Fashion Gala - Timeless was the biggest fashion show I've joined so far. Featured is my "Magayon's Entourage" collection which shows the story of Magayon, using Abaca-pinukpok fabric.
October 2019 - Major Hiatus
In 2019, I mentally broke down. Finally found out that I have bipolar disorder, which left me dysfunctional and broken. That's why I decided to go into another hiatus. Little did I know that few months later, COVID-19 will happen so the whole fashion industry basically struggled.
June 2021 - Menswear | Collaboration with JM Yosures
Photo by Pogs Francisco
Model: JM Yosures and Yna Mendez
HMUA and Grooming: Magiellete Navarro
After 2 long years of rest, one of my idols challenged me to create a suit for him for his contract signing at Star Magic. This was my first menswear creation...and the start of a new chapter! Later on, you will see that actually, I shined as a menswear designer.
September 2021 - Collaboration with Benedix Ramos
Photo by Pogs Francisco
Grooming by Claire Lingan
Before Benedix Ramos entered the PBB house, I had the chance to collaborate with him through the launch of my #NorthToSouth collection. The first pieces were worn by Benedix. He wore them several times inside the PBB house!
March 2022 - Yna Mendez Couture x SB19
I really do have this magic of manifestation. I get to meet my idols, and who would have thought that it would include the PPop Kings SB19? SB19 wore my creations during the 2022 PPop Con Press Conference at the Novotel, Philippines.
June 2022 - Philippine Fashion Summit
My latest fashion show was at the Philippine Fashion Summit 2022 held in Newport Plaza, Resorts World Manila and produced by Jebie Reyes Talents & Events Management. It was my first fashion show to feature menswear! I will write about this collection soon.
So it took me two hours to write this blog. That's a lot of key events! It was also challenging to get the photos in the archive since I basically lost one of my laptops and my Facebook account is currently deactivated.
So what can I say after looking back?
I know I definitely grew and matured. Not just as a designer, but also as a person. I learned to work with people, deal with my mental condition, and most of all, be resilient amidst adversity.
Now here's a bummer: I'm entering another hiatus. Does it end here?
That's for us to find out! So tata for now!
Yourstruly, your #DesignerWithAPurpose,