Interview by John Legaspi
Dressing up the top leading men and matinee idols of the country, designer Ziggy Savella redefines the dapper look with his conceptual pieces, merging utility and style in one garment.
From his collaboration with local brand Bench and online shopping site Zalora to his reimagined ‘60s romantic looks and love for the utilitarian aesthetic, Savella created a brand that pushes men’s wardrobe into something that is visually thought-provoking.
In celebration of his decade-long stay in the fashion industry, Savella shares with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle his views on fashion, his life as a designer, and what to expect from his 10th anniversary presentation.
Your brand is known for menswear pieces with a unique perspective, whether in shape, proportion, or fabrication. What does it take to be creative on men’s clothing?
To be frank, my design process stems from satisfying my own taste in fashion. I like making clothes that fit my personal aesthetic or, in other words, clothes that I can wear. It doesn’t matter if it’s tailor fit for a man or a woman. It’s more of sharing my personal style with other people, but still making sure it merges with their own.
Did you always see yourself becoming a designer?
I never saw myself venturing into fashion. It all just came from my fascination with the idea of dressing myself up at an early age. I started designing because I just wanted to make clothes that would fit my personality better. It’s a given fact that we all want to express our individuality in different ways. In my case, I just chose to do it with clothes.
How would you define your style?
Over the course of 10 years, I always make sure I strike a balance between personal style and ease. I give importance to practicality and making sure that one can be able to make the most out of an outfit. I don’t necessarily look up to trends because I want my clothes to be a staple and have more utility, rather than just be part of a hype.
What is your usual process in drafting a collection?
The process has never been linear. I don’t follow a seasonal narrative. The truth is, I usually start to craft a new collection when I feel the pressure to be relevant and remain within people’s radar.
I see this as a challenge, especially with the emergence of new designers and the rising popularity of fast fashion brands.
Style shouldn’t be defined by just one perspective. It should be innate and not be dictated on by any sort of trend or hype.
Tell us about your 10th anniversary collection.
In terms of conceptualization, I spent almost a year coming up with ideas. Execution-wise, it took me two months to produce 10 different looks for this new collection.
I took inspiration from organic materials seen in architectural interiors. The goal is to present a play on varied prints, lines, and textures, with the use of wood grain as primary visual. It alludes to the endurance of wood and lumber, a quality that relates to my brand and its promise in the years to come. As a commitment to the design aesthetic that my clothes have been identified with, athletic details and tailored elements are still mostly evident in the collection.
In general, I want to showcase clothes made through a relatively different design process, but are still in line with what I’ve been doing in the last decade.
What were challenges of creating the collection?
The biggest challenge for me was experimenting on new design techniques, particularly creating graphic patterns and applying them onto fabric. I really wanted to explore an unfamiliar territory, design-wise, because in the past I’ve always made clothes from ready-made materials.
In recent years, we saw men on the red carpet and the streets being playful with their style choices. Where do you think men’s dressing is headed?
I think it’s good that men are now more empowered in terms of experimenting with different fabrics, textures, and silhouettes. Clothes now are more fluid and gender-less. Gone are the days that there were specific gender confines that we followed in terms of fashion. This just means fashion is really for everyone.
How would you define a gentleman’s style?
This is a trick question because, in my opinion, style shouldn’t be defined by just one perspective. It should be innate and not be dictated on by any sort of trend or hype.
Where can people buy your garments?
We are opening a diffusion line called Z’S (read as ‘zees’) for more basic and ready-to-wear items. This will be officially launched on my 10th anniversary presentation.
Photography: Ronan Capili @47ronan
Styling: Poy Villamonte @poyvillamonte
Grooming: Elaine Lim @elainechinglim
Model: Philippe Escalambre @philippemagalona