This is the 6th in a series of reprints of Behind the Scenes articles. If you haven't looked at the others, it's well worth your time. All are professionals with over 20 years in the industry who share their journey and offer a window into how the industry has changed. This article on Mendoza from January 2011 is by a truly talented writer who was also a great source of support for me. I hope will she continue to put pen to paper.
it's up to me to define and enhance this natural beauty so she feels her very best and
is confident with her own special style. This one-on-one relationship with my clients is
why I am passionately committed to custom-work."
by guest writer Natasha Bhatnagar Chaube
|Photo by Wayne Mah|
Growing up in Manila, Mendoza's early encounters with fashion took place at a time when Manila was on a par economically with most other major cities in Asia (Tokyo aside). Fashion was part of the daily culture. Quality fabrics from around the world were readily available to dressmakers, tailors and couturiers. He claims that with all this at one's fingertips, it was easy to be creative. During his college years Mendoza's clothes were made by a local tailor. The clothes were basic and functional in design, but he believed he could do better. By day he would go to college and learn about finance and architecture, by night he would learn to sew. Realizing his passion, he entered fashion school, but found it was not a great match. "I found fashion schools too slow. Everyone had to wait for the slowest student. Six months into the course, I spoke with some of my instructors about whether they would consider working for an 18-year-old who wanted to set up a beautiful shop. They agreed, and that was my fashion education. Everything else has been experience, intuition, talent and, above all, common sense."
|Real Wedding 2009 - Photographers Camille and Chadwick Bensler|
|Unforgettable by Kim Christie|
|Real Brides - No credits on Website|
In Mendoza's spare time he enjoys sustainable gardening, landscaping and developing eco-friendly urban dwellings. "In everything there is the potential to improve and enhance through design. That goes for both the human body and the space it occupies." His advice to up-and-coming Vancouver designers? Distinguish between growing a viable business over the long haul and trying to achieve celebrity status as the `in designer of the moment'.
Mendoza's success can be attributed to his patience, hard work, instinctive creativity and business savvy. "To develop a business requires patience to evolve step-by-step, gaining vast experience with people's bodies and psychology, clothing-construction techniques, personnel, business management and cost-effective advertising. Getting into the limelight, working with social media, putting on fashion shows, etc., does not necessarily lead to a viable sustainable business!! More often than not, I have observed, it goes nowhere without the evolution I just described. Above all, keep growing and expanding your range as a designer - a one-trick pony has a short life span in our fast-track world." Words of wisdom from a man of long tenure.
To view Manuel Mendoza's stunning work, log onto www.manuelmendoza.com or visit his store at B-2, 698 Seymour Street.