Passion Forward with Rocky Gathercole: Fashion Rebel With a Cause

Written by: Shin Kitane/Sunday, Sep 25, 2016 07:27 AM

Filipino avant-garde designer Rocky Gathercole has made a name for himself through his unconventional fashion aesthetic. Having dressed the likes of Hollywood femme fatales such as Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Sia and Thalia, Gathercole has indeed proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry. The designer also has a line of stunning wedding gowns and other formal wear but his edge and trademark lie in his more risqué designs. More than once, he has defined the "Gathercole woman" as someone who is feisty, strong, and loves a challenge.

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photos from rockygathercoleatelier.com

True to form, Rocky Gathercole's persona and work ethics exhibit a kind of boldness and courage that goes beyond his fashion choices on the runway. The benefit fashion event Rock the Runway, presented by Lifestyle Network in cooperation with For the Stars Fashion House, was held last July at Avalon Hollywood. Rock the Runway paid homage to Rocky's journey as a former street vendor and homeless teen by donating the event's proceeds to Bantay Bata (Child Watch), an ABS-CBN Foundation International program for abused children. Today, Rock the Runway contends with shows from HBO and CNN as a nominee for Best Original Movie or Special category at the 2017 National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) vision awards. The awards "honor original and digital programming content that depicts the lives, spirit, and contributions of people of color and best reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity of the viewing audience."

Beverly Desuasido, Executive Producer for Lifestyle Network, says that it was an honor to see [Lifestyle Network] shows alongside shows from HBO, ABC, OWN, Food Network, and CNN among others. "Not only is it my personal duty to shine light on our culture and roots, it's the company's mission to introduce our talent to the world stage, and this recognition solidifies our efforts," Desuasido says of the nomination.

Not one to shirk from a challenge or run away from his otherwise dark past, Gathercole has shared his story in multiple interviews prior to Rock the Runway--he recounts his experiences as a battered child who had to run away from home and live in the streets, acknowledging them as a part of his past and identity. Possibly the wellspring of his unique and complex fashion aesthetic, Rocky's rich and inspiring personal history brings a message of hope to those who hear it. 

In a post-event interview with ABS-CBN News Hollywood reporter Yong Chavez, an emotional Gathercole delivers his message to the young who have yet to pursue their dreams: 

"Lagi kayong mangangarap, mga bagets, mga bata. 'Yun ang hindi natin kayang bilhin. So mangarap kayo, at tuparin ninyo 'yun. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat, mga kabataan, sa patuloy na paglaban sa buhay." 

Translated:

"Do not stop dreaming, young ones. That is something that is priceless. Keep on dreaming, and make those dreams happen. Thank you, everyone. Thank you--to the young who keep living and fighting for it."

Rocky Gathercole's collection of avant-garde designs was on full display at  Rock the Runway, and if you've ever wondered what it looks like to keep on dreaming despite your circumstances, well--here are Rocky's creations, which, like their creator, are all complex, creative, beautiful, and full of possibilities. 

 

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photos by Sthanlee Mirador, Rex Vincent, Nerissa Fernandez and Alyssa Castillo

 

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About Shin Kitane
Shin Kitane writes to remember and believes that words have the power to heal, inspire, and move others. She dreams of a world where men and women are treated equally, where race, gender, and religion are not measures of one's worth in society. She is also a book-hoarder and a firm believer in re-watching Mean Girls and Harry Potter multiple times a year. Follow her misadventures @shinkitane on social media.
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