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Anthony “Tonichi” Nocom: A Pillar of Philippine Fashion Passes Away

The Philippine fashion industry bids farewell to a pioneer designer.

The Philippine fashion industry mourns the passing of Anthony “Tonichi” Nocom. He is well known for his works as a ready-to-wear designer for SM menswear, SM womens’ loungewear, and his designs outside retail. He also took part at one of the first post-pandemic fashion show in Manila, Algodon

Anthony "Tonichi" Nocom and his designs for 'Algodon'

According to Thelma San Juan, former founding Editor-in-Chief and Editorial Director of Metro Magazine, Tonichi was part of the ideation of Metrowear. "I've known Tonichi for more than three decades, he and other SM designers such as Cesar Gaupo and Lulu Tan-Gan. In the early 2000s, Tonichi suggested Metro to hold a fashion show. I think it was also him who helped me coined the name Metrowear," says Thelma.

Metrowear became the biggest fashion series—not only for it's line-up of designers but for how it brought together rival designers. "Metrowear put together major designers, not unnamed. It must have been the only show where Auggie Cordero, Inno Sotto, Cesar Gaupo, Pepito Albert, Pitoy Moreno, and Ben Farrales would be all together."

Thelma honors Tonichi as "my friend who worked behind-the-scenes quietly."

Tonichi Nocom's designs for 'Algodon'

Nocom's career spans several decades, all of them at SM. He began his career at SM, starting as a store and window designer. This role allowed him to showcase his creativity by setting up captivating and eye-catching displays. His talent and dedication quickly propelled him to the position of Junior Merchandiser in SM’s menswear. His keen eye for fashion and understanding of trends soon expanded to include merchandising for ladieswear.

In 1989, Nocom launched his own menswear line for SM, marking the beginning of a more than two-decade-long career in designing men’s fashion. His designs, known for their style and quality, yet affordable, earned him a loyal following. After 26 years in menswear, Nocom took a break but remained deeply involved in merchandising for womenswear.

In 2017, Nocom was tasked with revamping the sleepwear line for SM, a challenge he embraced with passion. As the pandemic hit, his vision for comfortable and stylish loungewear became particularly relevant. Women sought relaxed and cozy clothing options for their time at home. Nocom introduced kaftans and loungewear, described as the perfect outfit for the pandemic, for lockdown. These pieces were celebrated for their comfort, flowy silhouettes, and versatility.

Tonichi Nocom's journey through the fashion industry is a testament to his adaptability, creativity, and enduring influence. His legacy will continue to inspire, and his contributions to Philippine fashion will be remembered with great respect and admiration. The fashion community mourns the loss of a true pioneer. Rest in peace, Tonichi.

Article by Sasha Luyaben