*Drumroll…. Introducing the winner of the House of Sheens – MDIS Collaboration: Penn Ramirez Galdo! She blew us away with her intricate designs and passion for fashion. We sat down with her for an interview to get to know her better!
  1. Why did you choose to take up Fashion & Design at MDIS?

I took up Fashion & Design in MDIS because I want to seek experience and all the knowledge about fashion Industry. MDIS has been an amazing training ground for me. Giving us an opportunity to tap on different kinds of aspects of fashion may it be on designing and marketing. The experience I have gained so far has been very fulfilling and I want to further my studies in MDIS School of Fashion Design.

  1. How do you think Fashion & Design is relevant to your personal everyday life?

Fashion is one thing and design is another thing. Fashion for me is something that is eternal and contagious. I may not follow certain fashion trends but I choose trends that last for a long time, and those that fit my body type. Design is something I have been mastering for a long time through inspiration from everywhere and constant practice. In my everyday life fashion and design has been that platform for me to show who I really am as a person and as an aspiring and emerging designer.

  1. Could you tell us how you have progressed as a student from the start of the program to the end?

In my study, so far I have been so open to all suggestions and criticisms on my work (at first I may be very discouraged) and I think as a designer the important key is to stay humble and submissive and that’s where all small things starts and gets bigger. I’ve also learned that it’s not about what you know but who you know, building good relationships with fellow designers and all the people around me is the best achievement.

  1. Where do your inspirations come from?

My Inspiration mainly comes from my love for abstract art from nature, zooming in to different kinds of forms that are naturally existing on a subject, and I always go for something different and untouched subjects. And I want this trend to be modernized and this made my work come into breathing. I was before a fine arts student who has been always exploring on different kind subjects that later helped me mostly on my design inspirations today.

  1. Which is/are the designer(s) who you admire the most?

I admire Francis Libiran who is a famous couture designer in the Philippines, He has been an inspiration for me to really tap on to something different yet full of beauty. One thing I really like about him is his technique of modernizing Philippine traditional fashion. His usage of Philippine’s rich natural resources like our pearls and shells to make cutting edge designs and Pineapple fibers to create an amazing garment flow and most importantly his design ethics. His designs have been recognized by the west and featured in America’s Next Top Model.

  1. Which designer bag(s) do you like the most, from your perspective as a designer? Why?

I love Marchesa! They have built a fashion empire defined by elegant eveningwear and one of a kind couture designs. They have this high level of sophistication and femininity in their bags. They always have this unique brand identity that I cannot compare to anyone. I want to somehow adopt this identity on my designs especially on bag designing, Just like Marchesa, I want women to feel beautiful and confident as they strut and carry the handbags and purses.

7. Could you show us some of your works that you are really proud of?

I participated in an inter-school fashion design competition called EMERGE in 2012. It’s a youth event in our church. Having 1,000 participants from different art schools. And won the 1st Price. My winning piece is called Spektra.


This design is inspired by the movie Black Swan in 2010 starring Natalie Portman, this is one of our first assignment. This is a ready-to-wear piece for a fashionable ballerina; this piece is very unique because of its square shape sleeves warrior-like giving the model a sense of confidence and avant-garde take on her everyday casual look.

This is my entry for Digital Fashion Week 2014 in Singapore. I was shortlisted to be able to represent MDIS in this event.

Meet the 1st Runner Up of the House of Sheens – MDIS Collaboration: Coral Cai! Coral works full time and still has the energy to pursue her passion in fashion… She is really the ultimate modern lady whom we should all aspire to become! We caught up with her to learn more about her experience and inspiration.
  1. Why did you choose to take up Fashion Design at MDIS?

The reason why I chose to take up this Fashion Design course at MDIS is because of its curriculum that is in-line with what I wanted to learn and openness to students without art background but have great passion for fashion design. It has proven that I have made the right choice from what I have learnt and achieved now that I have completed this 1-year diploma course.

  1. Could you tell us how you have progressed as a student from the start of the program to the end?

In short, “from nothing to something”. I have not studied art as a major before and I could not really draw or paint anything presentable. Initially, design to me is very abstract and far-fetch. But now I could do fashion sketches and illustrations to present my design ideas and develop designs. Putting all that I have learn from this course and my lecturers, I am able to show my design works and make them into reality, draw them out from my mind and make them in real life.

  1. How do you think Fashion Design is relevant to your personal everyday life?

It is something that makes me happy everyday! From how I match my outfit and express myself, to looking for inspiration for my work-in-progress (be it design or non-design related).

  1. Where do your inspirations come from?

I draw inspirations from nature, architectures, people, phrases and even emotions. Anybody or anything that I can strike a chord with.

  1. Who is/are the designer(s) that you admire the most?

My Mum! She is not a professional designer, but all pretty dresses that I have worn as a toddler were all designed and sew by my Mum. She acquired her sewing skills on the job when she used to work in an apparel production company and as a home-based seamstress twenty years ago. I remembered as a child, I saw my Mum sewing wedding gowns and dresses. At that time I thought my Mum knew magic and her tool were her sewing machine and fabric scissors with gold-plated handles, transforming flat fabrics into tall, long gowns that looked enormous to me back then. My Mum used to design and make all her clothes too; T-shirts and jeans were the only things she bought off the shelves. She is my first teacher in fashion design.

The other professional Fashion Designer that I admire most will be Iris Van Herpen. I love her futuristic and unconventional style and her designs and ideas are always beyond just fashion. Her innovative designs and blending of technology in fashion always bring new insights. I also admire the way she works collaboratively with other artists/designers to come up with exemplary works.

  1. Could you show us some of your proudest works?

This is my first sports outfit I have designed and constructed. The inspiration is from the movie “Hunger Games”.

The outfit below is a short dress inspired from an active volcano. In this outfit I have view the volcano from space to create a dystopian mood.

It was one of those much-needed trips, where all you want to do is switch off. Ignore the blackberry, get lost in your thoughts and enjoy the sound of nature. Sound familiar?

The best medicine is basking under clear blue skies on white sands, with a view of crystal water stretching on forever. There are many places in the world that can give you a slice of tropical paradise. But there are very few that are true hidden gems.

Guess where?

The Seychelles…Some 1500 km from the east of Africa lies this breath-taking country that sparkles in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Gorgeous would just be an understatement.

The peaceful environment and tranquility almost makes you feel guilty for whispering. The never-ending stretches of white sands edged by coconut palms and crystal clear waves with not a soul in sight are good enough to mesmerize anyone. Besides emerald lagoons and coral reefs, there is a lot more to be seen. Hikes and nature trails among the lush hills and towering granite mountains are all part of the experience. It makes you realize that life in the Seychelles is so natural and uncomplicated; a real novelty from the bustling fast paced life of Singapore.

And that’s when inspiration hit. To form a new collection that would express the beauty of the Seychelles. From the vivid colors found in the natural surrounding, to the uncomplicated way of life; the Seychelles was a slice of the ultimate tropical paradise. Who could want more?

This collection promises to encompass vivid, bold colors that stand out and create a real impact. The designs are uncomplicated, functional almost, and practical. But the color of the skin is what will blow you away. Inspired by the crystal blue shades of water that sparkle under the sun, and the lush greenery of the palms that spill onto the water’s edge…we got it.

Stay tuned for some sneak peaks into our new collection!

Finella Ang, a student of MDIS School of Fashion & Design, captured our attention with her beautiful Sakura-inspired portfolio of drawings.

Her fashion sketches of garments and bags wow-ed us so much that we eventually selected her as the 2nd runner-up, even when she was absent for the discussion session with us about her shortlisted entry! This is what true art and fashion does – it conveys the artist’s message and talent clearly without any need for words or verbal explanation!

How do you think Fashion & Design is relevant to your personal everyday life?
We dress ourselves up every day, and whether it’s for work or school, everyone wants to look good and smart in their outfit. I didn’t really have much fashion sense before I took up this Diploma course in MDIS. I usually dress very casually in a top, shorts and scandals when I go out. After I took up this course, I started to put in more effort in my everyday outfits. Also, when I’m out shopping for apparels, I would know if that piece is affordable for the price, just from its material used and sewing.


Why did you choose to take up Fashion & Design at MDIS?
I’ve had great passion in Art since I was young. However, I decided to go for something a little more than just art. Fashion is a part of Art too, and that’s why I chose to take up Fashion & Design.


Could you tell us how you have progressed as a student from the start of the program to the end?
As I didn’t have any background in Fashion Design, I started from ground zero. At first, we learned how to draw fashion croquis in the correct proportions and postures.
Next, we were exposed to different mix medias (e.g. watercolours) in our fashion illustration artworks. Now, I have gained the ability to design and make garments from scratch!


Which is/are the designer(s) who you admire the most?
Alexander McQueen, as I really love his clutches. I really like the clutch designs because there are a lot of fine details in it, like embroidery and engraving.


Where do your inspirations come from?
My inspiration depends on the theme of that assignment that is given to us (e.g. Movies, botanical images, architecture). Anything and everything around us can inspire a form of fashion in our designs.


Could you show us some of your works which you are really proud of? 



 This is the second garment that I’ve made for my school assignment. It was really tedious because at that point of time, I didn’t know how sew at all! Fortunately, with the help of my lecturers and after many sleepless nights, I finally completed this garment.
This is a peacock-inspired garment. The material used was duchess satin, netting and lining. Garments that are inspired by peacock are usually green or blue. However, I chose black for this garment because I find that black suits my design more as it brings out the elegance of the garment.
My lecturers also selected it as one of the top few designs to be displayed at my school fashion studio’s window display. This really made me feel that my works are recognized, and it really gave me a great sense of achievement!
For the first time ever, House of Sheens is retailing some of our bags in a brick-and-mortar store – Threadbare and Squirrel!
Threadbare and Squirrel is a store with an eclectic selection of labels that are mostly designed by Singaporeans, such as House of Sheens! The shop is owned by Adrian and Val, who have shown themselves to be big supporters of local designers. Labels such as Al&Alicia and max.tan find their place in this cozy store just around the corner of North Bridge road.
A visit to this store is definitely an eye-opening experience. Ditching the usual bright lights and snazzy designer shelves, Threadbare and Squirrel instead opts for toned-down lighting and wooden cases to showcase the multitude of products they have carefully curated. If that alone doesn’t convince you that this shop is one of a kind, Threadbare and Squirrel is in fact a converted shophouse, not a mere modern boutique in a shopping mall, with a wooden staircase that leads up to the more spacious second floor.
We are really stoked to be retailing in this shop that has just as much character as our House of Sheens bags! Head down to Bali Lane for your retail therapy fix today and try on our bags. Look out for our Ava clutch and Feroze clutch from our latest Larian collection! 😉
House of Sheens bags you can find in Threadbare and Squirrel: