Saturday, March 4, 2017

Glam it up with Maizy Colleen

 “Glam it up with Maizy Colleen”
Sun.Star Davao, March 4, 2017

         Some of us search for our life’s purpose and never get to discover it. But, there are others who find their calling early on and dare to live it.

       Twenty-five year old Maizy Colleen Alvarez Tan is one such inspiring dreamer whose ultimate passion is fashion.

        “I remember I enjoyed dressing up my Barbie dolls in crepe paper and masking tape when I was a child”, Maizy relates. Crafting ceaselessly captivated the imaginative lass. As she grew older, she moved on to sewing and pattern-making as her pastimes.

      Seeing how these worthwhile hobbies brought so much joy to their daughter, Maizy’s parents gifted her with a brand new portable sewing machine which she immediately put into good use by designing and creating her high school prom dress and even her debut gown, drawing praises from impressed loved ones.

          After becoming a registered nurse, Maizy’s parents gave her their blessing to enroll at the Fashion Institute of Design and Arts to pursue her first love. She eventually established her first successful atelier before working in Dubai.

Dubai couture scene

Maizy has perpetually been fascinated with the famed “City of Gold”. Many people in the industry talked about the couture scene in Dubai with such awe that it intrigued the youthful designer.

Fortunately, Jacy Kay Design Couture, a high-end fashion house based in Dubai, chanced upon her popular Instagram design posts one day (Maizy has over 12,000 followers on Instagram) and an offer for her to work in Dubai followed immediately. “Of course, I said “yes” right away!”, recalls the adventurous Maizy. 

“Dubai is a haven for thrill-seekers and young creatives. I made wonderful friends and met so many people. When I was at work, it felt like I was in fashion school all over again. I will never forget the moment when my boss took me to Morocco to do a shoot for our Instagram page. It's like I got paid to learn and enjoy at the same time!”, she reminisces fondly.

“My boss sends me to assist brides on their wedding day so I watch them have their photo shoot at helipads of the Burj Al Arab or at the Seaside of the Emirates Palace. The brides have a whole production of videographers and lady photographers. 

One time, this bride had a 10-meter long train that practically covered the hotel's whole staircase! I constantly had a little belt bag with needles and sequins just in case of clothing malfunctions or rips on the dress. I sit through the whole affair and our clients tipped me generously. It was tremendously fun! I felt like I was on a fashion field trip”, adds Maizy. 

The Dubai stint significantly honed Maizy’s design techniques, “Being the only woman designer meant that I had tons of constructive criticism from gay designers telling me not to be restricted; to make my designs more "flirty"; and my beadwork patterns more "grand". Working with the best among the fashion industry in Dubai definitely helped me in my creative growth”, admits Maizy. 

A breathtaking gown fully beaded with Swarovski crystals weighing 7 kilos
  After two years of buying fabric, designing and manning the workshop, Maizy, who would feel homesick every now and then, felt that it was about time to go home. Her dream to revive her shop in Davao was next in her agenda.

Prom hits

            Having her own shop the second time around enabled the talented Dabawenya to apply the techniques she learned abroad. “I really cherish the creative process. I create the patterns myself then pass them on to the tailor who helps me actualize the pieces”, divulges Maizy.

Maizy’s design inspirations include Marchesca whose frills and florals are so “perfectly placed”. “I am also a fan of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana's creative process, how they take inspiration from their roots and incorporate everything into their pieces. Couture-wise, I look up to so many designers, but my most favorite is Christian Lacroix because I love couture techniques like beadworks, laser-cutting and hand-painting. His work is breathtaking!”, gushes Maizy.

Opening her atelier in time for the prom season turned out to be an unexpected blessing. Her stunning creations didn’t go unnoticed as her glammed up clients were proclaimed “Prom Queen, Best Dressed, Head Turner, and Miss Debonair” in their respective high school proms. 

The lovely chinita shares that the current prom trend in Davao is off-shoulder. “Schools here are so restrictive of what the students should wear at the prom, so I feel that's why everyone is opting for off-shoulder pieces instead of the usual sleeveless style”, observes Maizy.

            However, beyond trends, Maizy explains that “custom-made pieces are a combination of the designer’s aesthetic and the client's input. Thus, I always ensure that each piece is a reflection of my client's personality. I think that alone will set her apart from the crowd”.

For those who want to pursue a career in fashion, Maizy has this priceless advice: “Keep on keeping on! It's hard work but if it's your passion, it doesn't feel like work at all!”.

Designs by Maizy Colleen is located at Door 5, Sobrecarey cor. Vinzon Sts., Davao City. Follow her on Instagram @maizycolleen. You may contact Maizy at +63 920 948 8788.

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