Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 2014 THE FILIPINO-AMERICAN STORY: Fashion Designer and Styled to Rock Contestant Andre Soriano

"It takes a village to help a village"... that is what Andre had said when he decided to do a fashion show at THE FILIPINOS,a  benefit show for haiyan survivors, sponsored by SeaWorld in December 14, 2013.

It was very unfortunate that this calamity happened in our home country the Philippines but it has given us an opportunity to pool our resources together to help haiyan surivors and it was because of this event that I have gotten to know a beautiful and extremely talented person like Andre.

Once you knew what you wanted to be, how did you prepare and make it happen?
At an early age, my family has always surrounded me by art, music, theater, architecture and fashion. Migrated from the Philippines at the age of 15, I was fascinated how there is so much culture in United States of America, I love clothes so I decided to pursue that American Dream to be a Fashion Designer at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco. It's one thing to be a Designer, so I went to Renaissance Entrepreneur Center for Business to learn the ropes on how to run a business. I was so excited then finally opened up my first store in San Francisco.

How has Styled to Rock influenced your career going forward? 
"Styled To Rock" is a Fashion Reality competition with Executive Producer Robyn "Rihanna" Fenty that airs every Friday 8/7 central on Bravo. In every episode, an A-List Celebrity comes to the studio and each contestant designs clothes for them.  There are very big names attached to the show such as Kylie Minogue, Miley Cyrus, Carly Ray Jepsen, Kelly Osborne to name a few. I have done a lot of fashion shows in San Diego, and Rihanna and her team did their research and found me. I was stoked! I could hardly speak and (was) at the verge of tears just to get this phone interview. As far with my career moving forward, I take things one day at a time. Life is full of surprises and "Styled To Rock" is such an amazing opportunity and ultra-blessed and grateful for being part of it!

What look or theme inspired your 2014 collection?
Hollywood always gravitate my mind when it comes to Fashion. I have always been inspired by Old Hollywood Glamour, like Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marlene Dietrich for their timeless look. Just being on the show with "Styled To Rock" and have met Rihanna and other celebrities, I decided that my collection "Punk De Luxe" Pre-Fall 2014, Rihanna as my muse, will be inspired by young Hollywood glamour and young music artists. I had an incredible opportunity to showcase my work at Los Angeles Style Fashion Week, It was a BLAST!

Do you gravitate toward certain materials for your work?
It really depends on the Collection. Every time I am in a Fabric Store and Michael Levine is one of my favorites in Los Angeles, I feel like I'm in a candy store. There are so many delicious fabrics and I want to take the whole store home.

If you could only name one person who inspired you the most in this industry, which would it be?
I admire each talented and amazing designer on this planet. I cannot pick one because each individual fashion designer has their different design aesthetics. It’s Inspirational.

I saw your work with Acura, what are some other goals for this brand moving forward?
I normally specialize in Custom-Made Bridal and Evening Gowns, however, I just launched my Women's and Men's Ready to wear collection P/F2014 during Los Angeles Style Fashion Week. It is my new interpretation of this day of age on what's HOT now.

"My FIRST time meeting Kylie Minogue ,

When and from where did you move here and why? WHERE DID YOU MOVE HERE FROM?
We moved to San Diego in 2006 because my partner is a general contractor and moved his business to La Jolla. I have my storefront at the Excelsior District in San Francisco and living at the Presidio.  Just for change, my partner had an offer to move in San Diego because there is a lot of building that needed to be retrofitted, which is one of his expertise, so we decided to look for a place. We found this cute little humble abode in La Mesa and we fell in love with it. Meanwhile, back in 2008, I didn't know anyone in San Diego and my partner told me, "Why don't you venture around San Diego and go shopping at Fashion Valley", and so I did. I did not know anyone in San Diego and while I was shopping, I saw Neiman Marcus, which is one of my favorite places to shop in San Francisco, and I applied, since I closed my store and moved here. It took me 3 hours of interview from the Store Manager, Human Resources Manager and the couture manager, Ms. Jeannie Campanella, whom I love and a good friend, and they hired me.  I have met the most affluent people in San Diego while working at Neiman Marcus and then promoted as Couture Specialist in the Couture Department, and I loved it! Now, as a San Diegan, we have friends all over the country that visit us, and of course, they love the city and the people of San Diego.

I was actually in Milpitas High School when I have my first experience as a Fashion Designer. I was 18 and learn how to sew in my sewing class. There was an opportunity in our class to have a Fashion Show at Milpitas Community Center and I was with most of my friends that was also aspiring designers and participated in this community show. It was so exciting especially when you were a teenager to participate in a community event.  I made a green stretch velvet dress with lace sleeves and lace peek-a-boo on the upper hip that was showcased on the runway and to my surprise, one of the guest in the audience love the dress and my first ever sale in this field was bought for  the price tag of $50.00.  I was so happy and at the same time that she loved it.  Little does she know that this would be the first Andre Soriano vintage design? I hope she reads this article :-).
I have done Fashion Show's in San Diego and Rihanna and her team did research and found me. I was stoked! It actually happened in the morning of November 2012 when my manager Manoj Sharma ask me, "hey, there is a new reality series by Rihanna, did you want to submit your work?" I told him, "Well, why don't we talk about it when you get home".  Then, It was around 6:30pm and then while Manoj was in the restroom, he never answer restricted phone calls but he did this time, "hello, may I speak to Andre Soriano?" Manoj "yes, my I know who's calling?" It's Rihanna's casting staff on the phone, Styled To Rock". Manoj quickly went downstairs, even forgot to flush, and with excitement gave me the phone.  I could hardly speak and at the verge of tears just to get this phone interview. And so there it is, the anticipation took almost a year just to be where we are at today. Life is incredible and full of surprises! 

Did you get to meet Rihanna? If so what was that like? PLEASE GIVE US MORE DETAILS.
Meeting Rihanna was incredible! I get to kiss her hand and she is such a delicate powerful lady.  I was almost in awe and didn't know what to say. It's one of those moments in life that you were like...speechless. It was amazing to have met her and other celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Kylie Minogue, Pharrell Williams, Supermodel Erin Wasson, to name a few. It was incredible!

Where do you work from, home or a studio? Please describe your work space. 
I have a studio in La Mesa where I worked at. I have apprentices and independent contractors working for me. I am ultra-blessed for having such and incredible team in all angles.  After doing Los Angeles Style Fashion Week, we have a lot of potential and prospective investors that are approaching us, which we are reviewing right now. 

What do you hope you get from being on the show? 
I have always been fascinated with Hollywood. I always position my work towards Celebrities. My last collection 2012 was Old Hollywood Glamour like Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelley, Jean Harlow to name a few. Now, being in the Rihanna's Styled To Rock Show, she is actually my muse for my Punk De Luxe 2014 Pre-Fall Collection. Young Hollywood, Edgy, Avant-Garde, Demure and Sophisticated. It's really fun and exciting doing this collection.

What do you think of the style in San Diego? Too casual, beachy, perfect? Please explain. 
In Sunny San Diego, There is actually diversity as far in clothing.  Yes there's casual, beachy, but when San Diegans dressed up, it's to the nine. I love the night life and different pockets of neighborhoods. San Diego is definitely stylish when it comes to fashion.

What are some easy ways people can spruce up a boring on plain outfit? 
It is always essential to have and accessory, a nice hand bag and it really depends where you are going. For daytime, a nice two inch heels with an A-line dress to go out for a coffee with your friends. for the afternoon, you can throw in a nice little bolero jacket along with it and as evening goes going to a play or theater, you can also incorporate a pair of gloves with a dramatic hat. It just really depends on the occasion that you are going to. And then, that's when the fun really begins

America's Next Top Models Kiara Belen & Monique Victoria supported Andre Soriano
 at The Filipinos benefit show night by walking the runway

More of Andre:

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