DNX Fashion | Jes Dakila : Threads of silk (and more)

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Hannah A. Papasin
Writer. Critic. Professor. She started writing since primary school and now has two published textbooks on communication. A film buff, she's a Communication, Media Literacy and Journalism Professor of the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod, and has a Master's Degree in English.

Cutaways. Flat little paper dolls with cute outfits.  Your mom’s curtains and pillow cases magically going missing.

Most girls growing up remember the time when they tried to dress up their Barbies (or, lacking that, any cheap Barbie knockoffs will do) with dainty little dresses, mini replicas of laces and velvets and boas, that wardrobe that crosses the line between seductress and girl-next-door. 

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Most of us have moved on from being couturier – little girls do grow up to be nurses, doctors, engineers, teachers, athletes, scientists, filmmakers. 

Others brought their scissors, needle, and silk threads and transitioned these into real life, and turn it into a career.

Because why not?

Such is the case of Jes Dakila, one of up-and-coming fashion designers in the city.

FROM CURTAINS TO SILK AND ALL THINGS DAINTY AND BEAUTIFUL

“I dreamed of becoming a fashion designer as a child, sewing gowns and dresses for my dolls, doing makeshift gowns from curtains and blanket with my playmates and sitting beside my mom cutting scraps of fabric while sewing pillow covers and repairing old clothes,” Jes tells DNX Lifestyle.

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Just like any other girl, she too outgrew the desire to create little dainty dresses and lacey things, and had in fact moved on to other pursuits.

But apparently the pull of fashion world is strong.  So strong in fact that Jes found herself picking up the needle and thread to go full-on fashion designer when she gave birth to her third son.

It was, she admits, not something she had fully expected on doing.  It was more of a dormant passion waiting to be awakened.

And wake up it did to full bloom.

She had since traded the rusty scissors and her mom’s curtain and blankets to silk and linen and tulle and boucle.

And now, Jes has her own studio and her own market who keeps coming back to her design that straddles the line between conventional feminine and avant-garde.

FROM BACOLOD TO THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, SOON

Think of the conventional gown.  That sumptuous creations that evoke crystal chandeliers and twin staircases, and dark luxuriant curls, and romantic water fountains and a brief stumble in the woods with the groomsman. 

And think, too, of the overflowing tulle meeting silk, of unusual combinations of material and design, of creations that pop, that are progressive, of dresses and tunics with looks so unique that it they make people’s heads turn.

That is the case of Jes Dakila’s designs.  She has that ability to conjure the traditional ultra-feminine dress with that low decollatage, that full skirt, that body-hugging corset.

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And she also has the ability to create outfits that screams avant-garde.

This is thanks to her eclectic influences – from American Batsheva Hay, she that rethought the design of the prairie dress, to the “clean minimalist, modern sophisticated and elegant pieces from Hian Tjen”, to the avant-garde pieces of Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, and locally by the “upbeat designs” of Jaggy Glarino.

With Bacolod a bustling city fast catching up with urban centers in the Greater Manila Area and Cebu, it is but a given that businesses are also sprouting – and that includes designer houses.

Still, Jes is not cowed by the idea that she has entered the industry that is fast becoming crowded.

In fact, she is savouring every moment now, crediting her current success to the passion that she put son her work.

“There is no secret to longevity,” she says, “When you put your heart in what you do, loving every creative process into the pieces you make, treating it like play, there’s a never ending joy overflowing within.”

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