Bianca Gonzalez, Rissa Mananquil join designers and fashionistas at the SoFA Speaks lecture series

SoFa Speaks speakers Rajo Laurel, Raymund Isaac, Kenneth Cobonpue, and Ivy and Cynthia Almario were feted here.


Students, designers, creatives and industry insiders converged on September 21 at the first of the School of Fashion and the Arts’ SoFA Speaks lecture series, entitled "From Idea to Icon: How to succeed as an artist in business," held at Cinema 2 of the Power Plant Mall. The event also marked the SoFA Design Institute’s third year and the formal launch of the SoFA School of Interior Design.

SoFa Lecture Series speakers: Rajo Laurel, Ivy Almario, Kenneth Cobonpue, Cynthia Almario and Raymund Isaac

The speakers--interior design tandem Cynthia and Ivy Almario, fashion photographer Raymund Isaac, top local fashion designer Rajo Laurel, and Cebu-based furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue--shared their insights on merging creative ideas with smart business sense.

Since returning to the Philippines in the mid-’90s from successful careers in the US, sisters Cynthia and Ivy Almario have become known for their modern, impactful Asian interiors. Commissioned for work locally by companies such as Ayala, and top hotels and resorts worldwide, the sisters share an unparalleled rapport that makes each new project a true collaborative effort. Both will be involved in the formation of the SoFA School of Interior Design.

Award-winning photographer Raymund Isaac, who marks his 25th year in the industry, has greatly contributed to the local fashion and advertising scene. He is presently the president and resident photographer of Portfolio Photography & Studio Inc. He likewise will be involved with SoFA’s photography classes and workshops, which will be offered very soon.

Perhaps the most recognized and successful Filipino fashion designer today, Rajo Laurel has expanded his portfolio to include designer bedsheets, cakes, bags, jewelry, and a collaboration with social enterprise Rags2Riches. His 16th year in the industry proves his mettle for combining both passion and enterprise.

Kenneth Cobonpue, whose furniture have earned him an enviable place in modern design, has become an international buzzword for his organic pieces made from native materials like rattan and abaca. Commissioned and recognized by the top institutions worldwide, his creations have garnered international prestige such as the Design For Asia Award, generally given to industrial giants such as Nokia, Sony and Samsung.



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"Invisible Ideas" showcased the works of students and designers. Click for more photos.


Cocktails were served afterward alongside the exhibit, "Invisible Ideas," an avant-garde showcase of student and designer work, each a uniquely interpreted concept of "the invisible idea." A Michele Sison et Kleid transparent gown; Puey Quinones dress; Aranaz bag; shoes by Vivienne Westwood for Melissa; and acrylic furniture by Kartell, were among the featured items. A carved plastic topiary produced by the inmates of the Muntinlupa prison provided a stunning, intricate backdrop.


Loralee Baron-Soong, Pauline Suaco-Juan and Amina Aranaz-Alunan. Click to see more photos .


Spotted at the event were fashion designer-SoFA cofounder Amina Aranaz-Alunan, SoFA cofounder Cheese Ledesma-Ong, event stylists Czarina Ledesma and Ferdie Salvador, model Rissa Mananquil, blogger Rosanna Aranaz, model-blogger Patricia Prieto, social entrepreneur Reese Fernandez (Rags2Riches), Preview editor-in-chief Pauline Suaco-Juan, model-host Bianca Gonzales, host Aissa Gonzales, and more.

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