Tal of Risqué approach: “Go for the crazy ideas”
Mae Escartin

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA—What will be your initial reaction when you see people who are bold and naked? Tal De Guzman, the Owner and Designer of Risqué Designs, took the risk to present the “nakedness” of her avant-garde shoe designs in the country.

In 2012, De Guzman started her business with a desire to put together pieces of good craftsmanship that could be found in different parts of the country. She first started using carved and woven textiles for a bag when she joined the competition for Weaving the Future. Then and there she realized how good the carvers from the town of Paete, Laguna were but just limited to traditional designs.

To begin her business, she carefully looked for woodcarvers who would want to take her ideas into reality. She asked some professional carvers who could produce what she designed, though most could only make a few of her products. Fortunately, a couple woodcarvers took her in. She then introduced heel carving with modern designs to them.

“I just really believed in the talent of Filipino craftsmen and I find it a waste that we’re not utilizing them for more modern designs. I think Filipinos are a very creative people and it’s not being used here locally so much. The most creative people that we have, a lot of them they go abroad and then their works will be recalled through the names of the international designers but not as Filipinos,” De Guzman shared.

In 2013, De Guzman entered her prototypes to a crowdfunding site in the country called Spark Project to fund her Animalia Filipina Collection, a series of heels which was inspired by endemic Philippine animals. In just 26 days she reached her funding goal and released the collection.

 

 
 

“With Spark Project I was really pushed to my limit and it’s nice. I liked the experience because for one I got the collection released it helped me really push myself to be able to come up with a beautiful collection. It was an affirmation for me, it’s something that made me more confident about what I’m doing right now,” De Guzman said.

Aside from the Animalia Filipina Collection, she also has four other collections such as Obra de Hora or Works of Time collection which was inspired from the Philippine legends of flora, fauna, and the cosmos; the Lady of Devotion which was inspired from a story of a sampaguita vendor who was always representing the poorest of the poor communities selling sampaguita to the rich and how this sampaguita transforms poverty to devotion; the Couture and Culture which she described as not for the weak of heart, soul, and sole but for the daring and fashion-forward; and the Young Designer collection which was her collaboration project with young designers from School of Fashion and the Arts.

“My products were received in different ways. For some it was ‘wow it’s very fashionable, it’s something new,’ and for some it’s like what is that can that be worn and when they see the real thing, they would say “ah kaya pala.’ The one that I like most of the reactions was they felt proud that it’s something Filipino,” she said.

De Guzman also said that it’s good to start a profitable business what if you don’t like what you’re selling it wouldn’t go up. She ended the conversation by reminding aspiring entrepreneurs to go for crazy ideas because that would set you apart from your competitors.

“You look at someone who’s naked, it’s either you see it as bastos or you see the art of it. With Risqué, I would give people the liberty to see the art within it,” De Guzman concluded.

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