In fashion, stars are made as quickly as they fade away. It’s a dog-eat-dog world. This year’s buzzy blogger could be next year’s inside joke. This season’s “muse of the moment” could be the next moment’s persona non grata. As Heidi Klum famously said, “One day you’re in, next day you’re out.” In an industry that lives off buzz, it takes real vision, talent, and work ethic to make that moment last.
Tina Ong and Esme Palaganas are two young fashion movers who look like they’re in for the long haul. Although only about a year into their budding fashion careers, they’ve made names for themselves through work that aims to go against the tide—in their own quiet ways.
Tina is, of course, better known as fashion blogger Religion Black. On last year’s Preview Best Dressed, she was praised for her androgynous style, a soft-hard, high-low look that—in black—lives in stark contrast to the more-is-more, technicolor style of the rest of the fashion bloggers. The likes of Georgina Wilson and Martine Cajucom call themselves fans.
Esme, meanwhile, is the force behind Basic Movement, a young brand that is quietly making a name for itself among the city’s style-savvy. A favorite of young stylists, the brand has appeared in numerous fashion editorials, everywhere from Preview to Benchmark, on the backs of beauties like Liza Soberano and Katarina Rodriguez.
The girls are coming together for a seven-piece collection that celebrates black in “all but practical silhouettes.” The Basic Movement x Religion Black capsule collection will be launched tonight at SOMA Stores in Green Sun. We talked to the dynamic duo before the launch and got a sneak peek into the event.
How did you first hear of each other?
Tina Ong: I read about Esme on the B/Blog because she was featured at the same time as my brother. I was reminded of her when I asked Thea (of The Girl + Bull and 12/10) where she got her dresses! Esme made all her dresses. That’s when I made the mental note that I had to get in touch with her.
Esme Palaganas: Her blog is different and it actually reminds me of how early/circa 2009 bloggers did their posts: organic, not forced. She just wants to document her style and share her views on fashion. It’s a breath of fresh air.
Why did you decide to collaborate?
Esme Palaganas: I wasn’t keen on creating a season collection for Basic Movement since I’m a bit behind the fashion calendar, so a suggestion from Willar and Martin [co-SOMA Store retailers] is that maybe I should do a capsule collection instead.
Tina Ong: It was a very casual question Esme asked me, and it’s been a very organic development since!
Esme Palaganas: When I met up with her, I casually dropped a question for a collab. And then for the following fittings, I made sure that the collab wasn’t a joke! So she sketched and I sketched, and we refined so many ideas into four looks… Her style and branding is very distinct. Her high-low, masculine-feminine way of mixing things is close to the Basic Movement identity, it just felt right that we make something together.
What do you think you can bring to the collab? What do you think your collaborator brings to the table?
Esme Palaganas: My style is more feminine than masculine, Tina’s is masculine chic. Tina brought in more of the menswear spirit in each piece… And of course Religion Black’s love for the non-color is obviously evident. We never got bored of black throughout the process.
Tina Ong: Esme brings out the girl in me! Haha. I think I bring the tailored/boyish aspects of the look as you would normally see in my personal blog, while Esme gives it balance and the signature Basic Movement touch which is the shirring, the pleats, the very awesome function that are pockets.
Who did you make this new line for?
Tina Ong: Esme will say that we made it for ourselves, which is true! But I think that people who like to dress in an androgynous way and support the idea of locally made designs will really appreciate this collection!
Esme Palaganas: I’ve read that great style starts in stores, not in your closet, this is a carefully curated collection for a woman who thinks and lives smartly.
The Basic Movement x Religion Black collection is available at SOMA Stores in Green Sun, 2285 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati. Follow @basicmovement on Instagram for more details.