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US fashion school summa cum laude opens label in Manila

MANILA, Philippines – The world brims with boundless inspiration, yet for 23-year-old couture designer Sofia Carmela Arante, life's whimsical and joyous moments serve as her greatest muse. And she channels her unbridled passion and positivity through beautiful, romantic pieces that celebrate life.

Hailing from the Philippines, Arante has always been drawn to fashion and remembers being just four years old but already being bold and bright in her sartorial choices. Throughout her life, she has always had a strong sense of self, which is consistently reflected in her personal style, which she describes as “vibrant and proud”.

Fueled by her passion, she pursued her fashion degree at the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Georgia, US, graduating summa cum laude in 2022 with an impressive 3.94 GPA.

“Studying at SCAD was life-changing for me because it introduced me to such diverse cultures and creative personalities. My experiences there, especially the extensive classes, helped me expand my knowledge and understanding as a designer. I was exposed to experienced professors who have worked for big fashion houses across Europe and the United States. Their expertise really challenged and honed my talents and skills to go beyond my comfort zone. Limits were simply non-existent,” she says. “More than just being a fashion designer, I was able to truly embrace being an artist whose aim is just to celebrate joy in every piece I make. I truly found myself here.”

Immersed in Savannah's nurturing environment, surrounded by peers and mentors who fostered her curiosity and creativity, Arante was able to hone her craft, refine her vision, and create captivating collections. In July 202, she unveiled her eponymous label, subsequently launching her flagship boutique in Santa Rosa, Laguna.

Drawing inspiration from icons like Sara Jessica Parker and Heart Evangelista, as well has her life experiences living abroad, Arante designs for the contemporary, empowered woman. “I want women to feel their most beautiful when wearing my dresses. I want them to feel fearless and bold, and confident in their own skin,” she shares. While her designs may lean towards maximalism, they cater inclusively to women from all walks of life.

As a designer, Arante ingeniously celebrates femininity through vivid, statement pieces that breathe life into any wardrobe. Ranging from elegant gowns to power suits, she displays a masterful touch, bringing together sheer fabrics such as tulle, organza, and silk in eye-catching shades to create voluminous, romantic silhouettes. As seen in her collections, Arante always lends a playful touch or an unexpected twist to her designs, making her artistic stylings so refreshing.

Her "To Be Childlike" Senior Collection, launched in 2022, stands as a testament to her artistic ingenuity. Her enchanting ensembles spotlight the art of crochet, with mod-inspired knitted dresses adorned with handcrafted flowers, pearls, flouncy satin ruffles, and organza. The charming capsule collection endeared viewers and quickly made its way to Vogue Runway as part of the “Standout Class of 2022 Show” and WWD (Women’s Wear Daily) Magazine’s “Fashion’s Future” feature.

In her interview with WWD, Arante shares her inspirations: “The collection was derived from my personal experience through the pandemic. Being in a situation of uncertainty caused me to have a sense of urgency… and I channeled that energy into my designs and was able to connect with my emotions through art — discovering that my place of comfort (was) my childlike soul. To be childlike is to be simply: fearless, spontaneous, curious, imaginative, generous, and enthusiastic.”

For this year, Arante goes back to her roots, imbuing whimsy and flair into her highly anticipated 2024 Bridal Collection. “These are for the unconventional brides who are looking for something with a little more pizzazz. I want to help them celebrate their most important day with gowns that genuinely mirror their personality and vision, ensuring a one-of-a-kind dress that they can truly call their own.”

Arante is set to further endear the fashion world, welcoming us into her world of pure, unadulterated joy and childlike exuberance.

Check out her designs on www.sofiacarmela.com or visit her atelier at Santa Rosa, Laguna. For more information, call +63 939 926 1512, or follow her instagram @sofiacarmelaatelier.

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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