Joaquin Gregorio and His Foray into Fashion in NYC

Joaquin Gregorio

The New York-based Filipino stylist and model agent shares his journey in the industry he is passionate about.

Fashion icon Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” In short, the dress you put on can change, but one’s style endures.

This is why fashion is more than creating textile to become a dress, gown or suit. It requires a good sense of styling and presentation, choosing the right person to wear it so that people will view it as beautiful — and not just a piece of fabric. Filipino menswear fashion stylist, street fashion photographer, and model casting director in New York, Joaquin Gregorio knows his fashion no doubt, but most importantly, he takes style seriously.

After a short vacation in New York City in 2009, Gregorio shared that he was “enticed” by the city’s energy and the countless opportunities that it had to offer. After a year, he moved to the city for college at the Fashion Institute of Technology and majored in Accessories Design.

Although he originally has a business management degree from the De La Salle University in Manila, Gregorio felt that working in fashion is where he belongs.

“My initial educational background is business-related, but that didn’t hinder me from pursuing what I want,” he said. “If you’re brave enough to fight for what you want, the possibilities are limitless.”

Now, it is common knowledge that making it in the fashion industry — in the Big Apple, no less — is not an easy feat. Still, Gregorio pursued what he loves and managed to be an intern for famed fashion designer, Issey Miyake in 2011. By 2012, he was already contribut- ing photos for the street style section of “W” magazine, as well as other fashion publications. In fact, just shortly after he moved to New York, he was featured in “Vogue UK” as one of the next generation artists to watch out for.

From there, he became the Fashion Editor, Stylist and Production Coordinator for I.T Post, I.T. Apparels Ltd.’s official website. I.T, which is based in Hong Kong and New York, is a unique multi-brand business model with a multi-channel approach that caters to well-defined groups of fashion lovers all over the world.

Gregorio involvement with I.T honed his skills as stylist and gave him the training he needed in every part of the fashion industry, from model casting, scouting for locations, booking hair and make up artists, paperwork and even billing. He was also able to conduct interview with industry champs such as Peter Copping, Daisuke Obana, Grimes, Terence Koh and Julia Restoin Roitfeld.

Furthermore, working as a stylist for I.T Post enabled Gregorio to build strong relationships with labels such as Comme des Garcons, N. Hoolywood, Dior, Opening Ceremony

Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester, Thom Brown, as well as various public relations agencies in New York.

Apart from styling, Gregorio, as a model agent and senior booker for EMG, he has brought in new clients such as Valentino, Abercrombie, Project Runway, Thaddeus Oneil, Wacoal, Derek Lam, and Calvin Klein to name a few. He has also successfully booked male models for the New York Fashion Week. Overall, one must admit that he has an eye for that cer- tain “oomph” — or as some would say, “X factor” — in a model to have many clients trust him.

“It’s all about the personality, attitude and energy of the model,” he explained. “A pretty face can get you far, but at the end of the day, you need to have the right personality, attitude, energy…a certain ‘je ne sais qoi’ to back it up.

Admittedly a rebel at heart, Gregorio shared that a corporate, 9 to 5 desk job wasn’t for him. “Fashion iconoclasts like Rei Kawakubo (of Comme de Garcons) inspired me to foray into fashion and to make a living out of being creative and “different,” Gregorio said. And like many others who have dreamed into making it in the industry and work with big named brands and designers, he said it wasn’t easy.

For now, he believes he still has a long way to go, in spite of the success he has achieved. The Manhattan-based Gregorio plans to call New York City as his permanent home.

“Speaking from experience as a minority, it really is quite hard to break into a very superficial industry,” Gregorio shared and then added,“Luckily, I am pulling through.”

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Malou Liwanag-Bledsoe

Malou Liwanag-Bledsoe is the Editor-in-Chief of the Asian Journal's Northern California Newspaper Edition and Something Filipino Magazine.

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Spotlighting the growth, development, and progression of the Philippines since 2009. Balikbayan Magazine is a publication of the Asian Journal Media Group.