For several seasons, over three or four years, we watched from afar as Carl Jan Cruz built beautifully singular collections that took ideas about tailoring, proportion, and material somewhere new while expressing something deeply familiar, too. Elements of tradition and craft, rooted in his native Philippines, are by turns overt, abstract, and nuanced. When you hear that he studied menswear at London College of Fashion and spent time at Phoebe Philo’s Celine before launching his own brand and returning home to Manila, the direction, the vibe, the aesthetic all sort of lock into place. As Carl’s island nation (where all the art and production takes place) struggles to keep its head above the water of this pandemic, it’s yet unsure what can be produced before Pylon opens, but it’s been an honor to wait and trust as the team works through the vision and message of their atelier-made, gender-fluid, and hand-shaped pieces.
In today’s edition of Right Now, the designer talks to us about how the crisis has affected the brand’s day-to-day life, and its future.
“When everything hit, we were working on projects for the coming year, such as a possible pop-up and residency in New York and our summer collection, which was going to be about a celebration of the classics; the staple pieces that we’ve developed over the past five years of the brand,” Carl said. “We weren’t able to continue with those all those projects, but we used the core elements of what influenced them—the why and how of this brand—as a tool to answer very important questions about how we are able to adapt and respond in these uncertain times, and how we can hopefully interpret or respond to them in our very own medium.”
In this video collaboration, we edited CJC’s spoken thoughts with footage he shared of his Manila studios.