Ready to dominate the cut-throat industry of fashion, young designer Kyle Cruz offers a fresh take on minimalist clothing.
When people hear the term minimalist, the first adjective that comes to mind is basic. While there is a truth in that, what some people forget is that the beauty of minimalism isn’t exactly about how you see it; rather it’s how you feel it. As it involves neutral hues, clean spaces, and minimal distractions, it allows you to experience the minimalist aesthetic like a breath of fresh air.
Perhaps that’s why in this day and age where there are just so many negative vibrations in our environment due to the unprecedented pandemic, many of us have veered from the maximalist, loud, snazzy clothing and accessories. Whenever we dress up, as much as possible we try our best to keep it simple yet chic. And this is what exactly young designer Kyle Cruz is aiming for.
As he initially debuted his brand in 2018, his vision has always been to focus on minimalist clothing. Although this may be, upon looking at the market, there are already a handful of minimalist brands that are much known by Filipinos. Hence, there’s only one way to penetrate the local fashion scene: offer something unique.
A CEO’s Calling
While Kyle Cruz has no formal background in fashion design, unlike other world-class Filipino designers, he has an ample amount of background in marketing. Back then, he studied marketing at De La Salle University, but when he felt like college wasn’t essential in running after his dreams, he chose not to finish it.
Graduating from university is deemed crucial in our culture. However, there are several cases that following your heart’s true passion is what matters most and you end up way beyond what you expected such as CEOs Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. And for Kyle, that was his calling, too. “I’d rather spend my entire time and energy into my actual craft—what I actually loved doing,” he explains. “For some reason, I was confident enough that things would work out for me as I knew to myself I would just try and continue to progress with my passion and never give up. I usually ask for God’s guidance too, so I just trust I’m where I’m supposed to be.”
Armed with his background in marketing together with his earliest fashion memory from his mom who used to design clothes, he believes that these have helped him launch his brand at a young age. Fast forward a few years later, we’ve seen how CRUZ MNL has successfully gained the attention of various personalities and people in the fashion industry—from garbing Nadine Lustre, Kim Cruz, Kobe and Andre Paras, to Ian and Paolo Pangilinan.
Fabrics Speak For Itself
Some may think that garbing personalities may be quite easy. You just contact them and hope that they reply and give them their PR package. But in all honesty, it’s not always like that. When collaborating with stars, your brand will also be assessed first. Fortunately for the personalities we’ve mentioned, CRUZ MNL fit right into their aesthetic.
Now the thing about minimalist aesthetics is that since it should always have clean lines and silhouettes, it’s really hard to make your product shine in the sea of various wardrobe. So, what Kyle did is he designed minimalist clothes that are able to stand out without being too loud by utilizing the very fabrics he uses wherein he brilliantly marries sophistication with streetwear.
For his very first collection titled, Line Art, we saw how he elevated the quintessential oversized white shirt with an elegant touch of culture through art. Then come early 2020, he unveiled his most eye-catching collection using corduroys and pleats offering a variety of forms—whether tees, polo shirts, hoodies, or blazers. This brilliant feat was then followed by a collection solely focused on patent and metallic leather.
According to the young designer, “I usually draw inspirations from clothes that I actually want to wear. It’s funny but I usually design clothes for myself and I’m just glad it resonates with other people.” However, given that there’s a global pandemic, Kyle Cruz was no stranger to the challenges when it comes to the business of fashion. “For the first couple months I could say adjusting into the lockdowns made people put essential items first so that affected sales in a huge way. Though with all of it I’m grateful the brand is not just surviving but is still thriving and progressing towards my vision.”
With this, he only saw it fitting to just continue with his design journey and explore beyond clothes, too. “I would be focusing mainly on fashion and expanding the brand with releasing jewelry in the near future. But lately, I’ve been very much into furniture and would want to try to tap that market,” he hopes. “I wish to maximize our resources out here in the Philippines and maybe able to bring that around with me when I finally bring CRUZ worldwide.”