Maileen Gabano is from the Philippines, based in the U.A.E, renowned for her distinct ability to fuse vintage glamour with an astute modern twist, the designer’s hopelessly romantic gowns have been the go-to for wedding and red-carpet events for more than ten irrefutably stylish years – and it’s easy to see why.
Characterized by dazzling embellishments, experimental textiles, and a poetic abundance of romantic ruffles, there is no denying Maileen Gabano is a storyteller at heart and her passion for her craft runs through the seams of each and every exquisite piece.
“I have only ever wanted to design special-occasion gowns in unforgettable styles, and from our very first collection to right now I have worked to build a brand renowned for timeless elegance and craftsmanship”
What sparked your interest in fashion?
My mom wanted me to follow her footstep. I started as a tailor in a company which made me to take the fashion more seriously and to push me to make career out of it. I love the power of clothing and the transformative quality of dressing up and I just thought to bring a smile on every women lips.
Are you self-taught or did you study fashion design?
I studied haute couture back home in Philippines.
How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
In every piece I had done am not considering as a work, i am thinking of the art of beauty and the look of each and every dress. The evolution I see in my work is that i have gotten gradually closer to the essence of the creative style and at the same time made it increasingly appealing to a contemporary audience.
Are there any types of clothing that you avoid wearing?
Yes, many things! I’m quite small, so I avoid long dresses or anything with big shoulders.
Does your approach differ when designing menswear compared to women dress?
I admire unisex clothing, quite often you will see as well that women buy menswear and men buy accessories or pieces designed for women
How is your work received internationally?
very well, I am collaborating with different fashion shows from Romania, Italy. My biggest achievement this year is the collaboration with the organization of Miss Universe – Ms. Carmina Cotfas (Romania Miss Universe) she will wear my creation during her journey in Israel for the big Finale of Miss Universe.
How do influences from outside of your country find their way into your work?
In many ways. I am absolutely looking at what’s going on in the world of fashion all over the world and not just what is happening in U.A.E. My label is a mix of many influences.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
I love talking to young people and I work with lots of young people. Their insights definitely fascinate me but so does talking to older people, people in their 70s or 80s who also are just as tuned into fashion but from a different perspective.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
Your moment will arrive and you have to be ready for it. You have to be focused on what you are hoping to achieve and be very dedicated. I’m very happy with what I have achieved but sometimes I think I could have been more business minded earlier in my career – then again you can never know, because you know things now that you didn’t then. whatever you focus on at any given point be it your design ideas or your business give it 100% because time passes by quickly.
What advice would you give to young designers?
Dream, believe and survive!
I’ve learned that as a fashion designer you depend on many, many people to make things happen so you need to assemble a great team of people to do things well. Every day is a challenge especially in a market like U.A.E – so you need a great design team, great seamstresses, good administrators, good sales staff, people that contribute to the company not just people who are there to make up the numbers.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
I would love to open my own place where you almost ‘inhale’ the brand and get a good feel for what we are trying to do with our work… full immersion!
Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?
What’s your motto?
Any idea which come in our mind is possible to achieve!
You are the winner for the Best DRESS award of WFFA 2021 SEASON 4, how do you feel about it?
It’s a heavenly feeling, it never comes in my mind that my dress will be chosen, so many lovely and beautiful designs from our co designers. I was emotional and till now I am still speechless. Thank you so much WFFA…
How was your experience at WFFA?
It’s a great experience to be a part of WFFA I will never forget this in my whole life. Such a great achievement I’ve got and enough to boost my confidence and believe that no matter what happen stay focused. Once again thank you so much WFFA.