Wednesday, March 09, 2016


Last February, I was blessed to come across an open invitation to anybody who's willing to participate in an intimate evening with a designer. 

As I signed up and was representing my own blog site, I found myself having an opportunity to know how Hong Kong owns a great deal of commitment to the art of design.

Raffles School of Continuing Education offers three paths to success:
1) Raffles International College
2) Raffles Business Institute
3) Raffles Design Institute.

working stations
And I was able to see what Raffles Design Institute has to offer.

Being an early bird to the event, I was given a personal tour by one of their staff, Kelvin Yeung, of the entire workplace since they were still waiting for the other guests to come. I was explained of how each room was set to cater to a student designer's demand. As for a fashion designer specifically, there's a room for cutting textiles and they are spacious and complete with whatever tool you need. Sewing is next so there's another room for that sufficed with mannequins and complete with a line of machines. If you want to test your product's commercial edge, there's a photography room to experiment with different backdrops to know what's best in highlighting the design and style. I must say, in terms of facilitative learning, they are pretty much efficient. Of course, Raffles Design Institute not only holds that much learning facilities but also, a superb faculty.

Proof of this greatness is a designer named, Grace C.Y. Lam, who was mentored in Raffles. She is going to showcase her evening wear collection in Vancouver Fashion Week this March 14 until the 20th. She will be representing Hong Kong in the said event. And as a newly emerging designer, this is quite a leap to take.

Grace C.Y. Lam is an alumna of Raffles Design Institute. Because of her unique taste and style, the institute decided to feature her works to inspire designer students. She was a graduate of law that turned fashion designer, a walking epitome of an empowered woman of this era. She is a mother of one and she had found the sense of achievement she'd been longing for in pursuing a career in design with the aid of Raffles Design Institute.
with Grace CY Lam, the designer herself
Guided all the way by her mentor, Mr. Stefan Orschel-Read, the institute's Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing Programme Director, and her dad for a sole investor, Grace had achieved putting up a collection for the whole world to see. Her designs focused on detail and rich fabrics that aim to bring out the beauty of each piece. All of her clothes are made up of small pieces of handcrafted art. And her collection somewhat represent the modern goth. There are people who might find her sense of style too deep or where a designer's inspiration comes from but I admired it. In fact, I am in awe with her creativity. 

with Mr. Stefan Orschel-Read,
Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing Programme Director,
Raffles Design Institute
Grace's workbook consisted of footnotes,
drawings, cut outs and swatches.
Her collection, called, Marie Van Goethem, was inspired by her trip in Paris. She got hold of the sacred heart that speaks of a human's inner connectivity to God and she combined it with the sensuality in every ballet dancer's gracious movements. Such Parisian concepts fed her imagination and from there, she translated everything into her workbook. This very workbook was shared during the session and it was a busy one. It's amazing to have a glimpse of how she had worked with each design. Swatches of each textile and fabric were very distinct to each design. She played with various materials and mismatched with what perfectly goes with what. Her choices were extraordinary and she hailed a lot of layers because one thing that she noticed with evening gowns is that, it's too limiting and straining. For her own designs, she infused flow and it has got to breath on its own. 

Consulting Stefan with every idea she has in mind, Stefan warned her of the complexity of putting together an evening gown collection. He didn't miss a thing in warning her that there are certain expectations. Him, for one, thought that it's got to be a whole new collection and that the least that he wanted was to look at yet, another typical line up. Secondly it's got to be wearable. But Grace conformed to these expectations and more that's why she made it in Vancouver.

Truly, creating something is hard. Putting up a collection was another story. She emphasised on how challenging it had been for her being a mom and juggling things from meeting the deadlines, handcrafting almost everything, having rained on during the photoshoot and in the end, finding models, partners and investors to showcase it; each had shared their own load on making it happen. Nevertheless, it was a success. The hard work paid off. She was able to make her long time dream come true. She was proud to say that she may not be that young like the other designers but it's never too late to achieve what you've been longing to do. It's just important to stay focused and determined. And she was proud to say that it was hers and literally, she made it with her bare hands.

I have been exposed to the fashion industry thru my sister since I was in college. She is an alumna of John Robert Powers and she had joined the Search for Supermodel Philippines. With that little of an understanding, I appreciate this event that Raffles Design Institute had opened to people. It gives expectators a different level of appreciation to a designer's craft. Fashion is a way to express for many people. We always find an excuse to dress up thru gatherings and events. And yet, we are limited to a superficial understanding of how something was created.

this was my sister, Khrista Dalino during her modelling days
Fashion Week, Makati
On top of all these good news, Raffles Design Institute extends its 3-year degree bachelor courses to Interior Design, Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing and Multimedia Design. Short courses are offered too with Fashion Design, Creative Classics, Interior Design, Media and Communication, Apps and Mobile Design, Entrepreneurship and Development. This information was mind blowing to me because I'm always amazed with the people behind "any" design. To those of you who have an inclination to designing anything, perhaps, this is the place for you. Raffles also offer workshops to let you become aware of your inclination. So, it's good to check their website every now and then for updated events, requirements for admission and necessary application forms to aid you with your utmost interest.

Don't be afraid to pursue your dreams. With facilitative institutions like Raffles Design Institute, you're just one click away in making things happen.

Related posts:
1. LIVING THE DREAM - check out how these entrepreneurs had gone up to making it happen in the limelight.
2. 2015 BEST PHOTOS - this is a line up of photos that remind me of how good and fruitful my 2015 was in terms of career, family and investments.
3. ON-THE-GO IN WINTER - Check out my polyvore for an upbeat woman of 2016!

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