I met milliner Mich Dulce a few years ago. She was quite cute and wearing a little hat so I just had to say hello. She later dropped off a box of hats for me and I’ve been a fan of hers ever since! I had a chance to interview her recently:
What is your fashion background?
I did a series of courses and classes at different schools: Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion, and FIT in New York. I already graduated from university in the Philippines so instead of doing a degree in fashion I just did all these courses for me to learn what I needed to learn in fashion, from fashion design to pattern making to business, later specializing in millinery and corsetry.
Have you done work experience? Which internship was the most beneficial to you?
I did work experience with Marjan Pejoski and Jessica Ogden, and at i-D Magazine. I think working with Marjan had the most influence on me, I learned a lot from him because it was a small team and really hands on.
Where are you based?
I shuttle between London and Manila,at least 3 months in each city. It’s a good deal because I miss the harsh winters in London.
Do you have a pet?
No, I have interns instead to love and baby, haha!
How would you describe your style?
In terms of hat making, my hats are sculptural but always with a touch of cute. My mission with my hats is to make contemporary shapes using traditional Filipino materials. My hats are made with a material called abaca. My personal style is really kitsch. I can never leave the house without a hat, and I never wear trousers.
As a new designer what has been your biggest challenge?
It has to be sales. I do everything from production to marketing and sales myself, literally just making contacts and setting up appointments. It’s a bit frustrating being the new kid on the block because stores obviously want brands they know they can sell even if it’s just because of the name recognition.
Where are you stocked?
I am primarily stocked in Tokyo and Manila, but next season I will have stockists in New York, and in No-One in Shoreditch, London.
What’s next for you?
I’m hoping to collaborate with some British designers on hats for next season, but still sell my own line and continue doing my bespoke hats and corsets. Plus an exhibition in September 2011, and hopefully more stockists!