100 Most Influential People in the Gulf: Making a Difference in Fashion
The fashion industry is notoriously cutthroat. One day you’re in, and the next day you’re out. But these Pinoys are here to stay! As prominent players in their respective niches, stylists, these guys are making the Filipino presence felt in a field that is both competitive and hugely diversified.
Creative stylist duo, Khel Recuenco, and Lester Ivan Cabatit A.K.A. The Metrosapiens, run an online hub for men’s fashion. While producing mainly style oriented content, their blog also includes hip flashes of travel and lifestyle as well a marketplace where people can shop their catalogue of curated looks.
Besides being able to style individuals, The Metrosapiens also give presentations to Filipino organizations regarding basic styling and image improvement. These experiences, where they provide support to their countrymen through their passion for fashion, is what they are most proud of. “We feel that most Pinoys tend to get overwhelmed when they hear the word ‘fashion,’ as it is something they cannot relate to – but it shouldn’t be like that.”
Lester and Khel both believe that how we present ourselves as people is not only a potent form of expression. They share: “Fashion dictates how we define things. The whole philosophy of wanting people to feel good because they are confident when they look good is what pushed the creation of The Metrosapiens.”
The effervescent Gweys Soriano is a certified personal stylist and personal shopper, as well as an experimental shoe and bag designer. Confidence, personality, and style are three words people often associate with this lady who has, of late, become quite a notable presence in Dubai’s fashion scene. Captivating the producers of Vogue Arabia, Harper’s Bazaar, and Hia Magazine with her vibrant style, Gweys expresses: “I believe that in my own little ways I inspire our fellow countrymen. It just proves that we Filipinos can stand out too.”
To become a name that rings familiar in an ever-diversifying industry, Gweys believes that individuals should be able to carve out their own identity, and foster connections with others in the business. She says, “I will not settle with being a reflection of others. Playing it safe never got anyone anywhere. The game is now truly about creativity, building relationships and what you bring to the table.”
Niche Modelling Agency
The U.A.E.’s first fully Filipino-owned modeling, production, and events agency, Niche Modeling Agency, was founded in 2017 both with the ambition to provide the market with local high caliber models and talents, and to challenge the negative generalizations associated with the industry and women in general.
Underlining the value of their work, CEO Glitzy Al Banna shares, “Through the years, agencies like ours have provided a lot of work opportunities, not only for models, but for photographers, stylists, hairstylists, makeup artists, etc. – many of whom are Filipinos. This is one of the reasons why we established our company. We were inspired to empower these gifted FIlipinos.”
For the past six months, Niche Modeling Agency composed of Ingrid Aureada (Co-Founder & COO), Florence Sitiong (Co-Founder & CMO), Mark Anthony Palabrica (Head Model Booker), Sean Kaiser Conte (Model Scout & Head of Resgistration), Mikaela Dayao (Social Media Manager), and Lors Del Leon Panganiban (Finance), have been working with big brands like Dior, Alexander Wang, Beaume et Merci, Amato Couture, and Michael Cinco. What’s more, their work has also graced magazine covers, as well as many fashion editorials.
Working with a vast network of models, Glitzy shares, “A successful model needs to have a good personality, a professional attitude, good knowledge about the industry, and would know how to represent themselves properly.”
Photography by: Alex Callueng and Mox Santos
Illustrado 100 was made possible by sponsors: Giordano, Liali Jewellery, Mitsubishi UAE- Al Habtoor Motors, Michael Cinco Couture, Mapúa Institute of Technology, Centro – Amwaj Rotana Hotel , Max’s Restaurant Middle East and GVER – Your Friendly MarketPlace for Sharing
Co-Sponsors: Herschel Supply Co., Rove Hotels, The Medical City – Dubai , Filipino Institute UAE, MPQ Tourism, JAMES Travel and Tours Dubai, Off the Hook Seafood Restaurant, The Original Barrio Fiesta Restaurant – Dubai and Tapa King UAE.
Read more Illustrado 100 on www.illustradolife.com