From a young boy in Samar, Michael Cinco grew to become a big name in the global fashion industry. The Dubai-based Filipino designer is best known for his fabulous couture gowns.
In this article, we go back to Michael’s humble beginnings and how he climbed the ladder to become one of the most well-known Filipino fashion designers around the world.
Born in Catbalogan in Samar, Michael was the fifth child among eight siblings. His father worked as a radio technician while his mother was a homemaker to take care of the family. Michael described that they lived a very simple life but well enough to survive.
Growing up, Michael always loved fashion and style. He watched the movies of Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, and Grace Kelly and became enthralled with their beautiful gowns and dresses. It was his love for old Hollywood fashion that drove his dream to become a designer.
“I pictured those fabulous heroines and imagined dressing them up in my creations. I chased after those visions,” he shared in his short autobiography.
Gender & Fashion
According to Michael, his father was initially against his love for fashion designing. His mother was supportive of his dream but being the traditional Filipino father, he had a hard time accepting that his son was gay.
Michael shared with Tatler, “My mother was very supportive, but my father was not. He was like the typical Filipino father then who could not accept the thought of having a gay son. For my father, fashion is a world that is exclusively for ladies.”
Michael made up for his father’s disappointment by being good in school. He excelled academically and that made his father proud of him. Because he was good at academics, he earned a scholarship to the University of the Philippines. He studied only for a year before quitting and chasing his dreams.
Fashion School & Chasing Dreams
Michael enrolled at the Slims Fashion and Art School in Makati. This paved the way for him to pursue his dreams in Saudi Arabia. Working in the Middle East, Micheal had a “culture shock” because there were so many restrictions. He, later on, returned to the Philippines and worked under the famous designer Renee Salud.
Taking another shot, Michael went back to Dubai again. This time he worked with Ganati, a fashion empire in the Middle East. He recalls going through a difficult time when he was the head designer as Ganati was slowly losing its customers. That pushed him to work harder and “reinvent the house.”
The International Fashion World
In 2002, Michael went to Paris and London to seek out more fashion inspiration. After studying at the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, he went back to Dubai. He opened his own fashion house MICHAEL CINCO Dubai in 2003.
Since then, Michael grew his name and label as he dressed famous celebrities and personalities around the world. Michael has made dresses for Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Aishwarya Rai, Nick Jonas, James McAvoy, Jason Derulo, Steve Aoki, Carrie Underwood, Sofia Vergara, Mila Kunis, Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, and many others.
If you’re interested in starting a career in the fashion industry, you can also learn a lot from the colorful life of Fanny Serrano, the salon, fashion & makeup expert.