Fashion

How Two Fashion Design Students Turned Their Thesis Project Into a Legit Fashion Brand

It's possible!
IMAGE HAMU

People don't always get along because each and every one of us is wired differently. We have different likes, personalities, and values, which sometimes can stir up conflict with those who are not like us. But instead of letting their differences get the best of them, two young designers, Abraham Guardian and Mamuro Oki, use their differences in style and art to create a line that's sharp, current, but most of all stylish. Read on to find out how Abraham and Mamuro started their Ha.Mu.

How it started. "We only officially started Ha.Mu back in late 2016. The main reason why we decided to start a brand together is our works are almost always compared with each other, but the only difference is Mamu's works are mostly dark, minimal, and also very structured while my works are mostly colorful and experimental on prints and also textured. In Ha.Mu, we mainly focus on merging two different tastes together and  end up making artisanal-like clothing that is genderless and also experimental."

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Why Ha.Mu? "We believe that life is a work of art and a piece of clothing is nothing until someone puts it on and gives it their own life. We aim to elevate Philippine fashion because we are the new generation of designers that will pave out new and young trends. We also believe that fashion can be considered as art and there are people who dare to challenge the norms to be different."

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Aesthetic. "Our aesthetic lies between costume-wear and artistic pieces of clothing. Sometimes we can say that our aesthetic is similar to a clown. Something interesting, lively, and will always be a head turner."

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Young entrepreneur. "Being a young entrepreneur is definitely hard! We did not have our start-up income to run the business and whatever we have spent on the brand is mostly our personal savings with a bit of help from our parents."

Drawing inspiration. "We love looking through womenswear fashion and interpret them into our own branding. We also get inspiration from the idea of rebelling and we love being challenged. But in general, we get inspired by everything! As long as it triggers some sort of emotion or a trail of thought that will help us to build it up."

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Team effort. "We always work as a team, weighing out our weakness and strengths to perform well. One good thing about working with a partner is that we get to share the weight of the responsibility and we also get to be in our own zone whilst sharing ideas and concepts since we both can relate to each other. However, we also have conflicts at times when one disapproves of an idea or if we can’t come to an agreement over something."

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Little challenges. "Our biggest challenge up to date would definitely be working on our graduation collection for our thesis. It was the toughest because we were pressured to work our best under a short period of time (about less than 3 months for the sewing and branding part of our thesis) and we often go on for days with very little sleep. It was also the first time working on really huge and heavy pieces because we were experimenting with a lot of textures and silhouette play. But overall we enjoyed the entire process because we got to experience how far our strength and creativity can go. We can now say that we have experience in creating avant garde pieces!"

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Staying original. "We always go back to our concept of 'wearable art' pieces that cater to any gender. That is one factor that sets us apart from our competitors. When we design, we do not limit ourselves to just one color palette. We always try to mix and match and experiment with silhouettes to come up with different looks and moods. We are able to deliver a messy but very well-put-together and finished look, which is our signature and the one thing that sets us apart from our competitors."

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What's next? "We are planning to create a diffusion RTW line that will cater to the younger and more mass market and we actually conceptualized a line where we will be doing a graphic t-shirt line! We want to reach different age groups and classes as much as possible. We also want to go global and join more fashion competitions so we challenge our creative juices through the challenges that we will be tasked to us."

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Entrepreneurial philosophy. "Our entrepreneurial philosophy is that art is for everyone and if we share our gift of art to people, surely we can touch at least one person on keeping our piece of artwork for themselves."

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To young budding entrepreneurs. "We advise upcoming artists and entrepreneurs to start branding themselves first in a way that this branding will set them apart from the others."

"They should always stay dedicated to their craft, be patient and do not forget to always have fun in the process."

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About the author
Janelle Yau
Fashion and Beauty Assistant
The Rebecca Bloomwood of Manila. I spend half of my time obsessing about the latest fashion craze, and the other half overthinking and over-analyzing just about anything under the sun. When I’m not busy as a bee playing with fifty shades of pink lippies, you can probably catch me swiping my plastic for yet another pair of shiny, pointed gold flats.
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