A league of extraordinarily-dressed gentlemen
CONFIDENT, special and very handsome. These are the feelings that designer Rajo Laurel wants to evoke from his new collection.
“RajoMan is all about exuding confidence and success and making people appreciate a good sense of style,” explained Laurel.
Already an established name in women’s fashion, Laurel points to necessity as his main inspiration for taking on the challenge of coming up with a new line of men’s clothing.
He says the project was conceived after his 33-year-old brother John had asked for a line, which would represent his generation of style.
“John approached me and was sort of like, ‘Kuya, how about me?’ Don’t forget the men’s wear, because there’s something missing that needs to be addressed.’
“That’s when I felt like we indeed left out something in the men’s wear. It’s a very small market. But you will realize that it has evolved. It has a growing business and you’ll see a lot of desire for that. Because we live in such as busy time where everyone is in a hurry, we seemed to have forgotten that there’s a time where you’ll need more than just t-shirts and jeans.
“Different occasions call for particular outfits—clothes to attend weddings in, clothes for children, the finery for somebody who’s getting married. RajoMan is an organic result of our personal necessities for specially-made outfits.”
The prolific designer said that the challenge in creating a men’s line was in terms of restraint and control.
“Remember women are circles and men are squares, so there are a lot of considerations to take in like fabric, fit, technique. You don’t want men to look like women so you have to hold back,” he said.
This need also motivated Laurel to exercise his creative powers to the hilt—gathering inspiration from a multitude of elements and blending them into one seamless look—a look that exemplifies a fashion-forward style.
Laurel created RajoMan to embody the distillation of two seemingly contrasting elements—the classic and the forthcoming. In terms of looks, RajoMan gives a nod to the archaic with components that are made with subtle and minute details, and brings back that luxury with pieces that evoke the feel of bespoke clothing.
He reworks the classic by infusing it with a forward-looking style through the use of contemporary color blocking that puts the fun in somber suits and shirts; a silhouette that is closer to the body to emphasize the new leanness in clothes; and refreshing details such as double bleaching, paint blotching, and fine embroidery. Overall, the look and feel is sleek and highly artisanal—special and one-of-a-kind. Or, as Laurel himself puts it, “the new dandy.”
RajoMan borrows from the high-pedigree of style favored by proper English gentlemen and updated the look to make it more creative and fun. Thus, the label offers a variety of designs for occasions that call for dressing up—such as formal dinners, cocktails and special events.
Bowties, which signify a departure from the traditional and reflect a spirit of fun and playfulness, are a conspicuous part of the RajoMan label. “Bowties signify a nod to the past, yet is somehow more youthful and innovative,” he admitted. Bowties give men the chance to be sartorially elegant without being staid.
“RajoMan is all about capturing the essence of a gentleman’s club. This is my homage to the English tailoring of the 40s and 50s.” What this meant was that we sorted through the clothes of our great uncles and grandfathers; dissected it, borrowed a lot of emphasis from tailoring from the past and presented it in such a way as how men would wear it now.”
“That is why the ambassadors are very important because they make it relevant—real, authentic. Key words, key phrases that actually make what RajoMan is all about,” he stressed.
To launch the RajoMan line in a gentlemen’s club event, the designer worked with Jaguar, Remy Martin, UBOAT, Asti and Sony to bring together some of the most-admired and respected men in society to be its ambassadors.
“These men have accomplished so much in their respective fields. They are very creative, intelligent, and they actually appreciate what sartorialism is—something this collection is trying to push. Rajo defines “sartorial” as one’s love for clothes.
A tribute to Pinoy tailoring
RajoMan is also a celebration and a tribute to the Filipino art of tailoring.
“This is my reaction to all of the t-shirts and jeans that is available to us, to make sure that this art form does not die because if we let go, it will disappear and everything we wear will just be made in China—which sadly, is already happening.
“When was the last time that a proper shirt or pair of pants was made for you?”
RajoMan is a fusion of the elements of ready-to-wear and tailor-made clothes and travels the line between the two. In this exclusive system, styles are put on the rack following standardized sizes and proportions. Customers, however, are given the option to personalize the fit and details, which can be altered to satisfy their specifications. Trained salespersons will be on hand to give men informed advice and tips to optimize the experience of wearing a RajoMan outfit.
“I believe that there is a niche for properly-made garments for men. RajoMan has been created to fulfill the needs of that niche by offering clothes that put forward the best of classic tailoring combined with contemporary, well-placed details. RajoMan is, simply put, an experience,” he says.
“Through RajoMan, Filipino men will enjoy a new shopping experience—one that combines the convenience of buying prêt-a-porter and the luxury of having an outfit made to order,” he stated.
RajoMan is available at the House of Laurel, 6013 Villena cor. Mañalac Sts., Bgy. Poblacion, Makati City.
For inquiries, call 895-5688, 899-9946, 897-5063 loc 808 and 0917-THEHOL1; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.rajolaurel.com. The line is also available at Chimes Specialty Store in Davao City.