There’s a new Fashion Director in town who’s ready to showcase the breadth of Filipino talent and culture on a global scale. Meet Ryuji Shiomitsu – MEGA’s new Fashion Director appointed on March 2, 2022. Along with his wealth of experience and creative approach, Ryuji is thrilled to see what he can achieve with his new role.
Life Before MEGA
Ryuji’s fashion journey began right after college, when he studied at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines. While in school, he met London-based Filipino Designer John Herrera, Fashion Photography Instructor Rxandy Capinpin, Celebrity Hairstylist Jay Wee, and Professional Makeup Artist Hanna Pechon, and started styling for their shoots.
They immediately took notice of his talent and was commissioned by John Herrera to shoot his collection for Philippine Fashion Week 2009. This marked the beginning of his career – within just a few months, he was scouted to work as a contributor for MEGA by current President, Suki Salvador.
Decade of Career Milestones
Ever since then, Ryuji’s career has always been intertwined with the One MEGA Group, having his works published in the magazine almost every month. One could describe Ryuji’s time with MEGA as a decade filled with career milestones.
2010 was Ryuji’s year of firsts with MEGA. He worked on his first fashion pages for the magazine, guided by late Fashion Editor Teej Nepomuceno’s pragmatic approach to luxury. He then created his first issue for MEGA released in May, followed by an advertorial and his first fashion editorial.
He continued to excel in the years to come. In 2011, Ryuji styled his favorite MEGA editorial in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil and was included in Forward March’s 100 Fashion Forward Filipinos. He then styled his first cover for MEGA Man featuring Sam Milby in 2013 and created his first double cover in 2015 with then Fashion Editor Eldzs Mejia for The Next Big Thing: GMA vs ABS Network War. And in 2017, he styled a landmark editorial for the 25th anniversary of MEGA which he describes as one of his favorite shoots to date.
A New Chapter
After being named as MEGA’s new Fashion Director, Ryuji sits down in an interview to discuss his vision and plans for the magazine.
1. How does it feel being appointed as the new Fashion Director of MEGA magazine?
Being appointed as the new Fashion Director of MEGA feels like a full circle moment. Back in 2010, when I just started, Suki Salvador scouted me to work on the magazine. Ever since then, my work has been cultivated, supported, and developed by the magazine. In any way shape or form, my work has been present in [MEGA] since then.
So when Peewee Reyes-Isidro broached the idea, I instantly said yes. I found it as the best natural progression of my career to finally work in MEGA. It will open up more avenues for me to pursue higher standards of fashion, develop key visuals and aesthetics that can propel Philippine design forward at a global scale, be able to create and start a conversation between creatives, bridge that gap caused by our archipelagic setting, and contribute to the steadily growing Philippine fashion history.
2. What are some of your goals and aspirations as the new Fashion Director?
My work has always been rooted in my belief that, “Fashion is a conversation not a monologue,” and I see that as the driving force in setting my realistic goals and aspirations for the future of MEGA.
To facilitate meaningful conversations within the fashion industry, bringing together designers, models, and creatives to work on the magazine, and put a stamp on the conversation of what Philippine fashion truly is. Knowing who we are as an industry makes it easier for us to showcase it to the world. Our creatives, design, and work ethics are unmatched. Philippine fashion is truly global.
3. What do you think you can bring to the table?
I can bring a sense of balance of romanticism and realism in the magazine. I always see my work as a balance of both inspirational and aspirational.
Fashion is fashion, but without anyone relating to it at a visual and emotional level, it wouldn’t work. I would want my readers to say that, “I could wear that too,” “I could try that hair and makeup,” and, “That would look good on me.” To be able to do that would be amazing.
4. What look and direction do you envision the magazine having?
Fashion is all about scale – ascending intervals. I wish to bring the fashion content of MEGA a notch higher: touch base on aspirational fashion, reintroduce international fashion to the taste of the Filipino, refocus the dialogue on what is Philippine fashion, and decentralize Manila centric fashion.
More importantly, I want to help discover new talent in fashion design, fashion styling, art direction, creative direction, makeup artistry, hair artistry, and models all over the country. Talk about the inevitability of sustainability and produce meaningful fashion stories and covers that resonate the times.
5. With fashion constantly evolving and changing, what type of fashion do you plan to create for MEGA?
Fashion that is simple yet impactful. Fashion that is pragmatic yet meaningful. To start, I just want to establish that fashion is fun. With the pandemic happening and its prolonged impact on our industry, bringing fun into everything we do can send ripples into the industry. To facilitate collaborative efforts to make our designers, stylists, and directors once again start making art that will positively impact not just our industry, but bring growth to a whole lot more.
The Philippine local fashion industry is very unique. It merges a very strong sense of the past while exponentially growing aesthetically in the present while developing a great sense of the future. For me, the most exciting thing about it is that we are never short on talent. Our resiliency and resourcefulness are simply unmatched.
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