• ‘Fashion is democratic’ – Rajo Laurel

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    Laurel with Faith Fernandez-Mondejar, director for communications for Asia Pacific and the Philippines, and Patricia Rodriguez, category head for fashion and home

    Laurel with Faith Fernandez-Mondejar, director for communications for Asia Pacific and the Philippines, and Patricia Rodriguez, category head for fashion and home

    According to an article by The Wall Street Journal, Manila-based Rajo Laurel Group of Companies earned $1.7 million in 2014. (“Entrepreneur Rajo Laurel Builds a Fashion Empire in the Philippines,” August 21, 2015).

    But despite his multi-million success, the eponymous couturier behind the upscale label is bent on making high-quality yet affordable fashion for all. Proof of this is Laurel’s active collaboration with brands that are accessible to most Filipinos. One such example is the latest jewelry, accessory, and clothing collections he has designed for an international direct-selling company operating in the Philippines.

    In late October, the company officially introduced Laurel as the first Filipino designer to work with the “company for women” through a press conference at Yardstick Café in Makati City.

    “I am very honored [with this collaboration]. It’s a wonderful feeling when they trust you and when they know that you will take care of them. It’s also a testament to my own personal brand. The integrity of my brand lends itself to what Avon stands for, which is all about women empowerment,” the premiere Filipino designer said in a group interview with print media.

    For the highly anticipated “Rajo+Avon” partnership, the designer came up with two themes namely Regalia and Floral Pop.

    Inspired by the facets of gemstones in abstract and geometric cuts, the Regalia collection offers a pair of emerald underwear and accessories including a set of earrings with crystal, ruby or sapphire stones.

    In this set, a must-have according to the designer is the Tri-Textured Wallet that comes in blue snakeskin leatherette, red ostrich leatherette, tan croc leatherette, and metal gold hardware. Besides the beautiful design, it is also practical because it has card and coin compartments, and a billfold.

    But what makes the piece truly special, Laurel revealed, is the embossed dedication “Designed for you” complete with his signature. And by the way, the wallet comes with a matching two-way tote.

    As for the Floral Pop, the designer was proud to share that he personally drew the collection’s colorful florals printed on the tanks and shorts, a bag set, and a set of undergarments.

    The collection also carries a set of gold-plated jewelry—earrings, necklace, bangle and ring—inspired by the laurel leaf.

    “One of my favorite pieces is the laurel ring—it is very personal. It is my family name, Laurel. If you look at it closely, the attention to detail is actually quite nice,” he explained.

    Fashion for all
    For all that he has made for the direct selling company, the designer is hopeful that he will be able to prove that “good design should be experience by everyone.”

    He elaborated, “It is part of my mantra that fashion must be democratic. I’ve never believed that style is a class system. That only those who are rich have the right to be stylish. We all have the right to be stylish. That has been my philosophy since day 1 so to be able to actually make it is wonderful.”

    Moreover, he noted that collaborating with brands that have mass appeal would not downgrade his brand but would even uplift it.

    He enthused, “The more people experience my brand, the more people will talk about it and share it.”

    With that, he also expressed confidence that his two col-lections will do well because of the quality and price points.

    “Hindi natin makakaila na ang Pilipino marunong humawak ng pera [We can’t deny that Filipinos know how to handle their money]. We won’t just spend it on something that is not of good value,” he noted.

    And because of that, he feels prouder of the fact that he would be able to help Avon ladies in earning money through his standout collections.

    “I hope this collection flies because I’ve seen how Avon really empowers women,” Laurel concluded.

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