His creations speak of a timeless glamour. From the luxurious fabrics used, to the movement created through non-conventional patterns and shapes, it seems that Mark Bumgarner has a masterful eye for his craft.

Celebrities in his home country, the Philippines, are crazy about his dresses too. Popular Filipino actor Heart Evangelista counts him as one of her favourite designers.

So it will come as a surprise when you learn that Bumgarner was actually a racecar driver before he joined the fashion industry. He has represented the country numerous times at international racing competitions in the past.

“My life would be very different. For one, I would be mostly away from my family and my country. I used to train and live in Indiana, the United States, and race in different cities around the world,” states the 26-year-old.

“I have only been in the fashion industry for about four years, and two years of which was a real struggle. Nothing is easy when you are just starting. Just like racing, I had to focus on it, like a tunnel vision.”

While Bumgarner does not exactly know what is next, he does have a plan to start his own ready-to-wear boutiques. He aims to make Mark Bumgarner a well-known brand.

“I constantly think of the next level. I rarely look back. To me, fashion shouldn’t be about the past, but more about the future. Fashion is not at all reductive,” he points out.

“Even before I launch a collection, I think of what’s next. It doesn’t matter whether the collection was a commercial success or not. The most important part is, it’s a step to the next phase.”

Self-taught talent

Mark Bumgarner

Timeless glamour is the hallmark of each design.

Although Bumgarner has taken up short-term courses in pattern making and marketing at Central Saint Martins, London, he remains largely self-taught. This is something that he is proud of.

“I recommend aspiring designers to go to school and get proper fundamentals on fashion, but I would tell them to also go for an internship after school. Internships offer different lessons,” he explains.

Bumgarner says that he will be experimenting on different proportions like bigger sleeves and shapeless dresses for his Spring 2018 collection. He however promises to still adhere to a feminine and classic aesthetic.

“My next collection is about shapes and patterns. It will consist of these beautiful fabrics I recently purchased in London, which has very ‘summery’ colours. Overall the collection is about dressing up day to night.”

The Mark Bumgarner studio is based in Makati, the Philippines, but it ships worldwide.

Check out Facebook (MarkBumgarnerManila) and Instagram (@markbumgarner) for more information.