I HAVE already heard the name Jun Artajo before. However, I only got interested about his story when I learned from another Davao City-based designer, Yvette Celi, that Jun is still such a young designer but he is already starting to etch a name of his own in the local and international fashion scenes.
So, I immediately looked for his Facebook account (thanks to technological boom and to Mark Zuckerberg for creating FB) for me to be able to ask him if I can feature him. It’s a good thing that he allows friends of friends to search for him on the said social networking site.
Read on, and get inspired with the insights of this young professional designer who is a proud Dabawenyo.
FN: When did you start showing interest towards fashion design?
Jun: During high school, I tried designing my classmates’ prom gowns, and I also gave some of my closest friends a customized hand-embroidered handkerchief. I never considered that, though, as the sign.
Well, I grew up in a family business which caters corporate wear and office uniforms. Basically, it was my daily meal to be in a pile of sewing machines, sounds of cutting fabrics, and clientele having their garments fitted. It was during my 2nd year in a Computer course in University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) when I finally decided to pursue an Art course, there I found Philippine Women’s College of Davao offering their pioneering batch of Fashion Design degree (that time it was Fashion Illustration and Styling). I enrolled and pushed through with my journey in squeezing my creative juices out.
FN: When you were still in college, what do you consider as the turning point which further pushed you to go on with your career?
Jun: In my learning years, there was that thing I called constant interest especially that fashion and art were my basic influences, and I always knew art is a very broad course as well as fashion. I also realized that my father is a tailor and my mom used to create garments as well, I found them as my inspiration towards pursuing my course. Passion wasn’t there yet but perseverance was. Interest in dissecting art and fashion, and places where it started were more of what also pushed me through.
FN: How long have you been in the fashion industry already? How do you find it?
Jun: It’s already four years since I graduated BFA Fashion. Since then, I have always been in competitions and short courses, accepting made to order apparel, and teaching to future fashion design professionals. How was it? Honestly, it wasn’t really easy. Competitions here and abroad were very tough and the design concept from other countries is unpredictable. Also, dealing with clients was not easy as I cater varied types almost every day.
FN: For you, what is your niche in the fashion industry? Why?
Jun: I think, I’m passionate in dressing up future brides and making them the most beautiful on their most memorable day. Honestly, I’m a jack of all trades from headpieces, apparel to shoes. I know how to construct them all because it’s more fun to spill out creative juices when you know how to create them.
FN: What is your inspiration/where do you draw you inspiration from in coming up with your designs?
Jun: Nature has always been my inspiration. The places where I have been to and the people surrounding also inspire me. It’s good when inspirations come from it as you know how it feels like, what it looks like, and the connections between them.
FN: So far, what do you consider as your greatest achievement in the fashion industry? Why?
Jun: To be a Philippine representative in the 49th Japan Fashion Design Competition where I was able to bag 2nd prize and special award recognition by Senken Shimbun and Women’s Wear Daily Japan. After that, everything just came. I became part of MANILA WEAR Design Team with Philippine’s Top Designers and Upcoming designers headed by New York-based Filipina Designer JOSIE NATORI. I was also invited as one of the International Designers for 1st Alaska Fashion Week held in Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Lastly, last February, I was invited to present my Abaca and Jute Creations in the 3rd International Fashion Showcase-London Fashion Week held in London, United Kingdom.
FN: Being one of the most successful young designers of the country, what do you think could be your biggest contribution to keep the local fashion industry vibrant?
Jun: Bringing my creations that embody the Dabawenyo aesthetics and materials that are endemic in my hometown such as abaca, coconut and jute is one way of keeping the local fashion industry vibrant. Also, by helping my fellow aspiring designers in joining competitions with their own concepts and product developments.
To the aspiring designers, I’d like to tell you that you must always believe in your instincts. Follow your struggles, design doesn’t come in a flash, it takes a lot of time, yet it’s easy to find one. Being a fashion designer is also about inspiring your fellowmen and helping out pursuing their dreams as well.
To reach Jun, his mobile number is 0932-8434484 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You may visit him as well at Adams Square Dress Shop at Door 3, Ponce Street, Davao City.
If you have some other fashion tips to share or just want to discuss about any fashion-related concerns with me, you are always free to reach me at email@example.com