Sunday, December 21, 2008

City Life

Stepping Into Fashion With Weird And Wacky Shoe Designs
By Megan Biscieglia

She walks into the coffee shop with windswept hair and a long faux fur coat. Her smile lights up the room and others around her start to stare. She certainly has something that makes people want to know more about her.

Annalyn Agapito’s sky-high stilettos do little to hide the fact that she is so tiny, barely reaching 5’2. But her talent is immeasurable. She’s recently begun her quest to conquer the fashion world and it hasn’t been easy. But people already are beginning to take notice of her stunningly beautiful and strange designs, and she’s only 19 years-old.

Annalyn Agapito wants to conquer the fashion world.

“I’m originally from the Philippines but my family and I moved here when I was five years old,” said Agapito. “We then lived in Maryland for a while until we moved to New Jersey, which is where I consider home. My senior year of high school we moved to Ohio. As soon as I graduated, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue fashion design,” she said.

Agapito’s family background is in farming, so it was quite a shock to her parents when she told them she was moving to Los Angeles. “We lived on a mango field, corn field, and rice field in the Philippines,” Agapito said. “We’re pretty Americanized now, though of course, my parents were expecting me to go on to be a doctor or lawyer or something of that nature.”

Agapito says she believes her family was disappointed that she wanted to quit college after only two semesters to begin a career in fashion. My father thought it was funny. My mother didn’t take me seriously at all. And then I left and they just recently began being very supportive.”

It was her parents who first inspired her love of the art of clothing. Agapito moved to the U.S. at a very young age knowing virtually no English. Students made fun of her at school and she was put in the special learning classes.

“I was a complete weirdo in school,” says Agapito. “I didn’t have any friends because I didn’t speak the language. My father always helped me pick out my outfits and they were always really wacky -- your typical ‘dad picking out clothes for his daughter’ outfits. My designs are on the wacky side, and it might stem a little from that.”

Agapito didn’t understand the language, but she did understand the clothes people wore. In her eyes, they told a story. They were a way of communicating that didn’t involve speaking. “I think that you can tell a story through clothing. Clothes can be more than just something you put on. They can portray how you feel at that time and I think that’s really amazing,” said Agapito. “I wanted to be a designer/artist because it’s a means of communication anyone and everyone are capable of using. Even myself at five years old.”

Agapito’s designs, often representing the creepy and strange, are beautifully weird. She is thankful for the strange childhood she had because if she had grown up normally and easily (she had to learn a new language, this is hard for anyone, but especially for a five year-old) she might not appreciate the stranger things that are usually written-off as gross or ugly.

“I get my inspiration from creepy things,” says Agapito. “One particular collection of mine was inspired by a bunch of bugs and moths. And really creepy beetles that were bright green with big claws. I get inspiration from things that are interesting and intriguing and don’t really make sense.”

It’s hard to ignore Agapito’s talent for noticing the beautifully weird. At LA Fashion week 2008,’ Agapito worked with world renowned designer Petro Zilla. Though it was an amazing experience and she learned a lot, Agapito hopes to soon have her own collection shown in fashion week.

“I can see this going somewhere. I just need to learn the business end of things,” says Agapito. “So many talented designers get into this line of work without knowing the business backend and end up failing miserably. I don’t want that to be me.”

With a good head on her shoulders and talent to boot, it won’t be long until everyone knows of Agapito’s designs. “No, my designs are nothing like the Lion King sweatshirt, Zebra pants, and huge sequin bow my father used to dress me in. That’s a pretty dope outfit, but no, there’s nothing like that in any of my collections.”

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