News & Runway

21 Questions with…Handbag Designer Rafe Totengco


We ask New York-based Filipino fashion designer Rafe Totengco, known for his vibrant accessories, our 21 questions.

  1. When I get dressed in the morning I think…of which printed shirt I’m in the mood for.

  2. The item of clothing I'm currently wearing most is…a printed piped pajama shirt from Michael Bastian.

  3. The last thing I Googled was…the myth surrounding Machu Picchu; I love reading about ancient cultures and mythologies.

  4. If my days had one extra hour I'd…end up working longer.

  5. I knew I was meant to work in fashion because…when I was in 5th grade I started tweaking the fit and details of my school uniform, much to the chagrin of the school principal.

  6. The reason I'm so passionate about accessories…is because they have the ability express a woman’s personality and lifestyle all in one.

  7. When I'm looking to get inspired I…walk out of my apartment. Inspiration is everywhere especially in New York City.

  8. When I'm stressed I…go for a yoga class.

  9. My beauty essentials include…sleep and a good moisturizer from Aesop or Tata Harper.

  10. I'd never travel without…my Muji sketchbook and my Leica camera.

  11. The best advice I ever got…was if you can make someone happy because of your design then you’re doing something right, and you need to keep doing it!

  12. When hiring someone the qualities I look for…are poise, eloquence, innate style and talent.

  13. My fashion pet peeve is…clothes that are too tight, too short and nothing is left to the imagination. I want to be seduced, not assaulted.

  14. On a typical Saturday night I…chill at home with my partner, enjoy a good dinner and watch an old movie on Netflix.

  15. The one electronic I couldn't go a day without is…my iPhone.

  16. If I could have dinner with anyone it would be…Tzu-Hsi, the Empress Dowager of China. She was a very powerful and largely misunderstood woman in history and I loved her ceremonial costumes.

  17. I'm dying to splurge on…a Safari trip at the Okavango Delta.

  18. The last book I read was…Answered Prayers: The Unfinished Novel by Truman Capote.

  19. The song I'm currently listening to mostGet Lucky by Daft Punk.

  20. I'm happiest when…traveling to somewhere new.

  21. My guilty pleasure is…Instagram! I’m obsessed!