From pastime to passion. Laborte is on his way to conquering the runway with his clothing designs.
BACK in high school, Ryan Laborte had the habit of scribbling clothing designs at the back of his notebook to relieve his boredom during Chemistry classes. Little did he know that this doodling habit would make him realize his passion for fashion.

Emerging in the recently-concluded 2008 Animax Fashion Ability contest as second runner-up, Laborte is now set toward a career in fashion design.
Hearing about the contest from a friend during its first run in 2006, Laborte planned on joining but shelved the thought since he was about to enter college then. It was only during the contest’s second year that he decided to sign up and submit his design.

“After a lot of thinking, I was able to plan what I wanted to do,” said the incoming UST Advertising arts junior.

Held last April 5 at the Trinoma Activity Center, the Animax Fashion Ability is a designing contest that aims to inspire young designers to make quality clothes based on a Japanese cartoon show.

Big names in the entertainment and fashion industry judged the designs such as Juno L. Henares-Chuidian, Sky Cable’s vice president for programming; Edwin Tan, fashion designer; Cristalle Belo Henares, Intelligent Skin managing director; David Fabros, renowned photographer; and Jerome Allen Lorico, 2006 Animax Fashion Ability champion.

Twenty finalists were chosen. They were first required to submit the front and back designs for their outfit to the Animax website last December 12.

This year, the finalists based their outfits on the show, Le Chevalier D’Eon, a fantasy series set in France during the 18th century. While designing his entry, Laborte said he was inspired by Victorian ladies and added personal touches to convey a contemporary twist.

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“I used the lively color of a flamingo to make it modern,” he said.

Laborte’s design consists of a blouse adorned with ruffles, laces, and balloon sleeves, giving it a flowing effect. Made of Jersey fabric, the matching satin fuchsia skirt embellished with beads completed Laborte’s design.

Laborte admitted that the added pressure of completing a look for three months pushed him to work harder to meet the deadline.

“It’s a different feeling. When you’re not under a deadline, you don’t think too much. In the end, you might not even make the clothes you designed,” he said.

Winning the contest also made his love for designing move on from just being a mere “hobby” to a full-fledged craft.

“In Animax, I gained confidence step by step, process by process,” Laborte said.

Although he relied on a tailor to complete his winning entry, Laborte said he wants to further improve his craft by being more involved in the actual “making of the clothes,” from picking out which cloth to use, to figuring out which accessory matches the finished dress.

For this, he has taken the help of his mother, who has subsequently become his mentor. “My mom was a sewer back in her time. She is now teaching me to sew and cut,” he said.

Despite his recent success, Laborte admitted that he still has a lot to learn when it comes to fashion. He hopes to join Project Runway Philippines and Mega Young Designers’ competition to further improve his knowledge and skills in designing.

He is also looking forward to the fashion show, which is a curriculum requirement for Advertising juniors.

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“It would be a good learning experience for me,” he said.

For Laborte, the most important thing he learned from his experience in the contest is the need to perform well, rather than just to rely on plans. According to him, the actual dress is better than his original design.

“In fashion design, execution is what really matters most because that is what you will show to the people,” he said.

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