The fact that I didn’t study anything related to [fashion] makes me more hungry about it.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Karl Leuterio and I am 26 years old. I live in a small town in Metro Manila. I am a registered nurse and I’ve worked in the hospital for 3 years but I [started pursuing] my designing career a year ago. I’ve been blogging since 2009 and through blogging, I became interested in fashion design (hence I created online/indie clothing brand Paradigm Shift with my friend). During the day I work as a fashion designer and marketing officer at GOLD DOT shoes. At GD I design footwear, bags and clothing. It's a fun job! It was a rather interesting growth and transformation for my career—"a hobby that pays."
What are your biggest passions?
Fashion, design, photography and my career. I think the fact that I didn’t study anything related to it makes me more hungry about it. It's like an extension of my life now and it's not something I experienced in school but rather something I initially experienced at work, which makes it more practical and organic.
How did you first become interested in fashion and why is it important?
I've always loved fashion…but in small doses. I bought magazines and read them before I reviewed for my nursing exams. I initially loved photography and the beauty of a fashion editorial then it watered down for some time because I wanted to focus on studying. Then in 2008, I made my style blog and from there, I became so in-love with clothes, personal style, street style. During that time, fashion blogging was more into the "What I Wore Today" kind of blogging so I made one too and the response I got was surprisingly overwhelming.
How do you describe the fashion scene in Manila compared to other major cities or fashion capitals?
The fashion scene here is diverse. It's a mix of neo-goth , K-pop, mild Harajuku , hipster. I don’t wanna group people but yeah…Filipinos are super big fans of Lookbook whenever I go to the city and see stylish kids in the street, it always reminds me of Lookbook. I think the Philippine fashion [scene] is promising and still in the process of growing. Kids (as early as 14) nowadays have fashion blogs, online stores and they know what they want for themselves. Also, many Filipinos nowadays are enrolled in fashion schools to study design, fashion business, fashion photography and even styling. I think it's a good sign. What I want for the Filipinos is to genuinely support the local designers because apart from it, I think we, Filipinos, are still excited about the idea of buying from international retails and brands. I want the Philippines to be like the Japanese and Swedes (when it comes to consumerism).
What do you love about living in Manila?
I love that it's diverse and living here isn’t that expensive. Food is cheap and there's always something new to visit. They say that Manila is just beautiful because of the big malls but there are many cool places to hangout. You just have to appreciate it. It's nice to live here also because it's a "perfect imperfect" city. You get what I mean?
Tell us your top 3 places to visit in Philippines:
1. Baguio—I love this small city because it's cold and gloomy in a Sweden kind of way. When I go to Baguio, it makes me feel like I am in an entirely different space and time. Layering is more fun in Baguio too.
2. Manila (Manila Chinatown, Rizal Park, Intramuros)—for more Manila street style realness!
3. Palawan—although I’ve never been here, they say that the beaches here are less commercialized. Just pure raw beach beauty.
Describe your personal style and its influences or inspirations.
My personal style has changed but one thing remained—it's androgynous. I also want the idea of incorporating style on a functional level (everyday wear). Right now I am into more minimal pieces that I can wear over and over again in a different style. Philippines is T-SHIRT weather so I hoard on well constructed t-shirts. I want my style to evoke silence and order. I also love layering and I think layering is a clever way of telling a new story in clothes.
What are your favorite designers and places to shop?
I love both Filipino and international designers. Internationally, I love Rad Hourani , J.J.S. Lee, Yang Li, J.W. Anderson, Raf Simons , Rick Owens and Margiela. I love the pieces at ASOS, COS and ACNE. In Hong Kong I always ask my friend to buy me pieces from Mercibeaucoup, Initial and House of Chapel. I am lucky to have Filipino designers who are close to me. I love Norman Noriega, Don Protasio, young designer Renan Pacson and Proud Race.
The first thing you look at in another person's outfit is:
What do you skimp on?
Bags (I don’t care if I use plastic bags or paper bags haha) and food. I am not a foodie. I’d rather save for traveling and shoes.
What do you splurge on?
Shoes and basics! And this time I wanna try traveling with my boyfriend.
A fashion rule you always break:
I’m more focused with the fun side of fashion than memorizing the rules. I don’t know any rules. As long as you're happy—that's it!
A fashion rule you never break:
It’s not a rule per se. For me fashion is being healthy. Go to the gym, eat healthy foods, throw the chips away…and you'll feel good with or without clothes!
What do you think is the most recent notable trend to appear/reappear, and what are your thoughts on it?
I’ve been seeing a lot of stripes and navy and there's a big movement in menswear right now. Every season gets so exciting…
What is the most underrated item in menswear and womenswear?
Watches, underwear and jewelry.
Your favorite color of the moment is:
What is your next "must have" purchase?
A multi-way Rad Hourani jacket (so expensive)…and shoes from ACNE.
What is the ultimate showpiece in your closet?
My Kermit Tesoro heelless shoes. It's an iconic shoe and whenever I look at it I feel special because only select people were given a chance by Kermit to have them.
Are there any fashion icons or famous people whose style you admire?
I love the face of Tilda Swinton. The androgynous flair of Rad Hourani. I also admire the energy and youth of KPOP stars: 2ne1, Gdragon, and his group BIGBANG. At the moment, I’m super in love with Ivania Carpio’s minimal fashion. It's so clean and pure that it makes me wanna remove all excess I have. I wanna be like her but it's so hard, haha.
What's on your iPod, bookstand & DVD player at the moment?
I collect my boyfriend's voice notes on my phone. He always serenades me. I also listen to St. Vincent, 2NE1 and Corinne Bailey Rae. I LOVE SAD SONGS! I’m also listening to Lana Del Rey's On Our Way.
My fave book is Fashion Now, which is a compilation of respected fashion designers. I read it whenever I feel less inspired.
DVD: Kill Bill and The Walking Dead.
What can't you live without?
My iPhone…INTERNET (sorry)…and LOVE!
Next place you want to travel to:
Singapore…because it's one of my dream cities. It's not far from Manila and it's small but progressive and clean.
What is your personal favorite outfit on LOOKBOOK by you, and by another member?
THIS IS MY ULTIMATE FAVE LOOK. It's my ode to Rad Hourani and I want all my outfits to be this compact. My fave look from another member is Junior Sealy’s. He is minimal but never boring. I love his "straight-from-the-runway" styling so much.
In the year 2018, you will be:
RICH. I must be rich.
What would you say to someone seeking general fashion advice?
WEAR TO EXPRESS NOT TO IMPRESS.
Our last interviewee Kerti P. wants to know: If you were of the opposite sex what kind of clothing would you wear and how would you describe your style?
This is easy considering the fact that I really wear women's clothes/shoes haha. If I'm gonna be a girl, I would not wear girly clothes; instead, I'd wear tailored shorts, big jackets, boxy shirts that would hide my curves. I would celebrate my femininity in mannish pieces ‘cause I love juxtaposition.
What should we ask the next interviewee?
If Yuri Lee (creator of Lookbook) would ask you to be her assistant, what fresh idea or project would you propose? (A different collab, a new section? A new way of hyping a look…be creative haha.)