Passion for fashion: How Dennis Lustico found his true calling

Filipino fashion designer Dennis Lustico revealed his unexpected path to the fashion industry, saying that his first goal was to become a doctor.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Tribune, Lustico expressed that his nursing degree served as a stepping stone toward his medical ambitions. But fate had different plans for him when he met a friend in high school and exposed him to the world of fashion.

“My dream was to become a doctor, that’s why I took up nursing in college,” Lustico said. “But I met a friend in high school and he was sketching. It was the first time that I heard about Coco Chanel, Christian Dior. I fell in love with his sketches. I started copying what he does.”

Lustico’s love for fashion grew even more. He began attending fashion shows, reading up on the most recent trends and paying attention to every detail that eventually led him to become a self-taught designer.

“I’m a self-taught designer,” he said. “I started observing clothes, colors, proportions and fabrics.”

Lustico recalled being a member of the Young Designers Guild of the Philippines, where he presented shows for brand launches.

His first big break came when popular figure in the fashion industry Celine Lopez wore several of his designs. This paved the way to create clothing for other well-known clients, including some of Lopez’s acquaintances and their moms.

Lustico honed his craft and got his “real training” from the niche market brand Bergamo. He also won a number of additional honors in the Young Designers Contest of the Philippines, which gave him two country awards. He did the country proud in Paris.

Despite the cutthroat nature of the profession, he emphasized that it’s always about oneself and not about comparing oneself with others. He advised young designers to concentrate on their ideas and avoid letting outside influences affect their work.

Lustico revealed that he draws inspiration from his observant nature and love of aesthetics. He admires designers like Kristian Aqua and John Galliano.

“Colors and fabrication are my trademark,” he said. “I don’t see any bad color. I’m experimental and not afraid to use colors.”

Lustico served as the mentor for the third TernoCon, where 12 Filipino designers showcased their pieces on the traditional clothing.

He said the most memorable and interesting part of being a mentor is the energy that he feels in the workroom as it brings back the same inspiration, drive and excitement he felt when he was starting in the industry.

He concluded: “Designing first and foremost is a calling. Be sure that it is what you like deep down in your heart. It’s no easy task, be ready to commit.”