Furne (short for Fernardo) and One (pronounced as “On-ney”) is a fashion designer from San Carlos, Cebu. There were no fashion design courses back then so he took up Bachelor of Fine Arts. At the age of 15, he was already dreaming of becoming a fashion designer.
He wowed the crowd with his fashion-forward creations shown at the biggest international fashion events in New York and Los Angeles, not to mention his pieces from the Amato couture were worn by well-known personalities and celebrities in Hollywood.
Check out what the Dubai-based Filipino designer has to say about his journey in the fashion world:
How did you discover your knack for fashion design?
I think I started playing with my sisters’ dolls and dressed them up when I was really young. I started sketching dresses at around 10 years old then continued till I went to college.
As a boy, I would keep to myself and spend most of my time alone with my imagination, sketching away dresses. As I grew older, I became a little rebellious. In time, I grew out of that phase and started focusing on my career and become a successful designer.
Who are your influences?
I’ve grown up flipping through magazines like Vogue where they featured the masters of fashion design.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned so far?
While I was working under Josei Natori in New York, that was when my eyes opened to the real world of fashion. I learned that it is more than just an art but also a business.
I remember her telling me to “Always be responsible in everything that you do.”
What have you achieved after a decade in the fashion industry?
Besides dressing famous celebrities and receiving numerous awards, I think that the achievement I am most proud of is providing employment for my staff. Most of them have become like family to me and I am most proud to have been able to help them and their families through Amato.
Who have worn your creations?
Katy Perry, Beyonce, Shakira, Lady Gaga, Jessie J., Nicki Minaj, Ellie Goulding and Nicole Scherzinger to name a few.
How do you see to it that every design has a distinct Furne One element?
I always keep my eyes open for new sources of inspiration. I take everything from photography, music, art, travels and even everyday objects as sources of inspiration that I use in creating new collections.
From what I heard from the people I’ve worked with, the Amato touch is defined by the intricate detailing, romance and drama all packed into one garment.
How can you make the pvblic know that once they see it, it’s a Furne One piece?
An Amato piece is dramatic, romantic and artistic all at the same time.
How did you create that distinct trait which screams your style statement?
It’s just who I am. It’s my identity.
What else are your hobbies?
What don’t people get about the fashion industry?
The fashion industry in a fast paced world. It changes constantly. You must learn to adapt and evolve with it but also challenge yourself to swim against the tide and strive to create your own individual identity. That said, you should also find a balance between your artistry and finances.
It’s a tough world out there. You will meet a lot of personalities. You must find the right people to be around with. Because in the end, it’s all just business.
Did you have any failures in the past when you started our your career?
I believe that failure can sometimes become the best ways to learn. I’ve had failures in my life but I never failed to get back up and learn from them.
If I had given up so early, I wouldn’t be who I am now.
Any new design style you wish to do?
I have done everything I’ve ever wanted to do but I am open to new challenges.
What is the story behind every one of your collections?
Each of my collections have different stories around them. I think it would take the fun out of discovering what they are if I told you.
It’s better to keep them open for interpretation.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion has been my way of life.
How do you feel when you see your works down the runway?
I find the entire creative process very fulfilling as it is exciting – not just seeing the dresses walk down the runway. From conceptualizing ideas and sketching the design, to the sewing and finishing, it still amazes me how a simple imagination can come to life. Being able to create a dress that people appreciate the most rewarding experience for any designer.
Who do you look up to in this industry?
I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese designers. They have such a unique and distinct interpretation of certain styles that I find interesting.
Do you have any advice to the people who want to take the same path as you have?
A lot of young designers think that the fashion industry is just about pretty dresses, fabulous parties and being famous. They often forget about the responsibilities that go along with it.
The truth is, it’s all about having a clear vision of your aesthetic, good business acumen, hard work and perseverance.
If not a fashion designer, what would you possibly be?
I think I would like to explore costume design for films or theatre.
What’s your message to fellow Filipinos aspiring to be like you someday?
Don’t let your nationality be a hindrance to your dreams – no matter what anyone says. Being Filipino is something that you should be proud about.
You need to focus on your goal, work hard and persevere. The only person you have to prove yourself to is yourself.