If there's one thing that wedding gown designer Claiza Bihasa knows, it's that confidence is essential to beauty. To help brides be at their most confident, Claiza works to show off their best assets, she says. She always asks her clients about the cut or style they're most comfortable with. Most importantly, she asks them what body part they'd like to accentuate or downplay in their wedding gown.
Claiza's philosophy behind asking brides a handful of questions is simple: she wants her clients to enjoy the creative process behind the most important gown they will ever wear. She emphasizes that she wants her brides to be able to look back years after their wedding, and realize that their gowns are timeless.
Initially, Claiza had wanted to mass-produce women's apparel. To help her learn about the business, Claiza enrolled in the De La Salle College of St. Benilde to take Fashion Design and Merchandising. There, she fostered a love for designing formal gowns. Indeed, it was nothing short of a blessing when clients outside of her family and friends started to show interest.
On her last year at St. Benilde, Claiza had to produce a three-piece collection with a rich and elaborate Rococo theme. When people commented that her collection would perfectly suit a wedding entourage, a light bulb went off in Claiza's head. She realized that she could be more creative in the wedding industry, particularly because there seemed to be a special touch involved in the task, and seeing a woman's wedding day unfold also sounded appealing to Claiza.
Nothing seems to faze Claiza, and she works with a Zen calmness. She makes it a point to share this pleasant disposition with her clients. Aside from listening to her clients' preferences, Claiza also allots enough time for fittings to ensure that the gown looks perfect on the bride. The gowns usually take about a month to finish, and she usually finishes the pieces two weeks before the wedding date so that her brides won't be stressed about any last minute alterations.
There's no doubt that Claiza wants to make more brides feel confident. Alongside her challenge-driven mindset, her entrepreneurial goals include exporting her products and producing gowns which use indigenous materials such as piña and kalado.
Brides will be delighted to know that Claiza's is one designer who's always trying to outdo herself. As a finalist in the Project Runway (DLS-CSB School of Design and Arts Edition), she's learned that there's no such thing as failure, but only lessons learned. One particular lesson Claiza recalls from her Project Runway experience is that designers must always pay attention to every single thing they do--and this she takes to heart, as each gown detail is well thought out to make a bride look and feel her most beautiful.