If Kuya Kim and Karl Lagerfeld had a baby, Kyna Gem would be it. She has since been designing, what one would say, high fashion, avant-garde, never-before-seen pieces by means of painting on her clothes, sewing embellishments by hand, and essentially wowing her audience with her unconventional sense of style every time she posts a new OOTD photo.
Kyna has a knack for combining runway-ready, haute-couture-esque pieces and every day, streetwear-appropriate looks together. It’s very refreshing. It’s out of the ordinary but at the same time wearable.
Now, once again, she has sent her viewers down on a spiral of astonishment by making matching outfits for herself and her pet Pomeranian, parakeet, and rabbit. She says, “I’m not stopping there. I’ve always wanted a monkey and a pot-bellied pig! I plan to adopt abandoned animals, and fingers crossed my dad would allow it!” As seen in the photos, the handiwork for her pet’s clothes is top notch; it is just as intricate as the clothes she designs for herself. She uses the same fabric, same sewing maneuvers, same appliqués, and same shebang down to the seemingly irrelevant minutia. According to Kyna, one of the most adorable parts of the process is measuring the “wittle” limbs and the “itty bitty” necks of her pets. And the best part of the whole process is trying to make her fur babies look at the camera when shooting. She says it’s a lot similar to photographing actual babies and that it’s the most adorable thing! Lotto, her parakeet, actually also pooped on her during the shoot! “Now I really know what it feels like to be a mom,” she says.
One could see the same fur detailing and sequined tulle on Kyna’s top and Lotto’s, the parakeet. Kyna tells of how she haggles when buying fabrics at Divisoria, “I always reduce the given price at a double. So if the seller tells me a yard costs 500 pesos, I’ll ask if he could give it to me at 250. We’d haggle until I reach an amount I deem reasonable. I won’t back down, pang chicken joy din yun HAHAHAHA!”
“I’d say Truffles and I are pretty close. There was one time when Truffles had ringworms and had to wear the cone of shame to keep him from scratching the irritated area. A few days later, I started to itch and a ring-shaped scar started to form around my thighs too! I went to the doctor and found out I had contracted ringworms as well — all because of staying too close to Truffles! I had no idea that animal-to-human disease transference was possible!”
Kyna was fixating on a worn down, hand-me-down-esque, vintage look for her self-designed leather top so she glued studs all over, sewn shackles of sorts too, and painted a technicolor Albert Einstein onto. She did the exact same thing to her crispy’s top but traded in Einstein for Lincoln. And as for pata, the rabbit wearing the red ensemble, her top’s a replica of Kyna’s pants, which also something she made herself.
For Kyna and Truffles’ Halloween costume, they went as Wall-E and Eve, respectively. Kyna’s costume was made entirely from scratch; she DIY-ed the whole thing and made it for 2 weeks.
“We named our parakeet lotto because we got him around the time when the billion peso grand lottery was still at play and you know us Filipinos, we’re very superstitious! HAHAHA!”
The whole enchilada takes her about a week to make; from conceptualizing the design to haggling for fabrics and accessories in Divisoria, to pattern making, to sewing, and to completing the painstaking process of piecing the cherries on top together. But it is all well worth it, she says. What fuels her to do this day after day, week after week, aside from her indisputable passion in her craft, is her aspiration in seeing and making people happy. “Who doesn’t light up when they see a puppy, a bird, or a rabbit all dressed up in an itty bitty blazer or corset?”
On this note, right now, she is to collaborate with animal welfare organizations to hopefully completely eradicate animal abuse, more so indifference towards the advocacy, in the Philippines with the help of the community she has created through her social platforms. That in mind, in the long run, she is determined to expand her vision and establish a social enterprise around the idea of making clothes for pets aimed to alleviate poverty in the Philippines through programs for out-of-school youths, farmers, the neglected workforce, and the marginalized. “I love the Philippines and the Filipinos so sooo much! I’m honestly very willing to die for the Filipinos when the need arises,” remarks Kyna. “My love for my countrymen is what drives me to do this, and I know for a fact that that love comes from being overwhelmed and beyond satisfied with my Creator’s outpour of love HImself. He gives me so much love that I am now in the capacity of overflowing!”
To get the latest on what design she’ll come up with next and with which pet, follow her on Instagram at @kynagem! For all we know, she could be surprising us with a snake this time around!
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