The Designer

Filipino Fashion Designer Avel Bacudio was born in the picturesque Buhi, Camarines Sur,
of the Bicol region. He is the ninth of ten children, raised by his seamstress mother and
surveyor father. Life was tough for the Bacudio family, but Avel helped in his own way by
selling malunggay in school. When his mother passed away, he decided to skip high
school and try his luck for a job in Manila.
In Manila, Avel stayed with his sister and took care of his nephews and nieces. He then
also became a janitor at a fast food chain. With the influence of his mother combined with
the love of drawing though, Avel knew in his heart that he wanted to become a fashion
designer. His prayers were heard and his cousin offered to send him back to school where
he briefly studied fashion. He joined inter-school fashion competitions and even won a
few awards. With barely a year in school at 17 years old, Avel was hired as a Fashion
Assistant in a department store. He did everything, from purchasing to fixing window

With his determination, he joined more competitions and eventually tried international
ones as well. For three consecutive years, he wasn’t winning in any of them, but he
continued to persevere. Along the way, Avel met other designers and together with them,
they founded YDG (Young Designer’s Guild of the Philippines). From there, Avel was
invited by producer Richard Tan to participate in Fashion Watch, a bi-annual fashion show
that showcases the work of chosen local designers; and the rest, as they say, is history.

In 2002, Avel won the People’s Choice award in the Concours International des Jeunes
Createurs de Mode held in Manila. He was given the privilege to present his designs in
Paris with four other designers. In the following year, Avel was chosen as one of the ten
best designers in the “Timeless Terno” contest spearheaded by the Metropolitan Museum
of Manila. His designs also garnered recognitions at the Asian Fashion Grand Prix
Contest (1998), Fashion Connections Singapore (2000), and the Young Fashion
Designers Show in China. Come 2012, Metro Magazine awarded him as the
Breakthrough Designer of the Year, with another accolade (given by then President
Benigno Aguino III) as an Ambassador of Peace. In 2014, he was honored as Asia’s
Most Influential Designer at the Mercedes-Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week in Malaysia,
where he was awarded by the world-renowned, Jimmy Choo.

Avel is influenced by a number of local and international designers but names Inno Sotto,
Cesar Gaupo, Alexander McQueen, and Ralph Lauren as his main inspirations. While
devoting his time and passion for fashion, Avel slowly branched out to other creative
pursuits. He has taken short courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York,
to further his craft. At one point, he became a costume designer for a weekly television
show called, Wansapanataym, and started growing his celebrity clients. His creations

have been worn not only by celebrities, but also by politicians, personalities, and
members of the elite. He realized that beyond his signature streetwear and avant-garde
designs, he can also create made-to-order suits and gowns. He always credits his mother
with this direction as she was an excellent tailor who made quality suits. In the recent
years, he has also delved in fragrances, home, and interior design.
Avel believes that he wouldn’t be where he is today if it weren’t for his strong support
system and all the people who believed in him. Thus, he gives back by mentoring young
designers and having a personal advocacy. What inspired him for his advocacy is
discovering that he had retinal detachment to the point of almost going blind. He supports
NLAB (Northern Luzon Association for the Blind), which houses and helps blind children.
The charming and comical Avel Bacudio has indeed come a long way from his humble
beginnings. But how does he keep himself relevant with the rise of fresh talent today? His
answer: “My passion and conviction continue to help me reach new heights and dream
new dreams; I keep an open mind so I can gear up for the future because as you know,
fashion is ever-evolving.”


69 Kamias Rd, Diliman, Quezon City,

1100 Metro Manila

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