A New Wave Of Creatives Redefining Traditional Job Titles

A New Wave Of Creatives Redefining Traditional Job Titles

Dinesh Mohnani wears ACNE STUDIOS jacket, CODE BLUE button-down and pants from SM, Sean Bautista wears a STRONGVILLAGE button-down and trousers. Photo by Sharif Hamza

The next generation of professionals is entering the workforce on their own terms.

As millennials and Gen Z have increasingly dominated the workforce, so have their changing workplace values: a change that has been well documented in recent years, sparking many debates and discussions.

Many have written about the fresh perspectives and redefined ideas around career paths brought on by young professionals, specifically around the concept of “side hustles” and small businesses. The emerging digital natives are credited for their resourcefulness as independent learners keen on going after their goals with their values intact.

Within Manila’s own creative spheres, a number of emerging individuals are taking this idea on, creating their own opportunities, and crafting new niches unlike anything commonly seen before.

For the May 2023 issue of Vogue Philippines, 32 young creatives were brought on who embody these ethics and have reimagined their own directions in a way that uniquely suits their individual qualities.

Beyond A Niche

Creative strategist Matt San Pedro, Cheska Cortez of Overlay Designs, multimedia journalist and DJ Sai Versailles
Sai Versailles wears a STRONGVILLAGE button-down and wrap trousers, H&M loafers, Cheska Cortez wears a STRONGVILLAGE vest and pants, BENCH tank top, CODE BLUE button-down from SM, ONITSUKA TIGER sneakers, Matt San Pedro wears a STRONGVILLAGE patchwork jacket and pants, SUNNIES STUDIOS glasses. Photo by Sharif Hamza

These days, Matt San Pedro calls himself a “creative strategist,” after contending with the idea of being labeled as a designer. He’s been doing brand strategy for El Union Coffee alongside confounding hi-fi speaker company Fatima Sound Practice, among other pursuits.

“I’ve never really had the tools to design things for myself. I’m always just around artists and designers,” he explains in an interview with Vogue Philippines. “And through them, we were able to create things that I would find unique and interesting. [Creative Strategist] felt like that was like the most appropriate label to put on me.”

San Pedro has launched several successful businesses, from the restaurant Tetsuo to the clothing and music concepts Transit Records and Manila Community Radio, alongside Sean Bautista, a transdisciplinary artist.

Culture Creation

Dinesh Mohnani of Tarzeer Pictures, transdisciplinary designer and DJ Sean Bautista
Dinesh Mohnani wears ACNE STUDIOS jacket, CODE BLUE button-down and pants from SM, Sean Bautista wears a STRONGVILLAGE button-down and trousers. Photo by Sharif Hamza

Beyond his entrepreneurial endeavors, Sean Bautista can often be found creating visual designs and distinct branding, mounting events, and DJing.

According to him, design thinking can be applied to any of his projects. This thinking captures a methodological approach needed which goes beyond mere aesthetics, stemming from his educational background in information design. “I figured that information design would give me more of like this macroscopic design framework that can be utilized in the industries that I was really interested in,” he explains.

“For Tetsuo specifically I think hospitality or food and beverage as a medium is quite an interesting case study of how you’re able to brand or create an identity around something that goes beyond visual touch points,” Bautista says. The scope of his work within the restaurant goes beyond menu items, spanning rather how a customer might interact within a space, and what experiences they can take away from it. “What could be designed are flavor palates, the playlists you would hear when you’re dining, customer experience interacting with staff, service design, [and] a culture that’s created by a space.”

An Interwoven Practice

Brisa Amir wears a PAUL SMITH knit vest, MARTIN BAUTISTA tulle ruffled skirt, ANDANTÉ chunky loafers, SWAROVSKI lucent geometric hoops in pink, Gianne Encarnacion wears a RANDOLF cutout bodysuit, PAUL SMITH skirt, SWAROVSKI blue ring, SASSA JIMENEZ velvet bow heels, Daphne Chao wears a ZIGGY SAVELLA checked blazer and trousers, PAUL SMITH printed button-down, GUCCI velvet bow, Siobhan Moylan wears a MARTIN BAUTISTA tulle top, IT’S VINTAGE yellow camisole, AVAVAV printed mesh leggings from AKIMBO, SASSA JIMENEZ block heels. Photo by Sharif Hamza

The process of weaving design into various fields is a practice that seems to be more and more intrinsic within the upcoming generations. According to studies, around half of today’s youth consider themselves to be creative, earning the nickname “Gen Create.”

With digital commerce platforms more accessible than ever, it’s no surprise that a rising number of individuals are using these tools to create their own opportunities all on their own. Designer Daphne Chao started her crochet business Ilyang Ilyang on Instagram over the pandemic, as a way to cope. Her roommate had taught her the craft when they were stuck away from home during the beginning of the lockdowns.

“I was preparing to go to graduate school when the pandemic struck.  Since I had a lot of free time, I decided to try new things. This eventually led me to crochet, which rekindled my love for fashion…The universe certainly works in mysterious ways. I never thought I’d be able to meet and work with people that 2015 me wouldn’t have imagined,” Chao says.

“Ilyang is the name of my great-grandmother, the original gantsilyo badass of the family. My mother tells me that Lola Ilyang smoked rolled tobacco (not cigarettes) and drank cerveza while she crocheted,” she continues. “I wanted to channel some of her chaotic energy into my work, so I named my brand after her.”

Despite starting the site as a repository for her creations, she discovered a wide audience of fellow enthusiasts who were keen to support her. “Ilyang Ilyang is an escape from the world of practical wear. Even though I have some functional pieces for sale, I always make room for the weird, unnecessary stuff in my catalog,” she says. “When people started ordering, it gave me the confidence I needed to make Ilyang Ilyang a full-time job.”

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