Vancouver Fashion Week S/S21 - Interview with Designer Jae Esmaine of Jaesmane

All Images by George Pimentel Photography
Jaesmane -

Brand Description -

Jaesmane is a experimental design house specializing in bespoke, tailored pieces that centers around ideas that are modern, classic and optimistic. The brand aims to give people a sense of emotional connection through storytelling, textiles that are carefully sourced and pieces that are thoughtfully crafted with the customer in mind. 

Bio -

Jae Esmane is a Fashion designer currently based in Vancouver, BC Canada. Jae grew up in the Philippines in a little beach province called Zambales. He moved to Manila at the age of 17 for university to study Architecture. After a year, Jae realized how much of a hands-on creative learner he is and further moved to Makati City to attend the School of Fashion and the Arts Design Institute in the Philippines, taking a 4-year degree program in Fashion Design with an Associate’s degree in Marketing and Merchandising. In 2015, Jae moved to Canada to further pursue his education and career in fashion, finishing in December 2017.His specializations include garment construction, manual and digital pattern drafting, art direction, collection development, textiles and surface treatments.

Interview -

Please share a bit about your journey to embrace fashion design as a career. Was it a dream from a young age, or did your passion come later?

It took a little time for me to finally allow myself to pursue fashion design as a professional career. Being raised in the Philippines, I grew up in a very academic household. I went to a science high-school because I felt like it would make my family happy. Pursuing a career in an arts and design field is not really seen as a serious profession in the environment I grew up in. 

Being a fashion designer wasn't really a dream that I had when I was younger. Although it was during science classes in high-school when I realized I didn't want to pursue anything science related. I got into the architecture program for a really good university back home because I wanted to do something 'design related' and also perceived as a 'real' profession. After a year, I realized how much of a hands on creative I was and pushed to enroll into a fashion school. 

Where did you learn your skills and why did you choose to study at this school? What was it like being there? What came easiest? What was hardest?

Initially, I attended School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA Design Institute) in Manila taking the BA in Fashion Design and Associate in Fashion Marketing program where I learned collection development and basic sewing and pattern drafting. However, it was at VCAD here in Vancouver where my sewing and pattern drafting skills were honed under the mentorship of Jason Matlo and Wenchee Liu. 

Learning the technical aspect of designing - garment construction and pattern drafting - was the easiest. It is very easy for me to see 3D shapes in 2D forms, and it is almost like entertainment for me to see if the pattern of a certain sleeve shape, for example, works. The challenging part, always, for me at least, is coming up with new ideas, and putting down ideas to conceptualize a collection in a way that is current but also maintains my core values and identity.

Who you are as a designer? What is your brand aesthetic? Describe your customer - the woman you design for. Who is she?

First and foremost, I would say, I am a tailor first, and a fashion designer second. Basically I am a Tailor who likes to portray my emotions and tell stories through clothes. I like creating shapes through cut-out pieces of paper and fabric. I like taking inspiration from stories of the past, music of the previous decades and the energy of the present. I create clothes for anyone who is socially aware, culturally educated, emotionally intelligent, has a great sense of humour, and ultimately has great style.

Readers would love to know more about the current capsule collection you showed at Vancouver Fashion Week. Can you describe it for us - aesthetic, fabrics, palette, silhouettes, inspiration, etc.? Do you have a favorite look in this collection?

My collection, appropriately titled Destination: Nowhere, is my attempt to disassociate with how dark and depressing 2020 is. Initially, I really wanted to make a collection that was heavily utilitarian inspired with pieces and a colour story reminiscent of military uniforms. Then I just got increasingly dark and my mental health was starting to decline. Good thing I managed to get myself out of that rut and remembered I have a great sense of humour and much more optimism about the future. I completely changed the story and inverted the dark imagery into something more fantastical and optimistic, thinking what if we could all just leave Earth and fly somewhere out in the universe with no destination at all. 

With that in mind, I expect months and probably years of space travel will be boring and people will probably just end up just lounging and working out round the clock to hold onto the last remaining fibers of our mental health, which, ironically, is what we were already doing during the entire months of quarantine. I tried to show my tailoring with the athletic pieces including the cotton-spandex knit crop tops, the tailored white gym shorts, and especially through the dress pants, tailored short shorts and red camouflage co-ord.

How can interested readers buy your designs?

Readers can send me a message through my website or through my instagram @jaesmane.

Links -