The Homecoming of Jude Macasinag

The Homecoming of Jude Macasinag

Jude Macasinag’s MANIFESTO is a deeply personal project delving into themes like grief, nostalgia and longing



Chances are, you’ve already laid eyes on a Jude Macasinag piece. The 22-year-old Institut Français de la Mode graduate has dressed the likes of Nadine Lustre, showcasing his intricate beadwork for the artist’s ambitious visual album, Wildest Dreams.



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A post shared by JUDE MACASINAG (@jude.macasinag)


Last June, he showcased his graduate collection, MANIFESTO, an “array of visual information,” which he hopes could create a dialogue “between traditional meticulous craftsmanship and the future of sustainable garment production.” It is a deeply personal and human project, akin to a diary, delving into themes like grief, nostalgia and longing.


In his book accompanying his graduate collection, he writes, “Getting dressed is an act in which we all participate in daily, what makes it different is how we decide to participate in it. Clothes accompany us from start to end; it is the most relevant medium that takes record of who we are and what stories we tell.”



After spending the past few years abroad, Jude is home and taking everything in. We caught up with the wunderkind at the recently concluded MaArte Fair at The Peninsula Manila, showcasing contemporary Filipino fashion to raise funds for the National Museum of the Philippines.


RELATED: PHx MaArte Fair Takes Filipino Fashion to the Forefront


When asked how Jude describes his design style, he quips, “I don’t know if you want to quote me on this, but I always say crackhead.” A fair point, given the explosion of colors and augmentation of layers displayed in every complex piece he makes by hand.



Jude tours us around his creative installation highlighting kitsch Filipino iconography. He shows us the Dionysus Fragmented Jacket commissioned by a client, which took no less than 1,340 hours—the most detailed piece he’s ever done. It shows “how obsessive these hands can get into detail,” he shares.


Knowing when to stop adding to a piece is even more challenging than the process itself. “Restraint is more challenging than the actual creation because it takes certain knowledge—a level of taste—to know that it has to stop here,” he notes. There’s always something to fix and rework after all, but for Jude, it’s a matter of self-control.



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A post shared by JUDE MACASINAG (@jude.macasinag)


Get to know more about the Filipino fashion designer in this Wonder exclusive.


Wonder: Tell us about this space.

Jude: This space…started with one wardrobe I saw in my childhood, in my grandmother’s home. It was very kitsch, very plastic. For my graduate collection last June, I did a birthday party set-up. I wanted to basically see the collection in a different way, instead of a fashion show. This is sort of the continuation of that.



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A post shared by JUDE MACASINAG (@jude.macasinag)


There's the theme of a birthday party, of a celebration in general. I also wanted to tap into Filipino familiar iconography like the florals, the hotdogs and all that. I thought that was the best way to display the collection here, and it’s kind of my homecoming because I haven’t been home in two years. I just finished my bachelor's, and I’ll be coming back to do my masters.


Here in the room, we basically have three price ranges: the entry-level, which [consists] of curated, vintage pieces that we’ve modified, reworked, which is still in line with how I see the body in relation to the clothing; we have the prototypes for pre-order pieces like t-shirts, long sleeves and dusters; for the higher price range, we have the graduate collection and two of the client pieces I’ve done before, just to show what we can do.


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W: When you think of someone who wears your pieces, who comes to mind?

J: Recently, I realized that the people I’m most interested [in]—at least my imaginary muses— they’re art collectors. They need to sort of have an understanding of design, craft basically. I feel like it’s important to speak the same language as the people who wear your pieces…because these are like little parts of you that you’re sharing with them.


I realize the people I connect with the most are the people that are into design and the arts. But I also try to be educational, accessible. I like the fact that there are still people who aren’t into fashion but they can connect with [my work].


W: You mentioned that it’s your homecoming. How do these pieces remind you of home?

J: Apart from the iconography itself, I still do produce some pieces in Manila. It’s literally working close to home. But also the fact that these pieces are very personal, in a sense. Like for example this chartreuse piece; in the show, we had it modeled like the Pietà.


The Pietà is basically [a depiction of the] statue that was commissioned by my great, great grandmother; it’s now owned by my grandmother. When my grandfather died during the pandemic, I was looking through family photos and I kept on seeing that statue. For me, if there’s one image that emblematized my family and home, it was the Pietà, and that’s the garment that correlates with it.



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A post shared by JUDE MACASINAG (@jude.macasinag)


W: For someone who’s new to your work, how would you describe your design style?

J: I think eclectic is one word definitely. Personal in a sense, and hopefully it’s personal for other people. It’s so cliché to say but fun, in general, like the joy of seeing [and] wearing clothing ‘cause that’s what makes clothes worthwhile.


W: How has your creative process changed because of the pandemic?

J: I’ve become less academic. I used to think na parang to make clothes, it’s always formulaic… but now, with the addition of something personal because of what my family went through when my grandfather died, it made me realize how important personal aspects [are].


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For the eclectic designer, fashion is a way to communicate, to tell stories from intricately handcrafted pieces, passed on from one generation to another. It’s only the beginning for Jude Macasinag, and we can’t wait to see what else is in store for the young creative.



Photos Jude Macasinag

Art Macky Arquilla


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