As a child growing up in Bobon, a small town in Northern Samar province in the Philippines, being a fashion designer wasn’t one of my dreams. That came much later while I was in university.
My father wanted me to study to become a policeman and I didn’t have the heart for it, so I ran away to Manila and worked odd jobs at the atelier of Dennis Lustico, who would later become my mentor.
A new start in LA
In 2013, while in my thirties, I left my career in Manila and moved to Los Angeles with no prospects and practically just the clothes on my back.
I wanted to rewrite my life. It was a gamble that paid off – a year later I landed a job at Cocomelody, a bridal shop whose owner trusted me to run the company on my own.
From selling only 30 dresses a year at its original shop in Irvine, it now has showrooms worldwide, including one in Makati City which I opened this year.
Working at Cocomelody, where I am a partner and creative director, I learned the nuts and bolts involved in running a business and how important it is to stay disciplined.
Relaunching my label
I am now also busy with my eponymous made-to-measure label, which I relaunched in Manila in June 2019 with a capsule collection, and in LA in August the same year, where I presented my 20-piece 2020 collection to the international fashion press.
I would say that my aesthetic as a designer has matured. I used to like making deconstructed clothes, but now I favor finished and elegant dresses.
It’s an exciting time to be in LA – American fashion designer and filmmaker Tom Ford is the new chair of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the city is widely seen as the US’ next fashion capital.
Secret to success: Knowing your market
Undoubtedly, LA has helped me grow up. Now, when I create a collection, I first make sure that I understand who wears my clothes and what their lifestyle is all about.
The secret to success is knowing your market. For the Puey Quiñones label, I envision a woman with a strong personality who is confident, independent and stylish.
LA gets me
LA’s happy energy inspires me. It’s a sprawling city and a melting pot of cultures, with each district offering its own appeal. It’s surrounded by the desert and the sea, and the weather is always pleasant, even in the height of summer.
When I want to relax I go to Malibu and read a book on the beach, or if I am looking to do something more active I head to Big Bear Lake for a hike. People come to LA to chase their dreams – and I’m so happy that it has enabled me to achieve mine.
I’m a morning person and the first thing I do is walk my dog, Hugo, around the neighborhood. He’s a goldendoodle and I’ve had him since he was only three months old.
I live in a 1920s building in Downtown LA’s Fashion District where I am surrounded by specialty stores for fabrics, buttons,
beads, jewelry and other fashion tools.
Hugo and I cover the seven blocks to Grand Central Market – there are two eateries there owned by Fil-Am chefs: Sari Sari Store by husband-and wife team Walter and Marge Manzke and Eggslut by Alvin Cailan (Grand Central Market, 317 South Broadway Street) – and grab a coffee to-go across the street at Blue Bottle Coffee (300 South Broadway Street).
Weekends at Cocomelody (910 South Los Angeles Street, Suite 801/802) are very busy so it’s important that we have a beautiful space that future brides will fall in love with. I pass by Los Angeles Flower Market (754 Wall Street) and buy a bunch of peonies and ranunculus to be sent to the showroom.
With my morning errands done, it’s time for a treat at Cliff’s Edge (3626 Sunset Boulevard) off Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake. The multi-level patio is breathtaking, with a huge gnarled tree in the middle and tall bamboo trees surrounding the space, providing lots of shade.
I follow the host to a corner table that’s covered in a pink-and white checkered tablecloth, make myself comfortable on a wicker chair and order an Eggs Benedict and a relaxing mimosa cocktail.