Sunday, September 13, 2009

THE SHIRT TALE ] Rhett Eala on why yellow is the new black

rhett2Eala and (right) his biggest hit.

The simplest ideas are often the biggest hits. Put the country’s map on a shirt and get ready for the cash registers to ring non-stop. Whowouldathought? Well, Rhett Eala did. His collared cotton pique shirts with an embroidered Philippine map on the chest for Collezione C2 is turning out to be this year’s sartorial staple. No small thanks to the Aquino grandkids who made it almost a uniform during the length of the wake of their much beloved grandmother in August. And thanks to the elder Aquino, the Senator Noynoy, who wore one when he announced his presidential bid last week. A week before that, it was Mar Roxas, declaring he was stepping down from the presidential race to make way for Noy, in a blue number. From its fansite at Facebook, it looks like it’s not only the Aquinos who are sporting the shirt: it is increasingly becoming the uniform for people doing something good for the country. And now that Noy is leading in the presidential race survey, it looks like we’ll be seeing more of Rhett’s hit up to election season next year. Here, TheSwankStyle talks to the guy who put the shirt with the map, well, on the map.

How do you start your day?
I usually wake up around 6am. I go to the gym for about an hour then I'm in the office around 8:30

A moment/time/activity in the day you look forward to?
I really enjoy going to the stores and checking on whats moving and talking to clients and getting their feedback.

Describe your work station?
My desk is piled with swatches, color charts, pantone books and colored markers. I also have my laptop in front of me most of the day.

How do you work? Is there a certain time of day where you feel you are more inspired? Do you need music?
I work best alone if I'm working on some ideas. No particular time in designing. I always have a sketch pad when I travel. I usually have music on, mostly Coldplay sometimes Kanye West. I walk a lot when I'm abroad, in Manila I don't walk much.

What inspires you?
Anything can inspire me, a piece of art, music, a gesture, an old picture or something I've read.

Your favorite source of inspiration.
Books about fashion designers on how they work and develop their ideas. Right now I'm reading about Martin Margiela. Before that it was Cristobal Balenciaga.

Your favorite smell.
I love the smell of coffee in the morning

ninoyLike father, like son. Ninoy wearing Collezione (a screencap from docu The Last Journey of Ninoy) and Noynoy at the Club Filipino Wednesday last week. Noy photo by Patrick Uy.

What is your favorite yellow object/memory?
I saw a Coldplay concert earlier this year and when they sang "Yellow" they threw out about 50 giant yellow balloons to the audience and they were tossed around the concert hall until some of them burst then out came yellow confetti.

When you thought of putting the Philippine map on a shirt, what were the other thoughts that accompanied it?
I was thinking how I would feel wearing a the map on my chest.

Would you say the Pilipinas shirt is your biggest hit?
Yes I think so.

Has the orders/demand increased? Are there special orders coming from the Aquino camp?
We have been growing ever since we launched the map series last year. We have a hard time keeping the map shirts in stock but we manage. We do get orders from them.

Where are you taking the Philippine map stamp of Collezione? What’s in store in the coming months?
We are expanding the line to accessories and working on a bespoke line. We just opened two Makati stores in Greeenbelt 5 and Glorietta 3. We are opening a concept store in Rockwell on Oct. 8.

What are you doing this weekend?
Probably just watch the US open championship on TV.

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