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Style Weekend: Ziv Rei Alexi on designing pieces inspired by unexpected and mundane sources

If you ask Ziv Rei Alexi then, he never saw himself as a fashion designer. The idea only came to him during a school fair. Sure, he loved dressing up, but the idea of pursuing a career in the industry wasn’t part of his plan. Now, he couldn’t imagine himself doing something different.

“My decision to study fashion is somewhat an impulsive choice. I hadn’t originally planned to pursue design but I feel like I just had to do it,” the designer tells Style Weekend.

A piece from Ziv Rei Alexi’s “Sorry Mommy, Rakerz Ako” collection fronts Style Weekend’s May 31, 2024 cover

Born in Cavite, Ziv, 23, entered the fashion industry during the pandemic-new normal milieu. While it was a challenge for a young designer to start a business during that period, he confessed that he enjoyed the quiet moments of the times—getting in touch with his inner thoughts and freely creating pieces whether it was during the witching hours or the light of day.

For Ziv, his design house is more than just a brand. It aims to represent the different side of the Philippines’ lifestyle and heritage, its rawness and imperfections. He designs with intention, aiming to mirror what the Philippines is today with his creation.

Inside Ziv Rei Alexi’s studio in Escolta, Manila City

“Everything we do in Ziv Rei Alexi is mostly based on intuition, feel, our Pinoy heritage, and in the most mundane things,” Ziv muses. “We just rock and roll all the way.”

This can be seen in his first collection, a graduation line he prepared as a Fashion Design and Merchandising student at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. Dubbed “Sigaw na Pabulong,” the collection centered on “one’s desire for independence,” interpreted through pieces made of Mikado silk, Duchess satin, gazar, and Japanese cotton.

Fabric manipulation and textile finishing treatments play a big part in his design process. For his second collection “Pikitmata,” he explored a technique that showcases a crackle finish with the use of modeling paste, creating a cement-like effect. There’s also the Sinandomeng duster, a loose-fitting garb with pearl embellishments made to look like a slashed rice sack. In this collection, he also reimagined the Philippines’ traditional pieces like the barong. The piece, usually made of delicate piña cloth, got a rebellious twist with plaid and other textiles adorned with soda bottle caps.

A closer look at the textures and fold of the designer’s creations

His latest collection puts the spotlight on the local punk scene. Inspired by a song by band Kamikazee, “Sorry Mommy, Rakerz Ako” collection details encapsulates the techniques Ziv has done throughout his first years of designing—tailoring with frayed edges, crackled textures on elegant garbs, pearl-encrusted pieces, and more, all in all, creating pieces that are wild, spontaneous, and unapologetic.

“Like many other designers, we aim to help cultivate our ever-growing industry and culture, while standing for codes that go far beyond aesthetics,” he says.

Pieces from Ziv’s “Sorry Mommy, Rakerz Ako” collection

Currently, Ziv is exploring new techniques that are suitable for bodies of all shapes and sizes. He proudly presented to the Style Weekend team a piece with faux leather strips laid on a nude neoprene base, which was inspired by body dysmorphia and stretch marks. The piece molds itself to the wearer’s body, creating lines of varying width, guaranteeing a new look and shape depending on who is wearing it.

When asked about today’s fashion scene, Ziv jokingly describes it as all over the place. “There are so many categories in Filipino fashion. There’s the traditional, pageant, and more,” he explains. “We try to find a way to merge them all together.”

Ziv Rei Alexi’s atelier is located at 300A inside First United Building in Escolta. For custom orders, inquiries, and appointments, visit @zivreialexi on Instagram or send an email to [email protected].

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Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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