We’re suckers for stories of Filipinos who are making a name for themselves, whatever the industry. Well, when it comes to fashion, there is one particular Filipina who is really making it big abroad with her quirky designs that have already been seen during New York Fashion Week.
Tracy’s story is an incredibly one as she became pregnant with her son while she was still in college taking BS Clothing Technology at the University of the Philippines during which time she lived in a home for troubled pregnancy single mothers. Still, that didn’t stop her from finishing school, even eventually bringing her son to school with her and breastfeeding him in class. Her classmates helped take care of her son as she joined inter-school fashion design contests to strengthen her resume.
Things got even harder when her son was diagnosed with brain cancer. Still, they kept fighting and her son was healed 10 months later. Soon, she was on her way to Brooklyn Fashion Week with invites to Vancouver Fashion Week, Dubai International Fashion Week, and Battle of Designers in Toronto, all of which are opportunities that Tracy says she never got here in Manila.
Her most recent collection, her Spring-Summer 2019 Collection entitled ‘Pinoy Pop Life’ is, according to Tracy, an autobiographical excerpt of her life growing up in Manila where she was born and raised.
“Over the years that I had been privileged to represent my country in various fashion occasion, personal travels and research I have learned to appreciate the colorful hodgepodge of Filipino Culture that I represent,” she shares. “I am a Filipina. The smile in my face that lights up any room and that joyful energy I bring in, it is because I am a Filipina.”
She reminisces, “I grew up with the guilty pleasure of sneaking some servings of “Dirty Ice Creams” on hot Manila afternoons. I grew up feeling the pink petals rains of Bougainvillea Flowers over the urban streets of Manila. I grew up taking curious interest over Taka Horse Paper Mache Toys which I would look forward to during provincial town fiestas. I wanted to join the Girl Scouts of the Philippines wanting to wear their cool uniforms not knowing I would often be soiled with outdoor camping activities. Filipiniana Day in school would always be a fashion challenge trying to make Filipiniana look more hip than everyone. Even back then, I must say that I already have the knack for fashion in very odd ways.”
These are all personal memories that Tracy draws inspiration from, celebrating the unique nostalgia of our different backgrounds as Filipinos.
“I am making this collection with a big heart of sharing my beautiful culture in the form of fashion,” she explains. “I want to share the undeniably show-stopping beauty of the Philippines. This is my long-term dream as a Filipino creative: to stimulate the appreciation of Filipino culture not only to the global audience, but to Filipino youth all over the world.”
It is incredibly humbling and inspiring to watch Tracy soldier on and thrive in her field of work despite all of the hardships that she had to go through as a single mom and with her son’s sickness, and we couldn’t be more proud and amazed by her success. This just goes to show how far someone can go with the right mindset, and a lot of faith and hard work.