Boutique owner/fashion blogger/stylist JP SINGSON hasn’t always been into style, but he has one thing to thank for getting him into it: heartbreak.
“Fashion is fashion. Even if you’re abroad or [in the Philippines], people who go to fashion shows share the same passion, which is to see good designs, good clothes; it’s all the same.”
So introduce yourself and what you do for a living?
Hi, I’m JP Singson. I’m a fashion blogger, and I also started a boutique here in Quezon City. It’s called Unisex Rewind. I basically carry a mixture of new and old stuff. Most of the new stuff come from Asian designers, including a couple of local designers. The pre-owned stuff, I usually get it from different people. They consign their stuff to my boutique. I also do some styling on the side when I have free time.
When did your love of fashion begin?
It’s actually really funny because I sort of had an on and off love with fashion. When I had a relationship in the States, I sort of focused on that. And then when we broke up, I started discovering myself through fashion. That’s when I started exploring. That’s when I started thinking, “I’m just gonna dress however I want.” At that time, I told myself I’m not gonna care about what people say, I’m just gonna enjoy myself and dress the way I like.
What made you start your store Unisex?
I moved here to Manila in 2009, and I’ve always had a hard time looking for clothes, and I figured, “Why not start my own?” And that’s when I conceptualized Unisex ‘coz there are not a lot of stores in Manila where they carry a lot of androgynous, unisex stuff, unlike in Europe, Hong Kong, Japan where they have all these conceptual stores focusing on that.
So how would you define your “hustle”?
Growing up, I’ve always been business-minded. In one way or another, I’ve sold something to my classmates. I started selling online when I was still living in the States. I sort of “hustled” the stuff. I would line up if there’s like a collaboration or something. I would get stuff, hoard stuff, and literally sell everything on eBay. That’s when I first started doing that. Eventually, I realized I could make a business out of it. Now, since I’m living in the Philippines, I sort of brought that with me. Since there’s not a lot of stores that carry the stuff I that I like, and I sort of want to bring it to the people in the Philippines, especially for the ones who are interested in the same aesthetic.
How about the “hustle” in terms of blogging?
Obviously, if you’re blogging, you want to write something interesting and you need to have good PR skills. That’s one of the things I’m really proud of—I got it from my parents, I guess. So, in order to get a good story, in order to get to the coolest places, parties, stuff like that, you have to learn how to hustle. It’s instinctive.
You’ve been to European shows. Can you compare those to Philippine shows?
I’ve been very blessed that I’ve been able to go to shows abroad. Fashion is fashion. Even if you’re abroad or here, people who go to fashion shows share the same passion, which is to see good designs, good clothes; it’s all the same. The only difference is that they have better resources abroad, they’re more open-minded, and they have a lot more choices in terms of designs. But as far as the people are concerned, I think they’re all just the same.
Can you name the designers that influenced your personal style?
I guess if I’m gonna name a few of the designers that shaped my style today, they would probably be Rick Owens, Mort Garson, Yohji Yamomoto, Martin Margiela, Damir Doma, all those avant-garde designers. There are a couple of local designers that I look up to like Don Protacio, who is based in Cambodia. He’s amazing. I also adore Norma Noriega, whose androgynous style greatly influences me as well. Oh, I also like Jojie Lloren, and Rajo Laurel. Rajo is a great businessman, and I have great respect for him as a businessman.
“I believe in mixing high street, vintage, and designer fashion. You can never put a price on fashion. I always tell my friends that it’s not the brand you wear, but how you wear it.”
Let’s talk about your style philosophy.
My philosophy is very simple. I greatly believe in the saying, “Less is more.” I’m a minimalist; I like to keep things plain and simple. Once in a while, I like to shock people, but I still maintain the simplicity by dressing monochromatic. I don’t really wear colors; I’m a big believer of the black and white color scheme. I can also say that my style is very progressive, I like very modern design. My style is influenced by vintage fashion, but I use that as basis and make it modern somehow.
Do you believe in high end brands?
Yes, totally. I believe in mixing high street, vintage, and designer fashion. You can never put a price on fashion. I always tell my friends that it’s not the brand you wear, but how you wear it.
Who are your musical influences? Top 5—songs, albums, or bands?
Music is one of the things that drive me on a daily basis. If I’m gonna name five acts I would die not listening to, they would have to be: Radiohead. I love Radiohead; Rachael Yamagata; Jeff Buckley—oh my God, I love Jeff Buckley, I couldn’t live without his music. Who else? Brandon Flowers of The Killers. And… Regina Spektor [laughs]. I can’t think of anybody else right now. It’s a toss up between Regina Spektor and Sufjan Stevens.
What about movies that influence you?
Oh my gosh. It’s so hard to name movies. I’ve probably seen tens of thousands. Does it have to be a fashion movie?
No. Just your Top 3. The best.
The ones that I’ve been watching nonstop: Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Closer with Julia Roberts, Jude Law, and Clive Owen; and the third one is Something’s Gotta Give. Chick flick!
What projects are you working on right now?
Projects, projects, projects… Well, my store is basically keeping me busy. Hopefully I wanna get into TVC, and hopefully do more clothes…And yeah, the fashion weeks. I’ll be covering the fashion shows, the Spring/Summer shows this coming season. That’s what’s keeping me busy right now.
Interview by Loris Peña
Photographed by Patrick L. Jamora
For the full story, grab a copy of STATUS September 2012 issue