Jo Ann Bitagcol was eating noodles at a humble Bulacan eatery when she was scouted as a model, becoming an instant runway favorite upon her debut at 18 years old. Eight years into modelling, she made her foray into photography.
Two years later, spurred by her curiosity about clothing design, Bitagcol enrolled in a dressmaking course at Slim’s Fashion and Arts School.
All of these seemingly unrelated events came together recently, when she launched her first venture into fashion entrepreneurship: a line of scarves with her photographs printed on them.
“I got jealous of my friends who were doing pop-up stores,” Bitagcol confesses. “I would go to these artisan fairs where I would see them selling [their products], and I thought that looked fun.”
Her friends – fashion designers Rhett Eala and Joey Samson – who were hosting pop-ups under the MNL Design Collective, invited her to join and suggested that she sell her photos as prints.