Interview with Garimon Roferos Couture

Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis
(IG: @vassiliosvitsilogiannis)

Garimon Roferos Couture rewrites the rules of traditional bridal fashion, created for customized style. The brand is known for specially detailed wedding gowns and unique evening party dresses made of exceptional quality fabrics with elaborate designs and intricate embroideries. The brand delivers an affordable luxury that creates every woman’s dream.

Why have you chosen to design primarily wedding gowns instead of evening gowns?

While we have designed a similar number of evening gowns and wedding gowns, lately we do tend to showcase our Wedding Gowns more often than our evening gowns. I have come to welcome the time spent with a newly engaged bride, involved in the task of pulling from her past memories of envisioning herself on her own wedding day and transcribing her imagination to a sketch, and eventually her gown. The synergy of incorporating the customer’s vision with our custom design techniques has produced some of our best work. The desire to create the gown of our customer’s dreams has been one of the underlying reasons for beginning our couture shop in Dubai.

Going through your collections I've noticed that the evening gowns are pretty much similar to the style of the wedding gowns why is that? Do you want to create every women's day as special as their wedding day?

During the pandemic, a lot of our clientele in the Middle East have put off their weddings for nearly 2 years. The majority of our more recently introduced and showcased gowns have trended toward not only wedding but ball-gown style engagement dresses for engagement parties. We do have local buyers that also keep us abreast of the market trends and have confirmed the same needs for their shops. That said, we have produced more of the princess-cut engagement gowns as well as the wedding gowns during these late stages of the pandemic as events have come back and believe we have been following the local market needs.

What is your inspiration for your last collection?

My Last Spring/Summer 2022 collection Inspiration is based on “The Garden of Eden”. Growth in nature is represented with crystals springing forth from the gown and its 3D embroidery works.

What is your favorite part of running a bridal fashion show?

I love the interactions of all the people whom I have the opportunity to work with. With multiple people coming together from the organizers, the stylists, and models, to make the show a stunning success, I appreciate the synergy that comes from all of us working as a team. I have close friends that are always willing to assist with the preparations including the music, video, digital, and the styling of the models during the time leading up to the show. While I prefer to remain backstage, I am humbled by the applause that is received at the end of the show but does recognize the number of people that have come together to make it a success. Lastly, as a designer, I’m always excited to hear and see the feedback after the show both privately and publicly as it provides me with fuel for improving my efforts in future events showcasing my brand.

Do you admire other designers you would like to collaborate with?

I am proud of the work my fellow Philippine countrymen have performed here in Dubai and believe Filipinos have cornered a niche of the fashion market in the UAE. Philippine Consulate of Dubai had a Fashion Gala in honor of our nation’s 120th Birthday in 2018 during which the consulate recognized celebrated Filipino designers with shops in Dubai where I was selected to provide a gown with Filipino style along with other well- known Filipino Dubai designers. During this event, I had the opportunity to coordinate with some of the other Philippine recognized designers while creating our own individual styles. I found that to be an honor and was grateful for the opportunity. I have co-opted on some photoshoots with other designers within Dubai with whom I have worked previously, but that would be the extent of my collaborations. I would not be opposed to any collaboration in the future but it's important to me to continue to maintain my own individual style and to market my brand.

Do you have a favorite dress type?

I put out a gown made with a laser-cut leather material design a few years back which received much international attention and solicited inquiries across the globe. One of the early gowns from our couture shop in its first year was a cape design that for some time was uniquely GR Couture and our customers frequently came to us to replicate that same style. Of course, as a designer one’s styles frequently get borrowed and overlap with their designs and therefore I am always exploring new ideas and experimenting with new creative styles, materials, and flair while continuing to create elegant and sometimes more traditional pieces that gratify our current customer base.

Do you find women of today well dressed?

While the past couple of years has led to a gap in the fashion world with a limit on social events and weddings. Middle Eastern women in particular have been anxious to get back to attending the weddings, parties, and other events and to join back in with style. Luxury fashion I think has intensified as a result of the time spent casually dressed in our homes and away from social events. Women want to be noticed for their fashion, style and elegance; I think that is true now more than ever. Styles for women are always changing but think the Middle East women continue to appreciate the luxury, opulence and ingenuity only available through a primarily hand-made couture design.

How would you describe your fashion style?

My fashion style is sophisticated and elegant while remaining a bit trendy, though in general, our Arabic clients lean toward more of a classic look with a desire for intricate embroideries and luxurious fabrics.

What does the 2002 bride look like to you?

2022 Bride is the Style generation of modern classic bridal gowns with some uncharacteristic innovations to the styles.

What are the latest wedding trends?

The latest wedding trend is more colored bridal gowns. We see less white/ivory these upcoming years, as couples gear up for a vibrant 2022.

What is one mistake a bride should not make on their wedding day?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. We frequently have our tailors with the bride on their wedding days to assist with dressing and not that it often happens but to ensure all goes well with their bridal gown. It is not uncommon while preparing for their day, for our staff to be there to offer words of encouragement, particularly during a pre-arranged marriage, to help the nerves of the bride make it through the day. The unique challenges that might occur on your wedding day and overcoming these help to make a day filled with memories that will last a lifetime.

An accessory to wear with a wedding gown?

Over-accessorizing on your wedding day is a big No. I always tell our brides that wearing a headpiece and a beautiful pair of earrings is the best in most situations.

Do dreams come true?

Yes! Dreams absolutely can come true but generally are not reached without setting goals along the way and putting in the hard work necessary to achieve these goals while reaching for your dreams. Obstacles will come but keeping yourself grounded, seeking out strength and guidance from God during the struggles are part of what it takes to overcome the challenges and to help you reach your finish line.

Disclose some of your future plans.

We are looking into expansion beyond the UAE as we have attracted many clients from outside of the UAE, particularly from the surrounding GCC countries. While we appreciate that our clients are willing to travel to visit our shop in Dubai and work with us there, we would like to deliver a more localized service to our loyal customers in their own countries whenever possible. We are always appreciative of all our clients from around the world and
have grown our customer base out of African nations. In some of these countries, once we have had one wedding gown purchased from our shop, we build long-term relationships with these clients and our reputation and customer base continue to grow from the Bride’s local influence. Therefore, we are always eager to accept new customers to our couture shop from areas and countries where we have not yet had a prior customer relationship.

What do you predict will be the next big trend in fashion?

We have seen a big push toward sustainability in the fashion industry. Early in my career, I created a Philippine terno (Filipina top and a skirt) made exclusively from aquatic plant lilies and bago-bago vines and was subsequently awarded the coveted Concours Internationale Des Jeunes Creatures de Mode’s D’Incitation award held in Paris, France. A goal of mine throughout my career has been to use my ingenuity in the exploration of new sources of textiles that can and does come from the local farmer and leads to longer-lasting apparel. I applaud efforts to move the textile industry away from cheap/short-life apparel to better quality, more eco-friendly materials and resources, and longer-lasting textile durability. That said, we would embrace the changes and feel our creativity and resourcefulness make us well suited to begin utilizing new resources of textiles. However, large fashion houses often have lawmakers and always have the concern that complex regulations may be used to drive the smaller businesses with fewer resources for compliance out of the marketplace.


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