On the Spot: Milka Redoble of Project Runway Philippines

From auditioning on a whim to her "banana leaf" inspiration, we sit down with season 3’s winner.

Retrace Milka’s PRP journey. Click for more.

 

(SPOT.ph) If we had won a top-rated fashion design competition, we’d probably be dressed to the nines, conscious of our every move, and admittedly, be a bit high handed-at least for a short while. But we didn’t win. Instead, 35-year-old Milka Quin Redoble took home the crown as winner of Project Runway Philippines Season 3. And today, before a pack of media, she chose to wear a black and white sheath dress hidden mostly under a bright green cardigan (the same one she wore during her audition), a pair of strappy nude no-nonsense flats, and sparse accessories (chunky bracelets and a black cocktail ring).

No fancy couture; none of that sartorial minimalist effect .  Around her, everyone else seems sorely overdressed and a little tall. But then again, what did we expect a fashion designer to look like? Milka herself confesses that she is no fashionista. Just a mom with less than five years of experience in the business who joined a contest on a whim.

Up close, she looks adjusted, maintaining her PRP makeover: a cropped bob with blunt bangs, but without those signature bright red streaks-a seeming compromise between reality TV and reality. But in truth, reality has yet to sink in. This, after all, is a woman who describes her win as "Ang weird!" and treats her newfound celebrity status in the same regard: "Weird! Unbelievable!" Apart from that, she bore no signs that she just trumped 14 other designers in a heated three-month-long contest.

SPOT.ph sat down with the mother and reigning Project Runway champ about her fashion icons, moving from a corporate lifestyle to more creative pursuits, winning, and which judge frightened her the most.

 

What made you take the leap from corporate to creative?

Milka: Before I was a banker and then I worked in a call center so medyo hectic 'yung schedule. Then after that, I wanted to focus more on family kasi wala pa akong baby, at matagal na kaming married ng husband ko. I wanted to have a child already. So, I stopped working para mawala 'yong stress and pressure sa work and then 'yun na, I got to do what I wanted to do-to design. When we got to Spain, at least nagka-baby ako.


How long have you been in fashion?

Sobrang sandali lang. I'm 35 now. I finished studying design-pattern-making, and dressmaking lang nga-I had no background in fashion (na) like a fashion course talaga. So it's just pattern-making, dress-making. I finished that when I was 31 tapos I started 'yong official, my internet business, after I gave birth so that's around 33 na. So, two to two and a half years at the most.

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Actually (you) cannot call that fashion nga as in sa fashion industry talaga. It's my business, fashion-related siya. Pero dito sa atin, no, I don't have (a) fashion background.

 

 

Milka’s audition in Baguio

 

 

Who are the designers you look up to?

Sa international, I really like si Vera Wang because she's feminine. I love Balenciaga. Sa local, I love Jojie, of course. I love Jojie, Jojie Lloren. Very instrumental to everyone in Project Runway. He helped us a lot. [Plus] Rajo (Laurel), of course, and Inno (Sotto).


As a designer, you describe yourself as a "thinker," can you please explain what you mean by this?

Kasi ano eh, when I design clothes, parang 'yung thought process ko... Sa totoo lang hindi talaga ako marunong mag-drawing kasi I've never had any formal lessons for sketching and illustration. I had a few courses pero very short lang. So, when I design, 'yung thought process ko nasa pattern-making na. Wala pang drawing ha. Iniisip ko pa lang kung anong itsura ng damit and then iisipin ko na kung ano 'yong pattern, kung magwo-work ba 'to, like that. Siguro hindi ako visual person kaya ko nasabi yun.


Why did you decide to join Project Runway?

Actually it was on a whim. Hindi ko talaga akalain na makakapasok ako in the first place. We were driving along EDSA, tapos meron kaming nakitang Project Runway 3 [billboard]. I thought it was ongoing na so pumunta ako sa website. Titingnan ko sana 'yong mga contestants, but then I saw it was ongoing auditions pa lang. So I said to myself, "Uy, try ko kaya 'to," sabi ko sa sarili ko, total nandito na rin ako gumagawa ako ng mga damit. And then I tried in Baguio. Doon ako nag-audition. I really was surprised na natanggap ako. I was really surprised. I never thought that I'd be in Project Runway.

I joined because, really, I wanted to have a network man lang. I tried joining because wala akong kakilala dito sa fashion. I just started. Really fresh lang ako and I wanted to have sana some friends in fashion, in the fashion business so I tried.


And then you won...

And then I won! 'Yon nga, unbelievable. It's weird.


You were telling us earlier that your favorite was the dessert challenge. So what was the most difficult challenge?

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The MEGA one? I don't know. Hindi lang talaga maganda 'yong planning ko doon sa (outfit) pero the most difficult and parang the most emotionally taxing for me was the MEGA challenge.


Not the avante garde one?

The avante garde challenge kasi-I knew naman na I wouldn't be out that time kasi di ba may immunity. Pero ang pinaka-stressful was the MEGA because I know na my garment was missing something, the jacket. So talagang takot na takot ako that time. Super stressful.

 


Who was the toughest judge?

Apples (Aberin) was really tough. But when she appreciates the dress naman talagang all out din. She was a fair judge, I think. Rajo was also...lahat naman sila fair judges pero pinakanakakatakot talaga si Apples. Pero okay lang. I don't take it against her na medyo strong 'yong words niya because that's how you do it.


The show was aired later than the taping. How do you feel when you see yourself on TV?

Ang weird! Ang weird! 'Yong baby ko nga nakakatawa. So nasa bahay kami, nanonood kami, then sasabihin ng mom ko, "Tingnan mo oh, si Mama oh." Di niya pinapansin. Wala lang sa kanya. Hindi niya tinitingnan. Until noong finale lang na tinuro niya ako "Mama!" Kasi nandoon siya. Nandoon siya sa finale show. It's weird. Parang 'yong feeling mo, parang hindi totoo na napapanood mo 'yong sarili mo sa TV.

 

A pre-makeover Milka in a PRP Season 3 teaser


During the final panel, when you and Cheetah Rivera were the last ones on the runway, what was on your mind?

Kaming dalawa? Nako di ko na nakita kasi hug kami ng hug doon. I'd just like to let you know, kasi si Cheetah talaga 'yong my best friend ko doon sa competition. We're always together. Lagi kaming magkadikit. Lagi kaming magkatabi. And noong nakita ko na kami na lang 'yong natitira, it was, like, okay lang, kapatid ko 'to, kahit manalo siya, I'll be proud of the two of us kasi narating namin 'yong pinakahuli. And to think noong unang challenges, we were talking, for example, nasa bahay kami, sasabihin namin na sana makarating kami sa ganitong challenge. Sana makarating tayo sa ganito. Up to the time na nakarating kami sa finals and then andoon na kami, last two standing. I'm really proud of us. The two of us.

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Why did you opt for the banana leaf theme during the final runway?

Ano 'yon eh, it was supposed to be part of a whole collection. Mas madami pa 'yon dapat. Dapat ano siya, based on childhood memories, childhood stuff. Dapat supposedly mga alamat ng ganito, legend of the ganito, ganyan. But then I decided na it would be much more cohesive kung isa na lang so I fell in love with the banana kasi 'yon 'yong pinakamaganda. Visually, siya 'yong pinaka-attractive.


You sell clothes on Etsy. How much is a Milka creation, say the ones on the final runway?

Kasi usually I sell clothes mga $100 and above. 'Yong mga simpler clothes. But for that, siguro it would cost more. It was really...pinag-isipan ng mabuti.


What's next for you?

Right now, as I'm wrapping up PRP, I'm trying to apply kasi for Fashion Week this coming October so I'm doing my collection for the next run so I'm trying to apply pa. I hope I get in.

 

Photos from MQuin and by Carla de Guzman

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