My name is Ia Coca, or simply call me "Aya." I was born and raised in Cebu, Philippines. I am a medical technologist who shifted to be a full time fashion designer. I am glad that I am able to earn a living by doing what I love and helping people feel their best through fashion and my knowledge in crafts.
Coming from a big family, I always received hand-me-downs and that sparked the creativity and resourcefulness in me. I started upcycling old shirts by gluing rhinestones and painting on them. I also enjoyed coming up with decorative ideas made from cardboard and putting my projects on display in every corner of our home. I remember watching the show "Art Attack" on TV, and that inspired most of my childhood projects.
The Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world. We love decorating our homes with a star-shaped lantern called a Parol. It signifies hope and goodwill. It is traditionally made out of bamboo sticks and colored papers. Then around January, we Cebuanos celebrate the Sinulog festival—the biggest festival in the province. The streets are decorated in colorful streamers and we wear colorful shirts during the event. I am excited to share both of these traditions in my Workshops.
These crafts are very close to my heart because I grew up making them, and they taught me that we can make the most out of something. And I want to share that idea with everyone.
One of my favorite things about being in fashion is working with fabrics because I can wear them afterward! I have worked with our locally made fabrics too that are hand-woven.
The Philippines is an amazing place to live. My country is made up of more than 7,000 islands surrounded by beautiful beaches. And every island has an interesting story to tell! We are gentle and hospitable people and we like to welcome other people to know our culture.