Currently dominating the fashion charts from Dubai to Manila, and even making their presence felt in New York, Los Angeles, London and other parts of the world are extraordinaire Filipino designers led by Michael Cinco, Ezra Santos and Furne One.  But aside from these three fashion virtuosos, there are certainly even more Pinoy names tripping up the glamour radar. Sherry Tenorio keeps up with the kings of couture and unveils the other names to watch in fashion.

Filipino Fashion Designers


It’s been a very busy couple of years for “the visored one” – the much raved about Michael Cinco.  Between his successful stints on the runways of Dubai and Manila, his dresses appearing on Hollywood red carpet events and music videos worn by the likes of Sofia VergaraBritney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga,  FergieParis HiltonDita Von TeeseMischa Barton even artists Chris Brown, and Will.I.Am, his TV appearances in America’s Next Top Model as well as Asia’s Next Top Model, and the launch of his scent, it’s been dizzying to keep up with the rise and rise of the ‘impalpable’ designer.

Filipino Fashion Designers: Michael Cinco

After this year’s memorable shows at the first season of Dubai’s Fashion Forward, his finale show at the Los Angeles Fashion Week F/W 2013 and just recently the Star Magic Ball in Manila, Michael is set to wow with his brand of couture at the Singapore Fashion Week, alongside French designers Stephane Rolland and Alexis Mabille, as well as Asian haute couture proponents Guo Pei from China and Yumi Katsura of Japan.

Filipino Fashion Designers: Michael Cinco


A member of the fashion royalty in Dubai, Bandoix Flores Nebria is known for creating stunning collections for Warda Haute Couture. However, aside from running the house as its Creative Director, the “classista” – as he is referred to by his peers, has been busy focusing on his new label, BFN Couture. The prêt-à-porter line promises to meet both high fashion standards and the need for practical indulgence.

Filipino Fashion Designers: Bandoix Flores Nebria

His pieces won praises in Philippine Fashion Week last year and without a doubt, his new collection is set to do the same. While preparing to surprise Dubai with gorgeous images of his BFN Couture collection, Bandoix is strategically planning his career, hoping that the universe will continue to take him to the right path.

Filipino Fashion Designers:Bandoix Flores


Another emerging name in UAE’s fashion market is the Cebu-born designer extraordinaire Aldwin “Jlo” Ornopia. Gracing Dubai’s fashion runway during previous editions of Dubai Fashion Fiesta, his recent collections are now seen splashed in fashion editorial pages of renowned magazines like Illustrado, Arabian Woman and Lamasat, to name a few.

This brilliant Filipino designer is considering a number of new ventures in the international front including a collaboration with a huge European company, an ensemble to be seen in one of America’s red carpet events, and dresses worn by Philippine’s local celebrities. It seems that there is just no stopping JLo. 

Filipino Fashion Designers: Aldwin Ornopia


When Elie Goulding was snapped by the paparazzi at the red carpet wearing a nude slinky spiked dress during the recently concluded MTV Music Awards, Dubai fashion watchers gasped in awe and knew that the dress was the creation of the celebrated Furne One creator of Amato Couture.  In December last year, the city’s fashion elite had another of those awestruck moments as the designer pulled of a show for Heidi Klum’s Germany’s Next Top Model in Atlantis at the Palm Jumeirah.  Move back to May of this this year, more gasps as Furne One displayed his “Circus of Good and Evil” collection of fierce pieces at Fashion Forward’s first season.  One of the most watched shows at Fashion Forward, Furne’s mélange of black leather and lace dresses accessorized with whips, chains and knives, and contrasting surreal white pieces punctuated with angel wings, certainly brought the house down.

Filipino Fashion Designers: Furne One

So it’s an understatement to say that Furne’s year has been simply “successful.”  With his clothes winning not only the runways of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Manila, London, Los Angeles, Miami and Perth, but also earning the love of top global performers like Beyonce, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Sherzinger, Kelly Rowland, Rita Ora and Shakira among others, one wonders what else is next for the One and Only.

Filipino Fashion Designers: Furne One Filipino Fashion Designers: Furne One


A veteran in fashion designing, with 11 years of creative experience, Leo Almodal finally bid goodbye to being under someone else’s name this year. Moving from Dubai back to Manila and ready to prove his worth in the highly competitive world of fashion, Leo welcomed the year with the birth of his own company and clothing line. Almoda is set to be launched in October this year. Leo compares the challenge of opening up your own atelier to nurturing a baby. There are other upcoming projects after this baby, which Leo says is just the beginning. But for now, he’d rather keep these other projects a secret to avoid “counting the eggs that haven’t hatched just yet.”

Filipino Fashion Designers: Leo Almodal


This year, Abu Dhabi-based designer Ruben Santos wowed Philippine fashion pundits with his return to the Philippine Fashion Week Grand Allure 2013 as the show’s finale.  There the designer showcased his edgy “The Nativity of Pearl” collection featuring elegantly silhouetted pieces fashioned with mollusk-shaped embellishments, in a monotone palette of white, silver and hints of gray.  The collection, showing-off the designer’s definite flair for drama and penchant for the edgy and avant garde, was a very strong follow-up to his first presentation at the PFW in 2011.

Back at the capital, Ruben continues to design one-of-a-kind-dresses for his exclusive clientele, living out his childhood dream borne out of his love for creating miniature dresses for dioramas when he was a child.  Though never to forget the strong pull of the homeland, Ruben looks forward to sharing his love for uniquely beautiful clothes in the world’s fashion capital someday soon.


Filipino Fashion Designers: Ruben Santos

Yen AB

 Working his way to the European fashion circuit is Yen AB, whose collections have been all the rage in the elite circles of the Middle East. Most of Yen’s collections have sold out, and the demand from Europe is rising. The creations of the House of Yen enchanted the critics in his finale show “The Prince’s Trust” at the London Fashion Week. Currently, the designer is poised to open a new boutique this October, conceptualize a new collection and an upcoming commercial that he is to direct himself.

Filipino Fashion Designers: Yen Ab


Ezra Santos continues his pursuit for perfection realized in his ultra-elegant designs made to delicately enhance the female form. His baroque ‘Definiendo El Amor’ collection received rave reviews during the first season of Dubai’s Fashion Forward this year.  The collection inspired by Gaudi, was even rumored to have caused tears from 3 overwhelmed female audiences during show.

Filipino Fashion Designers: Ezra Santos

Certainly not one to disappoint, and as if his previous year’s works featured in the catwalks of Dubai, Manila and New York were not perfection enough, Ezra who has clothed many a beautiful Arab women including the region’s star, Haifa Wehbe, as well as Britney Spears and Hollywood rebel Michelle Rodriguez, continues to be regarded and respected as one of the Kings of Couture in the emirates – a distinction he shares with fellow Filipinos Furne One and Michael Cinco.

This time around, the stylish denizens of Dubai await with bated breath as Ezra is set to showcase his new collection at Fashion Forward.

Filipino Fashion Designers: Ezra Santos Filipino Fashion Designers: Ezra Santos

Albert Andrada

The former fashion designer to the ruling family of the emirates of Fujairah (UAE), Albert Andrada is now making waves in Manila’s fashion circle. His royal credentials are certainly entrancing to the country’s fashion elite. After 20 years of fashion designing in the Middle East, 10 of which were served in the royal palace, the year 2013 has been pretty hectic for Albert, mostly filled with requests for custom-made evening and bridal gowns.

The Philippine press is keeping a close watch on Albert, waiting with bated breath for his next creation. After Albert’s successful finale show at last season’s Philippine Fashion Week, the critics fell in love with his pieces. In his solo show “Bridgette Bardot Forever” at the Sofitel Philippines Plaza Hotel, the press gave him nods of approval for his breathtaking ensembles which were “fit for a queen.”

Albert is preparing to reveal his new collection during Philippine Fashion Week this October and is also working on a special show together with luxury pearl makers Jewelmer.

Rocky Gathercole

Rocky Gathercole continues to rock the fashion world with the same eclectic and avant garde panache he displayed in New York, Miami and Los Angeles last year.

Rocky says the year 2013 started as a challenge, but he moved past it by pushing his boundaries. At the moment, he is working with the Chinese actress Bai Ling, who starred in Hollywood hits such as The Crow and Wild Wild West.  He also joins the rank of Michael Cinco, Furne One and Ezra Santos whose pieces have been worn by Hollywood A-listers, when global pop princess Britnes Spear’s donned his creation for the launch of her Vegas show “Piece of Me.”

Now based in Manila, Rocky is working on his clothing line as well as pieces for his movie and television project. Other design highlights of Rocky’s year include creating pieces for American Idol winner and No Airhitmaker, Jordin Sparks. As if these projects were not enough to fill his calendar, Rocky is also working on his launching show titled Asylum, Sinner/Saint in Los Angeles this October, as well as five more fashion shows including one opposite Rajo Laurel.


Filipino Fashion Designers: Leading a Fashion Revolution 



  1. Interesting. In the small Dubai/UAE world, how do they survive? How do they all get along? And with their ‘kalandian’ world, how to they negotiate the tricky mores of the more puritanical ‘muslim’ world?

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