The beauty and emotional power behind Jinggay Serag’s silhouettes.
Art, energy, and curiosity—Jinggay Serag, with a wide and vivid perspective on these three, is a master creator of the tragic, the beautiful, and the ever-changing moments in fashion.
Serag graduated with a degree in architecture, and so she has always been design-centric. However, she did not pursue fashion immediately, but instead worked in the corporate industry.
“After some time, I realized that I wanted to express myself more creatively, so I took fashion courses and eventually even got a Best in Technique award for my graduation collection,” says Serag.
Armed with a new fiery passion for creating, Serag joined several design competitions, including the MEGA Young Designers Competition, where she was a placer, as well as the reality TV show Project Runway Season 4 and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts Fashion Competition.
Architecture was a solid design foundation for Serag. It’s all about volume and contrast, together with structural and architectural shapes that complement the body. She saw the magic of how beautiful weaves, knit and structured fabrics, when executed and manipulated, create volume, texture, and silhouette.
At the onset, Serag’s point of view was just to provide an option to the market of highly feminized looks—simply, her perspective as a woman. Today, she still uses soft tailoring and volume to change the body proportion and different silhouettes. And now that she is in the academe, at the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde’s Fashion Design and Merchandising department, Serag has the golden opportunity and responsibility to mold fashion’s future.
“I believe and teach a strong value proposition: A design or brand should have a commitment to a certain ethos, may it be sustainability, accessibility, inclusivity or diversity, and that it shall always be translated in both aspects,” Serag shares.
FASHION AS A RESPONSE
For Serag, design always starts with an idea, a curiosity. It may be influenced by art, movement, or as organic as what’s happening in society now.
Currently, Serag is creating a new collection that focuses on positive energy. The research centers on color or chromotherapy by looking at textile prints and graphic designs to amplify positivity. It also turns its attention on texture to add tactility and enhance the perceptibility of touch.
“This is something new and exciting for me,” says Serag. “For those who know me, black is my default color, but in this collection, color-blocking and color-clash will take center stage.”
For most creatives and independent designers—or basically all workers in the industry—the pandemic was a challenge both economically and creatively. Businesses had to shrink and there was a reduction in production as stocks and sales plummeted.
“Like most things, seasons change and now you feel the market is picking up again,” Serag shares. “There are always two things I tell my students: Trust the process and always move forward and, second, before you say ‘no,’ say ‘yes’ and immerse yourself first. If it’s really a ‘no,’ then you may create your own process and narrative.”
PRIDE AND PEDAGOGY
Serag did a collection entitled, Lenore, in 2017 for the Manila Fashion Festival. The collection was dark, voluminous and she closed the show for that day. Through that collection and the people she worked with, she was able to collaborate and have some of her works in Vogue Italia, photographed by MJ Suayan and styled by Andre Chang.
A few years later, another collaboration was done with the same team for the same platform, but this time, Serag’s piece was done in collaboration with Ann Ong’s metalworks. For Serag, the features and the competitions were opportunities that really gave her steady traction, furthering the brand and herself as a designer.
“Filipino heritage is a strong design value,” says Serag. “Every young Filipino designer knows how to make a terno and is enamored by how to modernize it. Pride of land and pride of people have always been our strongest brand. Every year, I see great young designers graduating, raw and rearing for what’s ahead of them.”
Serag sees that the industry is thriving. But with better regulations for different aspects of fashion, from textile option availability and classification to fair trade and manpower—even fashion education for those who want to pursue research and fashion in higher education—it can succeed and proliferate locally as well as globally through strong and consistent focus.
As an artist, a creative, an entrepreneur and a member of the academe, Serag sees great opportunities ahead as the platforms are widening and the accessibility broadens both online and in the traditional market. A new collection is coming, and the brand Serag helms will be available in different platforms and stockists; plus, there are a few collaborations in the pipeline.