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Carl Jan Cruz is an alumnus from BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Menswear and Foundation at LCF, and now runs his own brand, based in the Philippines. He talks to us about setting up his own company and how LCF prepared him for industry.
Could you introduce yourself and your current role?
I’m currently based in Manila, Philippines and I run my brand from here as Creative Director and CEO. The company’s almost 2 years old and the brands been around for almost 3 years.
Tell us about your experience of studying at LCF.
It was an unexpected turn for me. I didn't know that much about LCF until I got accepted but it turned out to be one of the most priceless experience for me. The technical knowledge and resources were just excellent for me to explore and find my path as a designer in this industry. I was able to realise concepts into a garment and product.
Why did you choose to study at LCF?
It might sound cliché but I feel, even up to this day, that it chose me. From my foundation degree at UAL, LCF, I explored a lot and it was very evident that my interests were very technical and I think LCF’s academic methodology was very suitable.
How does LCF prepare students for the industry?
It prepares you like it’s the real deal. Specifically my course, Menswear BA FDT, where the people involved made me feel like I was their contemporary and it was really about bouncing ideas around to find the best way to proceed with our projects. It was a healthy challenge creatively and was balanced out with workshops to integrate within our learning.
What skills did you learn and continue to use now?
It’s a lot to write down all but I would say research. LCF really pushed me to keep on researching and digging deep. To question every step of the way and look at all angles to create something new.
How did you find the teaching?
Amazing. As I said, they made me feel and think like my ideas and propositions were valid. Also, it felt like a family with my classmates which was a big plus.
How did you get to where you are today?
I don’t really know what to say. It’s so hard to see from the outside, when I am constantly just doing the things I know should get done. I hope what I am doing now at least has relevance and resonance outside my bubble.
What were the biggest challenges along the way?
The biggest challenge was myself. I can’t help but doubt myself, and I have to always overcome that to be able to make decisions that are best for me and my team. It takes a lot of patience, and if the vision is clear it does help guide the way.
Tell us about an average day at your job?
It’s strictly M-F and a 9-6pm to give structure to the company. Apart from that, anything goes as we juggle showroom, studio, production, and digital work, all in-house now, which I suppose keeps us always excited.
What is your top tip for people who want to get into roles like yours?
You have to really love what you do and surround yourself with the people that makes you feel contented and human.