Rafe Totengco - RAFÉ NY, Filipino

"I thought that that was the ultimate coup because it was our country acknowledging the fact that fashion is an industry that can contribute. It's not just about medicine, politics, or agriculture." - Rafe Totengco

(Flair in the City) - Rafe Totengco is one Filipino who made it big in the international fashion business. You may remember him from Schizo, a clothing line under Sari-Sari Store back in the day. In 1989, he decided to pack his bags and move to the Big Apple. He studied at New York's Fashion Institute and Technology. Soon after, his vision finally became a reality. Today, Rafe NY is a brand many celebrities patronize.

rafe new york

Here's Suze Yalof Schwartz, (Glamour’s executive fashion editor-at-large) interview:

Where do you get inspiration for your designs?

I'm inspired by daily life. I'm constantly watching girls on the street in every city I travel to. I always have my camera on me and I'm constantly shooting away. A movie, an art show, an exhibit in a museum, something I bought in the flea market, a book, someone I just met, a great song - all these things inspire me. I'm a bit of a sponge and I really listen, look, and absorb everything I can. Nothing escapes me. You never know where these influences turn up.

What are the big trends for shoes and handbags for the summer and the fall?

Small and large clutches in a variety of materials, from snake skin to lasered leather to prints - girls are crazy about our clutches. Mid-heel wedges have been huge for us because you can walk all day in them. Our straw bags were also a hit. Anything fun and whimsical always sells for us in the summer. We're seeing patent continuing for Fall, but I've updated it in animal prints, washed metallics, animal printed hair, calf is already a classic and snake skin again in both shoes and bags.

What is the best part about your job?

To see my two dimensional sketch transformed into a three dimensional object and then seeing it on women on the street.

The worst?

When something doesn't sell and stores want you to take it back.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to become a designer?

You need two things: persistence and confidence. People are always going to doubt you until you prove yourself. Make sure you know who your customer is, show to the buyers on time, price your product to sell, make sure everything you make is made well, deliver on time and always try to get as much press as you can. Without press you're invisible to the rest of the world.

What's your favorite piece in the collection right now?

The Rivoli washed metallic Lindsay satchel; I love the new shape and the versatility of metallic. It's young, fun, and goes straight from day to night.

Rafe Sightings : Celebrities
Rafe Sightings : Everyday
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+ comments + 2 comments

September 15, 2007 at 7:00 PM

Oh. I see you quoted me here. :)

By the way, I do love your blog!!

September 15, 2007 at 7:02 PM

Oh and I'll link to your blog. Hope that's okay. :)

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