Designer Focus: The Young And The Inspired

STAIL.PH is a platform for young and inspired creatives.
by Ian Vill

This February’s issue is all about self-love in a sense of doing what you want to do because you can. Our sweet STAIL Icon, Kisses Delavin, wore the designs of two very talented fashion designers who embody this idea. Meet Emanuel Riñoza, the Young Artist and Vanessa Pinlac, the Inspired Agent.


The Young

Emanuel or “Eman” is the young designer behind Kisses’ flowing pink pleated dress. Unlike most of this 19-year old fashion designer’s classmates, he never dreamed of becoming a fashion designer when he was a kid. Before fashion, he wanted to be an OB-Gyne. His interest in fashion only truly sparked during his senior high school days after he took a dressmaking class.



And yet, this young designer is already making strides in the industry, having designed for Miss International Philippines, Patch Magtanong, and now our very own Kisses Delavin. We’re excited to see him flourish on into the future.

Emanuel Riñoza first of all should be classy, then sophistication follows.



The Inspired

Vanessa Pinlac is the multi-talented designer mind for Kisses’ dazzling blue sequin dress. Vanessa isn’t your typical designer. In fact, she isn’t a full-time designer at all. She started out as a sales and account executive, but her influences in fashion date back to her early days. Her mother used to own a tailoring store and would make dresses for her as she grew up. This made her want to create her own dresses for herself. Her beloved mother passed away before she could support Vanessa to go through fashion studies. This led her to take on a different path and ended up in sales.




But once she could be more independent, Vanessa finally went on to pursue the calling destined for her from her childhood. Fortunately for her, she works in an agency that handles fashion creativity. Now, Vanessa deals with creative artists as an agent by day, but by night she transforms and becomes a fashion artist herself.




My personal style is a combination of prints and solids with masculine-feminine elements.



Let’s get to know these skilled fashion designers more.



What is fashion for you?

Eman: Fashion for me is more of a need than a want for people. We live in a country where fashion is often criticized by everyone, but I do believe that it shouldn’t be like that. It should be a celebration of self-expression and our own beauty through the means of fashion.


Vanessa: Fashion is an art form. It’s an expression. It represents life. And fashion is always about change.


Why is fashion important to you?

Eman: Fashion is important for me because as a designer, we stand for something greater more than just the clothes we make. We stand for our own identity and creative mindsets.


Vanessa: Fashion is my food. I feel like it nourishes my creativity, and I’m always starving to learn more about it. It’s a constant presence in my life. I can’t survive without it. I feel like life will lose its color if I don’t have fashion to enable me to express my creativity, individuality, and style.

It’s self-expression, self-empowerment, and confidence.

I’ve been in love with the fashion industry since I was young. Fashion developed early in my life because my mom used to have a tailoring shop and she used to make clothes for me that’s why I’ve always been wanting to make clothes for myself as well.


How would you describe your style?

Eman: Emanuel Riñoza first of all should be classy, then sophistication follows.


Vanessa: My personal style is a combination of prints and solids with masculine-feminine elements. That’s why my design is modern, chic, figure-flattering silhouettes, I want my design to come across as fearless as the women who wear my clothes and a woman in the office whose outfit we want to steal the most.


What are your fashion inspirations?

Eman: Actually, it’s very random. It can be from nature, or a person, or even a sound. Whatever pops out of my mind, but I consider to concentrate first and always think out of the box. Fashion is very limitless and it’s more than what meets the eye.


Vanessa: It all started in the pages of the magazines. Fashion books, Roy Lichtenstein pop arts, Joan Miró’s abstract arts, museums and art galleries, films and fashion documentaries like Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino: The Last Emperor, Coco Before Chanel, Annie Hall, etc. and collections of my favorite designers.


What is your favorite part of being a fashion designer?

Eman: My favorite part of being a fashion designer is showcasing my works to the public because it is a product of my hard work. I must admit that I’ve been attacked by a lot of frustrations whenever I make some clothes and it’s really satisfying when you finishe it because it’s like you conquered again another battle.


Vanessa: For me, the best part is the creative process. From a small idea in my mind to sketching to buying materials, measuring, to executing—and finally, to seeing the finished garment in the flesh. There’s something about being there for the whole process and knowing that this creation was born out of an inspiration I once had. It’s both an amazing and humbling experience.



Where do you get your fashion inspirations for designs? What are these inspirations?

Eman: For my designs, I usually get inspirations from different textures I must say. It can be from nature or an architectural setting.

Vanessa: I’m inspired by so many great designers. From Pierpaolo Piccioli’s powerful identity as a modern luxury designer for Valentino, how he kept the otherworldly and decadent themes of the fashion house and gave it his own modern spin. I super like the Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2018/2019 and Spring 2020 Couture. From Anthony Vaccarello’s rebellious take on Hedi Slimane’s grunge chic anthem that shook the couture world. The Saint Laurent Spring 2018 collection –leathers, sparkles and feathers galore. And Tom Ford’s recreation of trends from the nineties Spring/Summer 2018 Collection. Museums and art galleries like Musée d’Orsay, Joan Miró’s modern art museum in Montjuic, Barcelona, and Balenciaga: Working in Black exhibit at the Musée Bourdelle, Paris. I also listen to classical music – Philip Glass, Mozart, and Yo-Yo Ma. Indie music like Polica, Petit Biscuit, Sylvan Esso, etc. It keeps my work better and helps me become more productive.


What made you choose to be a fashion designer? Why?

Eman: Fashion isn’t really a childhood dream for me, unlike my other colleagues. It just made me put myself into fashion when I took dressmaking class during Junior High School. I just remembered that when I was a child, I’m fond of drawing girls with long hair and floral dresses, maybe that’s a sign?


Vanessa: I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer when I was a teenager. I remember when I was still in college, I asked my mom if I can go to a fashion school after, she said yes but months after my graduation, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. When she passed away, my siblings wanted me to work so I can be independent and have my own money. But it didn’t stop me there. I quit my job to go back to school and study fashion. I had zero knowledge when I started and there is a lot of math involved! It’s a bit of a struggle because I’m not good at Math!)


What is the greatest thing or dream you want to achieve?

Eman: My greatest dream I wanted to achieve is to dress up a Miss Philippines representative in Miss Universe for I am really into gowns and pageantry. Someday I believe, I’ll achieve that.


Vanessa: I’d like to have my own brand, my own shop with good and trusted sewers and pattern makers to work with me and to be one of the top designers in the country.


What about your greatest dream in fashion and for your designs?

Eman: My greatest dream in fashion is to have my own fashion house in the future. More than doing couture pieces, I also want to have a ready-to-wear line so anyone can wear Emanuel Riñoza.


Vanessa: To be a fashion designer with global appeal while still respecting my Filipino roots. I’d like to have my brand enjoy both local and international recognition.


Tell me a time in your life or career that you were pressured to do something you didn’t want to do. How did you handle it?

Eman: It happens most of the time, when clients force their wants but it’s obviously impossible. I don’t want to create something that I think won’t work. I always love to take risk but if it’s obviously impossible, it’s just a waste of time.


Vanessa: Probably my baptism of fire when I was still an account executive for a publishing company. I had to fix a problem that I knew it wasn’t my fault. I handled it with grace. Salespeople tend to have to fight through 10 failures just to get one success.

Also heartache. When a loved one left you after 7 years. That’s the part of my journey that felt the scariest. Everything has a beginning and an end. It’s tough to say goodbye. It always is. But part of life is learning to let things go. And there is love in letting go.


Tell me a time you did something you really wanted to do, not because you were pressured to, but because you wanted to.

Eman: The first time I am given a chance to dress up a beauty queen, Patch Magtanong, I am really excited to create clothes for her. I always make sure that I did my best in every garment.


Vanessa: I remember my dressmaking final exam, (What Kisses wore on the cover) we were asked to design our own take on Slim Salvacion Lim Higgins’ designs for the school’s exhibit. I was in Paris and saw this gorgeous fabric and it spoke to me. I’ve never used a sequin fabric and my teachers were a bit afraid for me to do it, it was ambitious for a student like me but I took the risk. I struggled with it a lot, and every time I fixed a problem, there’s always a new one appearing but just because we were designing with a particular theme it doesn’t mean we have to limit ourselves. I’m glad to say that the risk I took was worth it, and that creation became a hit!


How do you want to be remembered?

Eman: I want to be a remembered as a person full of love and dreams, and will do everything to make those dreams into reality.


Vanessa: For being the go-to fashion designer of modern clothes. I want to see women/men walking down the streets in my designs. I want them to feel confident and empowered when they wear my clothes. And at the end of the day, I want people to realize that what they wear can be an extension of their best selves. And I’m honored to have become part of that.


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