Interview: OMGfashionistar Cecilia Pagkalinawan

CeciliaI first met Cecilia Pagkalinawan back during the early heady days of the dot-com boom in New York City. It is almost 15 years ago, on April 19, 1997, when I stopped by the Washington Irving High School on Irving Place in NYC. She was co-coordinator of Netday 2000, an initiative to help wire New York City public schools to better prepare students–future workers, leaders and consumers–to be able to compete in a wired world. She was also running her own dot-com, Boutique Y3K, and was one of the early leaders of the Silicon Alley tech scene. Our businesses grew, developed, and finally changed as the bubble burst. Like many others from that era, she has gone on to create new enterprises serving her passion and empowering others. She’s always been someone whom I’ve admired personally, professionally and “fashionably.” Thus, she was an obvious choice for me as an OMGfashionistar mentor. I hope you enjoy learning more about Cecilia as much as I enjoy knowing her!

My First Name: Cecilia

My Last Name: Pagkalinawan

My Job: CEO StyleTrek, Chief Client Officer dotbox

My OMGfirst style/fashion was (when / what occasion)… I guess it was during my sophomore year in high school.  I was invited to be a date to a guy’s senior prom.  My aspiring designer friend who was my age designed it.  We brought the design of a black floor length gown with a mermaid style bottom to a dressmaker to be made.  Two days before the prom I picked it up and it was a disaster. Shapeless and looked like I put on a garbage bag.  I was in tears. I was envisioning a Valentino-like confection.  I wound up going to a fabric store, bought lace, attached lace to the bust and the bottom of the gown, took in the waist for shape and wound up having the Valentino-like gown I wanted. Best part was I was able to get into AREA, a trendy NY club in SoHo with my get-up after the prom and had the best evening.

My OMGfavorite outfit (article of clothing) is… My Burberry Prorsum leather jacket in navy from Christopher Bailey’s first collection which I purchased with my employee discount when I worked at Burberry.  It’s fitted with a slight peplum at the waist, the leather is buttery soft with a Peter Pan collar.  The jacket never fails to get me compliments and can look edgy or classic depending on what I wear with it.

My OMGfavorite designer is… So hard to decide…For clothes–Catherine Malandrino, Phillip Lim, Prabal Gurung, Christopher Bailey, Thakoon, Tom Ford, Costume National, ACNE, Stella McCartney and of course Alexander McQueen. For accessories Miuccia Prada and Marc Jacobs.

What advice would you give to OMGchildren who want to be a Fashionistar or design fashion? They must innately love it and have the desire to set their own trail.  Travel and experience the world. You never know how your experiences may influence your outlook and give you a unique perspective.

What advice would you give to uncles, aunts, godparents out there who would like to score points with their OMGchildren with fashion? Do you have any easy tips? Travel with them, take them to museums.  Expose them to art & culture.  I absolutely love the Victoria and Albert museum in London with their fashion and textile collections. Visits to Florence & Venice are a must.  Of course the Louvre in Paris and the Met in NY.  Trips to the countryside such as the South of France provide such a colorful explosion of nature and light.

Could you please provide us with a little 3-line intro on you and your work? I’m the Chief Client Officer at dotbox have the privilege of working with clients such as VandM, Harry Winston and Vince Camuto.  I enjoy working with established brands as well as start-ups.  I am also CEO of StyleTrek.  There is much knowledge to be gained from established brands and I love the passion and hustle of emerging designers & entrepreneurs.  In the past, I ran e-commerce for Burberry, Frette & La Perla.

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