What do you know about Carl Jan Cruz? After having studied fashion in London and completing an internship at Céline during Phoebe Philo, the designer decided to set up shop in his native Manila, far from the supposed fashion capitals. Since 2015, he’s run his namesake label by thinking globally and acting locally. He was recently picked up by Maryam Nassir Zadeh, his first US distributor, but always assures the global movement wouldn’t happen without the brands rootedness; locally in the Philippines, with his ”habit of referencing Filipino visual motifs in a way that feels recognizable to natives, without compromising universal appeal” (source). While many brands struggle to “build community”, Carl Jan Cruz’ such seems to grow organically through sheer devotion to the brand and its process. Under #CarlJanCrews, the designer gathers a family of fans, or rather, friends that he regularly casts and connects with. Cruz wants the community to be “a safe space for creative expression beyond one’s own reality”.
Carl Jan Cruz devepes his own textiles with a Filipino mill and all the brand’s garments are made at his in-house atelier. They feel personal, hands-on, and real. Commenting his take on sustainability, he says: ”I think resourcefulness is one of the most sustainable things that I could do. I just work around what we have, and at least make things that will last for my own lifetime.”
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