You may consider her showbiz royalty, an heir-apparent to actors Janno Gibbs and Bing Loyzaga in the entertainment industry, but Chi doesn’t allow her last name to dictate or otherwise overshadow who she is and can still be. Yes, she may have played minor roles alongside her father in the past, but this was a direction that she could not see herself basking in forever. “I used to be a grade school teacher,” she divulges. No wonder she had an illuminating sense of effortless sophistication and humility during the entire shoot as she carefully explained in-between takes how her brainchild, Neon Island, which she co-founded with her high school best friend has blossomed into where it is now.
Despite what people assume, nothing was ever handed to Chi on a silver platter. After being a teacher, she immersed herself in the craft and worked as a designer for 2 years at a local retail brand that catered to young women. This exposed her not only to the tricks and trade of the business, but it also sharpened her aesthetic as a designer. That’s when Neon Island came to life. Ever encountered those tropical-printed bikinis and colorful relaxed city to beach pieces on your Instagram explore page? It’s what the brand became known for and unsurprisingly, those prints were hand-drawn and painted by none other than Chi herself, with their early collections being modeled by her sister Gabs. What started as a passion project quickly became a commitment, where she found herself finally handling full time, leaving her previous job to focus on the brand’s sure and steady growth. “My parents have always been free thinkers and they never restrained us from the path that we wanted for ourselves,” she shares. “I can see myself doing this forever.” With her unwavering passion and drive, it is without a shred of a doubt that she will soar to even more enviable heights.
Describe a regular day in your life. What keeps you busy?
My day starts with me feeding my cat, grabbing a quick meal then heading to our Neon Island office. Otherwise, I’d be out for a meeting or fabric sourcing somewhere. I try to squeeze in a work out before heading home.
What have been the highlights of your year so far?
Definitely joining Manila Fashion Fest for Neon Island’s 5th birthday. Also, moving into a new space with our team.
What is your style philosophy?
I’d say my aesthetic is vintage inspired—I’m always channeling a different decade; whimsical and playful— because I love print and bold color; and finally, tropical. I’m a summer dresser all year round. My style philosophy would be to always have fun with fashion. Don’t take it too seriously.
Do you have any style icons whom you look up to?
So many! Definitely my grandma, DVF, Mira Duma, and Natalie Wood.The list can really go on.
Who are your favorite designers or brands locally or abroad?
DVF, Versace & Jacquemus at the moment.
Tell us about your current obsession.
Wooden or woven banig bags.I have way too many.
What’s next for you?
I can’t say yet but I have an exciting new project with my sister. Also, more Neon Island collections and collaborations.