Home » FEATURES » Feature: Dissecting Design With Kenneth Barlis From San Diego, California

Feature: Dissecting Design With Kenneth Barlis From San Diego, California


The gorgeous gowns by designer Kenneth Barlis

The gorgeous gowns by designer Kenneth Barlis

 

Dreamy Designs

 

By: Hina P. Ansari

 

 

A not-to-be-dismissed member of the new guard of Filipino couture world, San Diego-based designer Kenneth Barlis was one of the new faces that graced the stage at Roy Thomson Hall as part of PLDT Canada Philippine Fashion Week. His incredible attention to detail as well as his love for the unadulterated costume theatrics Barlis is quickly gaining recognition as someone who manages to present one showstopper after another. We had a chance to sit down and chat with this couturier who understands his clientele and his ability to tell sweeping romantic tales —  seam by seam.

 

 

Designer, Kenneth Barlis with his two models (centre and second from right) surrounded by Filipino beauties

Designer, Kenneth Barlis with his two models (centre and second from right) surrounded by Filipino beauties

 

 

What is it about Filipino design aesthetics or design sensibility that is unique to you different from other designers?

 

I grew up in a military base so I did not even know Vogue before, I don’t know any designers growing up, so for me, to be able to do this, is just so different. My uniqueness from other Filipino designers in general, is my own personal background that I did not grow up in glamorous part of society. So I work really hard. What we have in common is the class, the sophistication and the taste of the culture itself so when you put that together with our personal touch to it, it blends in and make us all different from each other.

 

 

So what inspires you to create is there certain film, fan, someone on the street, like what get you going creative?

 

I know like most of my friends, the other designers do the films and all that but for me I always base it on personal love stories, on how I feel during my collection.

 

As seen on stage at Fashion Premier Night at Roy Thomson Hall

As seen on stage at Fashion Premiere Night at Roy Thomson Hall

 

Very romantic.

 

Yes. Romantic. But for my Spring/Summer 2013, that’s where [my] personal love stories [are]. It’s very literal. It tells the story from beginning, through the middle to the end. I make into a couture version of [my love story] that when they see it, they will feel what I’m going through.

 

That’s your story from the beginning till end.

 

And then for Spring /Summer 2014, whole story is about this Asian woman, who is from Japan. She met her husband in Japan, they both moved to London and they have this endless story and they love each other so much but unfortunately she dies and is buried in a London cemetery so when….

 

 

Gorgeous train made of robust rosettes

Gorgeous train made of robust rosettes

 

 

Wait; is this a story or a real person? 

 

No, I just created the story (laughs). So this is the story of this collection. So he husband is depressed so he moved to The States. Actually, so now [deceased] wife is following him wherever he goes and she’s still with him up to this moment.

 

So that’s your entire Spring 2014 Collection. That’s the story.

 

Yes.

 

You’re such a storyteller. So now you’re saying that you’ve come up through your background, you never worked in the field of fashion so how did you get into this line?

 

You know what I think this is my passion. [From] looking at my mom, she loves all that clothing. I just developed my own sense of passion for fabric and texture and [it] developed from then.  I just started a couple of years ago actually, so they are fresh.

 

 

As seen on stage at Fashion Premier Night at Roy Thomson Hall

As seen on stage at Fashion Premiere Night at Roy Thomson Hall

 

 

Your imagination is so vivid. Just hearing and seeing how you created these gowns, it’s amazing.

 

I tried to create a lot of textures in my designs to make it really different.  To get out of my comfort zone as a designer. I do want to make couture and it’s quite expensive to make them. But it’s not about the money for me.  For me, as a designer, I want to tell them story and this is the story I want to tell them.

 

Would you hope that the Canadian like mainstream fashion community will take away from fashion week in your collection?

 

My goal for this specific show is for us Filipinos to be out there. We’re like an entire team from that’s [working towards] this one night. Canadians will see each individual as a designer and to see what we can do. My personal goal for this is for [audience] to see that it’s not about just fashion; it’s about a lifestyle.

 

 

 Runway photography by Alan Flores; Fittings photography by Candice Kaye both CPFW 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are more global fashion stories

Add Comment Register



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>