Designer Profile

South Bound: Goldie Siglos On Her Multiwear Fashion Label “Bulawan”

Photographed by JOSEPH BERMUDEZ for the April 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines

How many ways can you wear a garment? For Goldie Siglos, the answer is infinite.

Ask Goldie Siglos about her earliest interaction with art, and she’ll tell you about her sister. “She has always been my role model in terms of creativity,” the designer and artist says. “Kasi I’ve seen her put on eyeliner, I’ve seen her follow instructions from an art book. It’s a very visual memory.”

Goldie often imitated her older sister’s hobbies, which is how she found herself painting, in strokes of yellow-green watercolor, her first piece: the word “fashion,” alongside images of shoes and clothes. She laughs now at the providential memory, but insists that her family was not artistically inclined. “Growing up, he was always checking papers,” she says of her father, a professor who holds a doctorate degree in linguistics. Goldie’s mother is a housewife and part-time real estate agent, while her sister was an English major who eventually followed their patriarch’s path as an educator.

Living in one of Davao City’s suburbs, the family’s home was far enough from the city that when Goldie took up a bachelor’s degree in fashion design, at the Philippine Women’s College of Davao, her day-to-day involved an hour-long commute both ways. She applied to the course after learning about it from a church mate, despite having little technical and historical fashion knowledge. All she knew was that she loved playing with clothes and that she was creative.

Photographed by JOSEPH BERMUDEZ for the April 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines

She didn’t even know how to sketch. She remembers keeping her drawing from her professor on the first day of drawing class. “But I guess I trust what my hands are capable of doing, really,” she explains, “I have an insane amount of belief in what I can create. Intuition really plays a big role in my creative process.”

For Goldie, that process begins with fabric. She lays it out on the floor, cuts it directly, then “figures the design out from there.” It’s how she approached her thesis collection consisting of unused jeans at home, interspersed with thrifted denim and denim from the marked down pile in fabric stores. When she decided to teach at her alma mater fresh out of graduation, Goldie kept her garbs in a baul [trunk], where they would remain for years.

In the meantime, she focused on instructing Fashion Illustration, Rendering Techniques, and Computer-Aided Design courses while freelancing as a makeup artist on the side. Twice or thrice a year, she took custom orders from a clientele that commissioned formalwear—skirts, gowns, bridesmaid dresses. “It wasn’t my forte,” Goldie admits, but it’s what sustained her until 2019, right before she decided to leave her teaching post to focus on offering semi-permanent makeup services.

It’s why when a client holds up her garment and asks her, “How do you wear this?” Goldie simply shrugs. “I don’t know,” she replies, “you tell me.”

The beauty jobs kept her steady and occupied. Then in 2023, when she was invited to attend a fashion-centric panel discussion, she realized she had nothing to wear. The designer found herself literally digging through her archive until she rediscovered her thesis collection. On the day of the event, she was surprised at the reception to her blue jean ensemble. “Even strangers were approaching me and complimenting me,” she shares, still in awe.

Inspired, Goldie opened up her baul again a few weeks later. She was presenting at an art exhibit and invited some friends to arrive dressed in her denim. “And I wasn’t expecting that there were even guests grabbing my friends’ clothes and asking me, ‘So how much is this Goldie?’ I was super stunned, and really, really frozen,” she reveals. “These pieces were from seven years ago now. I didn’t even know how to price these things.”

The support from buyers granted her the confidence to form a vision and see it through. “When you are a baby designer, it’s always 10% my design and 90% the client’s. And now, it would be 90 percent mine and 10 percent of the client’s. It’s liberating,” she says.

Photographed by JOSEPH BERMUDEZ for the April 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines

Five months on, Goldie has laid the foundations on which her label is taking shape. Its self-reflexive name, Bulawan, translates to “gold” in Bisaya, her native tongue. Her fabric is locally sourced. Each design is limited to an edition of seven (her lucky number), and they are all reversible and multiwear. “I guess a Bulawan muse would be someone who knows that they can bring so much to the table. Just like the clothing, you are many things. I am many things.”

It’s why when a client holds up her garment and asks her, “How do you wear this?” Goldie simply shrugs. “I don’t know,” she replies, “you tell me.”

Vogue Philippines: April 2024 Issue


Words & Styling by TICIA ALMAZAN Photographs by JOSEPH BERMUDEZ. Makeup & Hair: Goldie Siglos. Model: Ivanna Lagman. Photographer’s Assistants: Adi De Gracia, Ellah Plariza. Stylist’s Assistant: Patricia Villoria. Shot on location at Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort.

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