As seen on R.AGE.

KATHRYN Lagrosa Rao’s fashion designs is a portrayal of who she is as a person, and she is determined that they be authentically hers. The 20-year-old fashion student at Raffles College of Higher Education is conscious of not falling into the usual pitfall of appealing to an audience, rather than being true to her artistry. She describes her designs as “subtly dramatic luxury ready-to-wear.”

Besides it being an incredibly competitive field, she says one of the hardest parts of being in fashion is getting people to notice one’s work.

But everyone certaintly noticed when her four-member fashion design team, “Team Selvage” won first place at the recent PUMA Motorsport Fashion Runway Competition. An impressive feat, as it was the first ever fashion show she and her teammates have ever put on.

Her passion for fashion was sparked back when she saw Dior former head designer John Galliano’s fashion show on television. She was so captivated by Galliano’s designs, and they convinced her that fashion was exactly what she wanted to do.

As her inspiration is John Galliano – who is widely known for his innovative and theatrical designs – it’s no wonder her emphasis and effort are in the details and achieving a dramatic effect in her creations. “Fabric manipulation is very important to me. The shapes, silhouettes and cuts may seem purely constructive to some, but the touch of drama in my designs are always with the manipulations which involve time-consuming handwork and detailing.”

Of Indian and Filipino descent, Kathryn was born and raised in Dubai. She had planned to study design at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Unfortunately, before that could happen, the economic crisis hit, and her family was badly affected.

“I was really heartbroken when my father told me to wait but I was never the type of person to sit around and wait for things to happen for me. I looked up affordable colleges in countries with affordable cost of living and found Raffles International College located here in Malaysia.”

She had no friends, family, or any other kind of connection in Malaysia before she made her way here just over a year ago. The mere thought of it would be daunting to most, but it would take a lot more to stop the determined and tenacious teenager from pursuing her ambitions in fashion design.

“I love taking risks and overcoming challenges.” — By Saw Jhue Vern

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