Humility is always in fashion

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GEORGE VAIL KABRISTANTE

RTW (ready to wear) apparel killed off, so to speak, the cut-to-fit business of even among snooty Manila fashionistas.

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With the notion to “express oneself,” it virtually shaken off the fashion sense of the trendy and tailored dressers of the aging baby boomers straightaway to the dawning of the era of the millennials comfortable in their minimalist, freestyle, mix-and-match outfits.

It was during this atmosphere in 1998 when the name of struggling fashion designer Boyet Fajardo rose to fame and fortune, lording over the industry through fashionable extra, plus-size and ready-made clothes in the top malls throughout the country.

His background in fashion merchandising from his stint abroad created a high demand for the label named after him. He hit it big as if picking easy money from trees. In his mind getting filthy rich was his way of getting back to those who put him down, ridiculed his designs, and even sued him in court for a baseless accusation of thievery.

Feeling capricious and on top of the world, he would on his birthdays lavish himself with ostentatious RSVP invites to five-star hotel parties with select high society in full regalia.

Caveat was a frequent guest to the celebration of life to the once poor boy from Pampanga who happens to be a big though secret fan of the films of directors Celso Ad Castillo, Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal. At the snap of a finger he would fly in and out of the country with a sycophantic entourage.

In 2009, his name crash-landed the pages of the social and tri-media over his spat with a Duty Free salesman who refused to sell him bags and shoes because he could not show another ID aside from his hefty credit card. The jetset made the salesman kneel before him to appease his bloated ego.

Coming to his senses, he apologized to the man and offered amends. But TV and the entertainment media bashed him to shame and appealed to customers to boycott his shops, affecting his sales yet continued in his arrogance. He still had much money to shield him; fear of hubris was not in his vocabulary either.

In 2013, after going under the knife for congenital glaucoma, doctors declared that his blindness was irreversible, informing him that no cure or miracle could return his sight. He tried to commit suicide several times. His bank account got depleted, even losing hope. Nevertheless he went on designing, keeping his blindness from his clients and some friends to keep his business.

Strangely in his blindness his heart saw a different kind of light. On bended knees he would kneel at the altar of the Blessed Mother of Lourdes in Amoranto everyday for forgiveness to atone for his sins. His repentance doggedly came with serving a foundation for the blind and an NGO for the disabled as he was himself born with a deformed right arm.

While listening to a health program on radio last year, he heard of a certain doctor, Minguita Padilla, specializing in cataract and glaucoma. He sought the heaven-sent specialist in her clinic at St. Luke’s Taguig.

After going through a laser operation, the miracle that he fervently prayed for was answered. He has totally regained his eyesight and the great sinner in him perhaps was forgiven by God.

Healed as well of his laminated heart and soul and finding once more his lost eyesight, Angelino “Boyet” Fajardo, now 56, swears to serve and love God above all.

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