MANILA, JANUARY 16, 2013 – Filipinos are obsessed with design. Don’t believe it? Just observe any of the festivals in the Philippines and you’re bound to see an explosion of colors and beautiful, eccentric design. Brian Tenorio, a Manila/New York-based fashion designer, talked about the Filipino design aesthetic and inspiration that has helped put the Philippines on the proverbial design map.
“Desire” and “love” are two words that repetitively crop up in any conversation with Tenorio. Subsequently, these two words best describe how Filipinos succeed in the design industry. “We have a lot of heart and we give ourselves to the design,” he said.
Tenorio also believes that regionally, Filipino design can hold well compared with other countries. And in light of the Philippines’ colorful history of colonization and migration, this can very well be true.
We have been colonized by the Spaniards for some 300 years. After that European, American and Asian countries followed suit. Despite their primarily selfish motives in coming to the Philippines, each of them have left behind a unique aesthetic that Filipinos can truly call our own, he explained. It is that mixture of influence from around the world combined with our innate passion for doing things well that resulted in a unique output, Tenorio added.
But the field of design is not without challenges, rejections and other assaults by so-called critics on the artist’s mental, emotional and physical wellbeing pose problems for continually churning out good work.
But Tenorio credits Filipinos’ success in the fickle world of design to an innate sense of humor and inclination to happiness.
As a country, the Philippines has had its share of challenges, from economic to physiological. We thrive very well because we choose to laugh at the hardships that try to devour us, Tenorio said.
“Happiness and hope are two components that work very well to help Filipinos get past challenges. We design because we believe it will be better for us and for our children, we design because we think it’s going to make us happier individually and as a country,” he added.
Tenorio is currently the international consultant for branding and design at Asian Development Bank. He also chairs the Designers for Development Network based in New York and hosts a design magazine TV show on GMA7, “Design Para sa Lahat”.
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