Ia Coca: From conceptual to wearable

CEBU has become a beauty and style hub, and this generation’s emerging names in fashion design are proof of that. One of them is Ia Coca, who honed his talent by interning at an established brand before starting his own.

Ia’s journey with craftsmanship began after he passed the medical technology board exam in 2014. He spent two years at the Fashion Institute of Design and Arts (Fida) Cebu while working part-time as a mobile application tester online.

“It was in fashion school where I met the people who have molded me -- mentors and classmates alike. After graduation, Philipp Tampus took me under his wing. It was during my internship with him that I learned how to run an atelier. And when I felt ready that I was capable to hold my own in the industry, I decided to start my brand,” Ia shared.

With attention to detail, he deftly weaves his chic and edgy aesthetic into his pieces, but still maintains a feminine element to his work, thereby creating timeless looks.

“I love incorporating geometry and texture in my designs which come to life by playing around the body’s form, contours, lines and proportions,” he said.

The way he marries imagination and wearability has earned him clients here and abroad and accolades including Designer of the Year 2016 at their graduation show at Fida Cebu. He won his first international competition at the Brisbane Fashion Runway in 2018 in Australia and Stylefest PH for Zalora in 2019. He also represented the Philippines in the World Fashion Week 2017 in Malaysia.

Ia uses his expertise to push the boundaries of what women’s fashion should look like and his pieces turn heads for all the right reasons.

“It is an exciting time to be in fashion right now. The industry collectively has acknowledged not just the power it yields but also the responsibility that comes with it. Brands and creatives are becoming more conscious of our impact on the environment, social issues and even politics. That changes how we make decisions and how we operate now compared to five years ago,” he said.

Visit his atelier on M.C. Briones St. in Mandaue City, open by appointment from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To view his creations, check out www.iacoca.com, @ia.coca on Instagram or ia coca on Facebook.