EXCLUSIVE: Here’s Why Tricia Gosingtian Designed A Dainty, Anime-Inspired RTW Line For ‘Mahinhin’ Women
Veteran fashion blogger Tricia Gosingtian-Gabunada launches a Studio Ghibli-inspired collection for quiet women
I felt lost. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere.
It seemed impossible for Tricia Gosingtian, one of the first style digital content creators in the Philippines, to say these words. After all, Tricia has been in the blogging industry for over 15 years—unconsciously an influencer before the term was even coined.
But alas, the veteran fashion blogger was at the peak of her career when she was hit by a realization: social media had rapidly evolved through the years, turning everyday life faster. Instant. Overwhelming.
And so after being happily married in 2017, Tricia began to re-evaluate her work, embarking on pursuing a new journey: the art of slowing down.
“It’s been more than 15 years since I started blogging, but things have definitely changed since then. In today’s world, being fast and instant is what’s celebrated. ‘Having it all’ is celebrated. Making your life a reality show is celebrated. But as an introvert who liked to take my time and valued my private life, I felt exhausted, constantly being bombarded with subliminal messages of having to keep up by buying the latest product, going to new places, etc. That just wasn’t my style.”
And so, Tricia decided to create her own world. A world where she can continue discovering things on her own and traveling to places simply because she wanted to, not because it’s “an opportunity to shoot content”. A world where she can truly, fully be herself—sans the overwhelming pressure of social media.
"Only a few people knew about it. I didn’t give anyone updates,” she shared in an exclusive interview with Metro.Style. “My friends would ask what I was busy with, and I kept telling them ‘SECRET!’ I didn’t want to jinx it, or pre-empt it. I didn’t want anyone’s opinions to affect it. It was enough to just impress myself.”
Tricia’s secret project turned out to be a rack of clothes she meticulously created for herself. “I’d wear them day in and day out. They didn’t have clothing tags. Does it matter what brand it is? I was happy with my own work, and that was enough.”
Tricia stopped living in fear, and started living life in love. Thus, the birth of her retail brand Hinhin.
“Eventually, this secret world transformed into the website that it is today. I was able to muster up the courage to reproduce the clothes so I can share my story to other people so they can also be reminded that besides the physical world, there’s also an internal world that they can explore.
“How do you stand out in this world full of noise? Just be quiet, if that’s your style. [And even if you were quiet], that doesn’t mean your secret, inner world isn’t full of ideas.”
Want to know more about fashion blogger and Metro Most Stylish woman Tricia Gosingtian’s newest ready-to-wear line? Keep scrolling for your dose of slow fashion fix!
Fashion Inspiration! Here's How To Style Hinhin Pieces, According To Tricia Gosingtian
Fashion Inspiration! Here's How To Style Hinhin Pieces, According To Tricia Gosingtian
Tell us more about Hinhin’s aesthetic.
"The aesthetic of Hinhin is a mix of my love of vintage things (I have a collection of vintage dresses that I treat like treasure in my closet!), my Asian-inspired style, and a lot of the hidden geekery inside my head.
“I want to create clothes that can make the wearer feel like she’s a universe of her own. You know how Usagi transforms into Sailor Moon? Usagi and Sailor Moon are the same person but there are two facets of her that are both worth acknowledging. While working on the brand, I also imagined Studio Ghibli heroines and book heroines wearing the dresses.”
Who designs Hinhin’s pieces?
“I do everything from fabric sourcing to designing. Even coding my website and packing orders! It’s such a personal project for me, and while it’s still in its earliest stages and the small scale can still allow my participation, I want to be on top of everything.”
What did your mood board look like?
"1950s photos, vintage Dior, old Vogue covers, old French magazine covers, Japanese fabric posters, Junichi Nakahara illustrations, vintage Japanese fashion illustrations, 1950s Japan, 1950s Filipino posters, old Manila, and old paintings."
How long did you plan this?
"A little over two years from concept to launch. It took me a long time because I was also in the middle of overcoming an existential crisis (I even published a blog post entitled “Quitting Blogging” some time in those two years). My new discoveries about myself contributed to the whole creative process of the brand, and it took me a while to articulate them clearly. It was a painful two years but definitely worth it.”
What was your biggest challenge in starting Hinhin? How did you overcome it?
“I didn’t feel like I deserved to create a brand, but at the same time, I had a hard time looking for an existing local brand that I could totally relate to. Debating whether or not I should start it was the hardest hurdle, because I felt very much unworthy to be the one to start it.
“I probably took a whole year just trying to muster up the courage to do it. I felt like I was being ungrateful to the blogging community because my heart wasn’t 100% in it anymore, and the longer I took to decide whether or not I should take up a new project, the more I felt pressured to just continue my daily routine. It was working and I was comfortable, but I wasn’t necessarily the happiest. The longer it dragged on, the more lost I was. I felt stuck, and I had no energy to do anything. Sometimes, I just stared at the ceiling or cried for hours at a time.
“It was especially difficult because I had to settle own feelings about the current social media landscape, since I knew that it was going to be instrumental in launching my brand. I started out online, and I knew I had to make peace with the idea that I was going to go through birthing pains again. I felt just as lonely as I was 15 years ago, as that weird girl who was on the Internet all the time. Years later, now that it’s the norm, I’m now the weirder one whose idea of luxury is not being connected online.
“Before launching the brand, I had to establish a healthy relationship with all the social media platforms first, and this took a lot of time. I had to see the good in these platforms, instead of looking at them as something bad or toxic. I need to make peace with it, not fight it. Was life better before social media? Or did it get worse? It was a futile question to answer because it wasn’t like I could turn back time anymore.
“And so I had to use all my past baggage to propel myself forward into the future.
That’s when I realized what got me into the Internet world in the first place – the ability to make meaningful connections through words and images. And I’m happy that these platforms are around as a way for us quiet girls to express ourselves and even make friends with other quiet girls.
What is your vision for Hinhin?
“I see this as an exciting opportunity to create projects that aren’t just product-focused. It’s not about the clothes. It’s only a small part of the brand. You don’t have to buy the clothes to be able to use #hinhingirls #hinhinworld. I know it’s already inside them—they are free to wear my dresses in their daydreams. I want Hinhin to be a brand that’s open to hearing what you’re thinking about and what you dream about, instead of just focusing on the grandeur of your physical possessions.”
On the Hinhin website, we also noticed a tab called "The Trove", where editorials are published. Can you tell us more about it?
“You can’t take the blogger out of me after all! I’m such a sucker for good long form articles, and I feel like the platform that I created can also serve as a mini-magazine of some sort to help our multifaceted quiet girl followers navigate through the world. I am lucky enough to be able to work with former magazine editor-in-chief (and one of our quintessential #hinhingirls) Pierra Calasanz-Labrador on this. I am so obsessed with The Trove one time that I told my husband that if the clothes aren’t ready yet, I’ll probably be okay with just publishing The Trove.
"Expect some think pieces and personality features! It’s not there to serve as a supplement to sell the clothes. In this first wave of content, we have not once mentioned any our products in our articles. We just asked ourselves—What kind of articles do us quiet girls want to read? And that’s how we came up with the content plan for The Trove.”
What can METRO women look forward to from Hinhin this 2019?
"I’m definitely going to work on more size options, as well as more content for The Trove. I already have a story for Chapter 2, but it’s going to take a lot of energy and time to execute such a ridiculous idea, haha. Hopefully, I can create other products in the future as well, like bags, accessories, shoes, or even makeup? We’ll never know. Baby steps. (Suppliers, contact me! Haha )”
Photography by Andrea Beldua
Art Direction by Mags Ocampo
Styling by MJ Benitez
Production Design by Aleyn Comprendio
Hair and Makeup by Raymund Defeo
Muse Zamantha Dy
Artwork by Raff Colmenar