Hello, dollies! How have you been? I hope you scored great deals during the last weekend's shopping. It’s always a good idea to buy holiday presents during Black Fridays to Cyber Mondays, I know. But as some of you know, I have to be my own financial guardian so instead of piling up bills on my credit card, I kept myself busy.
And speaking of being busy, as the title of this post suggests, I recently had an interview with an important person in the local doll collecting scene here in my country. Earlier this month, I met up with Jojo Romero, a fellow doll collector based here in sunny Philippines, and founder of the Philippines-based Facebook doll enthusiasts group, Fashion Royalty Philippines.
It was an awesome meetup because not only was I able to interview him for this post, he also gave me a chance to own an Escapism Elise Jolie. I have been wanting to have an Elise make into reality some of my sketches and I was so lucky to be online when Jojo was posting the sale on the group page. Oh yeah!
So on to the interview...
Me: Hi Jojo. Welcome to my little blog. Please introduce yourself to fellow doll collectors..
Hello there, dolly friends. My name is Jojo Romero and I’m a doll collector from the Philippines. I have been a Barbie collector since 1997 and discovered Fashion Royalty when I first met Mais Oui! Giselle Diefendorf. I was so smitten by her unique beauty that she really got me started into this whirlwind world of high fashion doll collecting. I used to work as an accountant before I started running my own casting agency in 2006. I work with models on a day to day basis. Now you can see how my hobby and business are closely related!
|Here's Jojo for you :)|
Me: When have you started Fashion Royalty Philippines and what prompted you to do this?
Along with other doll-collecting friends, we decided to create a Facebook group exclusive for Fashion Royalty collectors to share photos and experiences in their doll collecting journey. Since groups for Mattel collectors already existed and since there is none for us FR collectors, we decided to start one. We launched in July 2013 and since then, we have grown to 123 (as of this writing) members.
Me: Who qualifies as a group member?
The admin welcomes all Fashion Royalty doll lovers, but must start with a keen interest in collecting Fashion Royalty dolls. There are even those who only started this year, with only a few dolls in their racks, but expressed intent to add more to their collection. It’s all about a common love for these beautiful Fashion Royalty dolls.
|Jojo and fellow Fashion Royalty Philippines members...|
Me: Doll collecting, especially these Fashion Royalty ones, is such an expensive hobby. What types of day jobs do your group members maintain to be able to buy these $100-and-up fashion dolls?
These are not playline dolls so everyone in the group are adult collectors, thus they hold jobs to feed their collecting cravings. Some members are designers, artists in different fields, and business owners. Most are working in the creative field.
Me: Please share with us the types of activities you host for the group.
Since the launch of the group in 2013, we had been having theme-based photo and fashion designing contests. This year, we also held our first ever Flores de Mayo and FRP Fashion Week. These are really amazing activities because the collectors get to share their talents to the group, not only showing off their collection. And another great thing is, there are beautiful people, inside and out, who volunteered to sponsor the equally amazing prizes – dolls that are rare and worth a space in your collection. Not everyone has this capacity, and it’s really heartwarming that wonderful people share their blessings.
|Luminous Ayumi in a Filipiniana dress for the Flores de Mayo last May 2014|
|Elise experiences the Filipino tradition, Flores de Mayo|
|Agnes and her royal Flores de Mayo entourage|
Shasha: Then there's this FRP Fashion Week last October, which was I think was a fabulous event. Please tell us more about it.
Well, it sure was fabulous, and a huge success, most importantly. This event was to encourage fellow members who are also doll fashion designers to showcase their creations, as well as foster friendship among the members. We have seven designers who presented at least five of their amazing artworks to the group last October 19, 2014. Each collection had their own themes, but the finale dress should be red carpet, gala, evening or wedding gown. It’s exciting how the contestants exhibited their avant-garde masterpieces, as the event organizers deliberately specified the creations to be never-before-seen. The winner was Eli Lafradez Gonzales, and he won a beautiful Agnes doll. It was an amazing experience and we are planning to make it a yearly event.
|Eli and his winning collection|
|Lovely, isn't she?|
|Fashion Royalty Philippines Fashion Week 2014 Winning Collection|
|The gorgeous audience|
|Hey, I know that pink animal-print top worn by Lana there! :D|
|Tough crowd, this one...|
|It's also an award's night, mind you. Dress to impress!|
|Very important figure sharing her thoughts on the fabulous event...|
And of course, the rest of the wonderful collections from the designers/contestants, whom I will be writing about as well in another post. Because they deserved it :) Such a talented bunch!
|House of Garcia|
|Jojo and the judges...|
|The very talented designers..|
|The very talented designers...|
Shasha: It sure deserves to be an annual event! Aside from the fashion week, what other exciting activities have you lined up for 2015?
Oh, we have the following planned for 2015:
Oh, we have the following planned for 2015:
FRP Top Model –Three designers will be showing their collection in April 2015, and thus will need the Top Model to wear them. The details are not yet ironed out but we definitely would love every member to participate with at least one doll as contestant.
Flores de Mayo – This is a tribute, to the Philippine tradition, Flores de Mayo, where single women (and now, transgenders) wear traditional ball gowns for a night parade. They are joined by gentlemen, also in traditional Barong Tagalog. In FRP world, the first Flores de Mayo event was held last May 2014 and the admins are planning to make this an annual event.
Non-pro Design Challenge – We are planning on having this challenge a regular annual thing as well.
FRP Fashion Week – Since this was a success in 2014, we are so excited to have this become a regular activity as well.
And before this year ends, I thought of having an Outreach program wherein we can donate toys to less fortunate kids, but I may need to check if we can sneak that in as time is quite too short for all the preparation. I’ll get you posted on this.
Me: The group seems to have lots of awesome things to do next year! How do you see the fashion doll industry in the Philippines, and the world, in the next 5-10 years?
I am seeing that fashion doll collecting will become more popular here in the Philippines, thanks to the increasing number of doll groups welcoming new collectors.
Me: What do you want the FRP group to achieve in the near future?
I am wishing that finally, Integrity Toys will acknowledge the market here in the country. Hopefully, there will be an IT distributor so we don’t need to hassle our friends in the US to buy for us, or pay too much for our shipping costs. Lastly, I am wishing for a doll convention to be held here, even just for the local collectors. It should be so much fun!
Me: Thanks so much for your time, Jojo. I know you are a busy person; I really appreciate you sharing your time and your thoughts on the doll collecting scene in the Philippines. As a member of the FRP group myself, I will stay updated with what’s going on in the community and I’m looking forward to participating in our events. Chat with you soon, Jojo…
Photo Credits: Jojo Romero and Fashion Royalty Philippines
So, that was the interview, guys. I hope you had a quick glimpse of the doll collecting community here in sunny Philippines. I am planning to make these kinds of doll community-related posts in the future, so stay tuned :)
Thanks again for dropping by, dollies.
‘Til next time…