Jasper Garvida is an established Philippines-born fashion designer. He made a loud and sassy entrance to the London –and international—Fashion arena back in 2004 when his graduation collection hit the front cover of the Telegraph. One could say that life has always been favourable to him but luck alone is not enough to make a success on competitive fashion market. Jasper’s success story is a story of immense dedication to his craft and a hard work.
The Ikon team -myself and Editor In Chief Joe Alvarez– met Jasper Garvida for the interview at his cosy and brightly lit studio in East London.
Beaming with big welcoming smile Jasper met us outside the studio located on the first floor of large brick office building. Golden shades and high leather boots are finishing off ultimate Garvida style. It’s well after six PM but the studio, comprising of two rooms and airy porch way, is still filled with people; Jasper admits they probably won’t wrap up before ten at night.
First things first, we get introduced to the entire team –people skills seem to be one of Jasper’s fortes- and once seated next to his latest collection, we get to the interview.
‘We are extremely busy, working on resort collection now,’ starts designer, ‘the caftans will go to the Middle East market.’ Expanding worldwide with his own label Éthologie is Jasper’s ultimate goal. He continues: ‘I am also in the middle of designing SS17 collection and -having opted out of Baselworld this year- I have some time to concentrate on expanding the uniform side.’ The widely acclaimed designer explained he has created over 350 couture dresses for Switzerland luxury watches show over the last two years: ‘I can do it no more; this is just too tiring. Having to wake up at 5 am in the morning and style all front of house models – about 60 of them. I did it every day for three weeks during the show.’
But even being grateful for the opportunity and proud of his work for Baselworld, Jasper never forgot of focusing on expanding his label. The resilience and dedication is something he has always had.
It is with a smile that Jasper recalls his teens, ‘I was dreaming of cutting patterns while cutting meat in a small butcher shop in Canada’ he laughs. Garvida admits that it all started with photography when he was eighteen and very soon realised that he enjoyed designing clothes for models.
‘It was then I decided to enroll myself in fashion college. I kept myself busy with amateur shows at the time but Toronto didn’t give me the platform or recognition; it is very hard to be a fashion designer in Canada. So when one day -after my graduation- I was flicking through British Vogue in my break room I saw the article mentioning Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design. I applied immediately and I had only one week to prepare my submission.’
‘I was dreaming of cutting patterns while cutting meat in small butcher shop in Canada’
‘At the time I didn’t realise what St. Martins was; all I knew was that Galliano, McCartney, McQueen went there and if I wanted to take it seriously I just had to go there.’
Taking risks in the name of his passion seemed to come easily to Jasper. He continued, ‘I was only nineteen when I called my mum and said I am going to London. She was very supportive… a week later I was in London entirely on my own. Without her support, I wouldn’t be doing what I do.’
‘I was only nineteen when I called my mum and said I am going to London. She was very supportive… a week later I was in London entirely on my own. Without her support, I wouldn’t be doing what I do.’
Yet another seemingly ‘risky’ decision Jasper made in a blink of an eye when – a few years later- he had to choose between taking on a job in Savile Row or taking part in Project Catwalk, where he eventually came as a winner. ‘I remember thinking that I should do what would bring me closer to my dream of setting my own label’, says fashion designer. ‘At the time I had a good understanding of what is involved in running own label and preparing a show but I didn’t feel I was business savvy at all.’
Ever since graduating Jasper was working for big designer names -John Galliano, Alexander Mc Queen, and Vivienne Westwood- along with working on his own small collections and showcasing during amateur fashion week. Winning Project Catwalk has indeed put Jasper on the fashion map of the world. ‘Who could imagine that the young ex-butcher boy would debut with his very own professional collection at ON/OFF during London Fashion Week.’ Speaking of his award Jasper recalls how unreal it felt to hold a £25K cash prize. So much so, that he left to check in his clutch for a few weeks. ‘I just didn’t feel it was mine and I only decided to use it when my mum phoned me from Canada and said her business is going through a hard time. Just the same as she, without hesitation, supported me in my decision to go to London I without hesitation gave all my award to my mum. So what I really got from Project Catwalk was recognition.’
‘Just the same as my mum, without hesitation, supported me in my decision to go to London I without hesitation gave all my award to my mum. So what I really got from Project Catwalk was recognition.’
Jasper Garvida now runs his own label Éthologie that is slowly but surely expanding worldwide. A little Nutella jar with customised name Éthologie printed on the label shows just how close is label to all involved and how creative and buzzing is his office. Jasper Garvida is a very hands-on business owner; he admits with a smile that he hasn’t even got his own desk in the office – his working ‘desk’ is sewing machine in the next room.
Jasper Garvida is not only a talented designer but also a great role model for ‘young generation’. He enjoys mentoring apprentices and openly admits that there is something to learn from every one of them. He interviews every intern in person and the main trait he is after is ambition and determination. ‘I am not searching for someone who knows everything but for someone who is driven and passionate. I always remember that I used to be a butcher once and if a butcher can do what I do, then anyone can.’
‘I live my dream,’ he states, with his body language supporting this truly loud statement, ‘whether I am working on my new show or making teas for my team, I acknowledge that this is what I have always wanted and I love every aspect of my work. But if someone would ask me what is my favourite design I have created I would probably say there is none. Everything is a learning curve and I take new learning from everything. The main problem we all face is the lack of time so we must be inventive when facing this challenge and embracing it.’
It’s true that Jasper Garvida doesn’t need an introduction in London, his designs were featured in Vogue Italia, Russian Vogue, ELLE, i-D, V magazine, Dazed and Confused, The Telegraph, Grazia to name just a few publications, but designer admits there is still long way to go before he will achieve his ultimate goal and write himself in a history next to great names like Karl Lagerfeld, Galliano, McQueen. As to me, I have no doubt that it is only a matter of time.
‘I live my dream. Whether I am working on my new show or making teas for my team, I acknowledge that this is what I have always wanted and I love every aspect of my work. But if someone would ask me what is my favourite design I have created I would probably say there is none. Everything is a learning curve and I take new learning from everything. The main problem we all face is the lack of time so we must be inventive when facing this challenge and embracing it.’