Balang Araw with Cheska Federizon, R2R's Apparel Designer
Cheska Federizon, our Apparel Designer in Rags2Riches (R2R), talks about her R2R story, the clothing designs of the Balang Araw Collection, and what she looks forward to in the future.
How did you get started in R2R?
In 2018, I started as a design intern at R2R. The introduction of R2R On Repeat (R2R's clothing line) and the release of its first collection, The Starter Capsule, unfolded in front of my eyes. My huge involvement in this milestone project jump-started my passion for strategic and intentional designing.
A month before graduating college, R2R absorbed me and made me its Clothing and Apparel Designer, and since then, my young and dynamic spirit has produced a total of five whopping collections for R2R. This, indeed, is a proud moment for a 21-year-old designer.
What excites you the most as a designer?
Ever since I finished fashion school, I've always wanted to produce clothes that are in parallel with the fashion sustainability movement and to create designs that have a function and a well-thought plan. I wanted to become a designer with purpose, and because of that, I pursued working for R2R.
From an environmental perspective, engineering multi-wear pieces gives people a chance to practice long-time utilization. And in terms of ethical values, it is beneficial to artisans from urban poor communities.
This industry might be intimidating for the young and new, but that state is actually the most exciting part: coming up with a concept from scratch, actualizing it, and seeing the fruit of your labor being appreciated. Having the ability and edge to make an impact to the Philippine fashion industry is definitely a rewarding experience.
What is the most inspiring thing about coming up with the Balang Araw collection?
What's inspiring about the Balang Araw collection are the team and artisans behind it. They are the backbone of R2R, representing optimism, hope, and resiliency, and are the reason why I create products just as inspiring as them. During these uncertain and unfortunate times, it's good to move forward to a better future, and the core essence of this collection is just to hold onto what that someday might be.
What is the most challenging?
Working from home as a clothing designer has been difficult, since it's an intimate job. I have to be in command and to manage the sample makers in order to achieve good results. Instructing via video calls is not the same as doing so in person, but during this difficult time, we must explore and learn how to be creative and how to communicate remotely.
After launching the Aruga collection, we implemented a set of procedures that are now routinely practiced and have been applied to the development of the Balang Araw collection.
What is your “Balang Araw”––that day when times are better? How will you spend it and who will you spend it with?
This pandemic has been helping me reach self-actualization and has taught me a lot of things, but I still desire to go back and to relive the "old" normal––that's my balang araw: surrounding myself with positive energy from the environment beyond the four walls, traveling and immersing myself in different cultures, etc. I just miss my urban hustle regime of working during the day with the R2R team and artisans and socializing with my friends at night.