Gone Viral : Garage Magazine July 2016 Designer Profile : Renan Pacson


by Yzza Hablado



If you are into streetwear and keeping an eye on the local fashion movement, you would have probably come across a Renan Pacson piece and gasped at its street cred eloquence, Pacson’s pieces are androgynous in nature–filled with loads of character over those prodigious garments and anarchistic silhouettes–making his pieces hard to ignore and making people easily drawn to every stitch and detail.

An expounder of sustainable fashion by using materials such as pinya and PET in his designs, Pacson found his way to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo where he showcased his spring/summer 2016 collection; an experience so overly satisfying for the designer. Pacson certainly has been taking grander steps one collection at a time, as his fall/winter 2016 collection, Unit 731, provides a starting point to a shift Pacson has been eyeing on : the transition from custom-made to ready-to-wear.

Used to having his in-house tailors do the job of producing the garments, Pacson, for the first time, tapped a clothing manufacturer in Jakarta, Indonesia to help him construct the Unit 731 collection. “I was trying to shift the whole structure of production,” Pacson relays. “The quality [of the pieces] really went up.” Pacson is still on top of a lot of things like designing, sourcing, sampling and most especially conceptualizing for the next collections to come, but that proves to be a not-so-daunting task for a designer like him who keeps everything organic and natural.

Unit 731 is inspired by the chemical warfare research and development unit “Unit 731” that was ran by the Imperial Japanese army during World War II. Usually working on plain black canvasses that allow him to endlessly explore, Pacson opted for camo prints and utilitarian green cast in long jackets and oversized sweaters. Unlike his previous collections of differing structure pieces, Unit 731 is a lot more straightforward. “Nothing revolutionary this time,” he continues. “I focused on developing the quality of the pieces.” What remains is the designer’s inclination to thicker and bigger fabrics, using materials and fabrics that are expected from a fall/winter collection such as nylon, polyester, and cotton fleece. Still exteriorizing the designer’s true aesthetic, Unit 731 is much more street and can dexterously find its way to anyone’s wardrobe.

And that’s probably what Renan Pacson is trying to extend with his new collection. The designer creates his clothes a little bit more universal, and not just cut out for a single person. Trying to do less of custom-made pieces, Pacson sees the liberty of creating ready-to-wear garments parallel to different opportunities that are opening up in the market, as he starts distributing to more selling platforms, both web-shops and pop-up stores. Pacson hopes to reach more people without the time-consuming couture playground he used to gamble on. “I want to try that side of fashion, too,” he says. “My clothes are pretty much ready-to-wear anyway.”

Pacson is moving to Jakarta, Indonesia to pursue personal matters, but would still return to the Philippines every now and then to do fashion shows. “Im still trying to do what I do, but on a different approach,” he muses. The designer still sees himself coming up with collections season per season, and promises to not lose touch. As for future inspiration for the next collections, Pacson is still on the lookout for his ‘trigger’, which can come from anywhere–movies, art, history, even people. Pacson’s design process is that of a true artist, not forced, instead dwells on what tickles his senses.

As streetwear continues to hit big, it’s a pleasure to see a local designer do some serious job at producing pieces not only of quality, but also with a touch of enigmatic artistry. A couturier exploring ready-to-wear is not something new in the fashion world, but it’s a gift to those who appreaciate a well-crafted piece made easily available to him, hanging on a rack in the place he frequents. Anyone who is a lover of street wear goods would agree that there is a special place for a Renan Pacson material in their closet.


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