On Spotlight: David Tupaz, Filipino Gem, a Toast of Las Vegas!

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Fashion designers are always looking for inspiration whatever season it is, but one thing is for sure, fashion designer David Tupaz seeks inspiration everywhere. The famous Filipino designer, based in Las Vegas, is bringing back old Hollywood glamour, dazzle, elegance and sharpness in his Fall couture at the recently concluded New York Fashion Week.

“I’m trying to bring elegance back whereas a lot of designers are bringing a lot of avant-garde and very modern of which I have nothing against because I think the whole creative process means we have to always move forward. Inspiration goes back to old Hollywood. I think to this day even the European designers looked back to old Hollywood films to get inspiration for their new collection. I design clothes that you don’t wear everyday but the moment you wear it, you become the star,” David said.

David Tupaz design.

David Tupaz design.

Not only does he have an eye for true beauty, but he’s also a visionary, a mentor, a master and a pioneer, making him the ultimate hero of the Las Vegas fashion industry. A total class in his honest perception of success, humility, principles and individuality beyond the glamour.

“I design clothes that you don’t wear everyday but the moment you wear it, you become the star.”

– David Tupaz

I met David for the first time in Portland, Oregon where he showcased his amazing couture at the Philippine Runway in 2013. Then last year we met for the second time at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards 2014 ceremony in Beverly Hills. We spent several hours hopping from one after-party to another until we overdosed with fun and had no more energy to take selfies, drink, eat nor walk. We even hung out with famous celebrities like Taylor Swift, Jared Leto, and John Voight to name a few. And yes, I thought David was the coolest and the most down-to-earth celebrity fashion designer. He even invited my family to stay at his house if we ever visit Las Vegas. I thought… wow, that’s a Filipino hospitality trait shining from him!

Fashion designer David Tupaz, Taylor Swift and Luisa Marshall.

Fashion designer David Tupaz, Taylor Swift and Luisa Marshall.

Luckily, I had an opportunity to go to  Vegas again last August and David granted us an interview despite his hectic schedule. Leaving the busy strip to visit David Tupaz Couture was a breath of fresh air. Away from the hustle and bustle stood a calm, classy and impressive studio where most of David’s favorite couture was on display. Everywhere I looked was gorgeous and divine from the colors to the style, from the design to all the accessories.

Here’s some highlights of my interview with David…

Moving To Vegas

“The beginning of 2010 is when I decided to completely move here. It’s because I saw potential. I lived in New York for a long time and then in 1997, I moved from New York to California. I started designing for different TV shows, for CBS like Malcolm in the Middle and Boston Legal to name a few.”

That was when I started my own design studio in which I customized a lot of clothing for a lot of my entertainment industry friends. They’ve been patronizing me all the way ‘til today and it’s great.

I came to Vegas. I realized that Las Vegas is a city by itself. It has so many districts and so many places. It is not only where the casinos are or where the hotels are. There are so many people living in this city that there’s a lot of potential. I found out they don’t have a fashion industry which I said well, why can’t I pioneer that. So that’s the reason why I moved.”

On Success

“Success for me really matters in a way that it depends on a person or an individual’s level of content. Sometimes I kinda want to wake up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror and say I don’t need anything more.”

David added, “More than the success is the recognition of your peers or the people that believe and support what you do because I always believe that it is what you can give and not what you can get. That’s the culture we grew up in that is something so innate in the Filipino culture that it is what we can give.”

Advocacy

For years now, David is the only established designer in Las Vegas representing the state of Nevada in every major fashion week in the US.

The 2015 International Designer of the Year said “it is so ironic that in the fashion world, the whole world was represented in Las Vegas except Las Vegas. It is sad and that has to change.”

As a magazine editor-in-chief, David  Tupaz recently launched the fashion industry in Las Vegas through its first fashion magazine called L’VEGUE, a quarterly magazine highlighting all the talented creative people who live in the city. Thus, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman proclaimed June 3rd as “David Tupaz Day” to recognize David’s great contribution to the city’s fashion industry.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman proclaimed June 3rd as “David Tupaz Day” to recognize David’s great contribution to the city’s fashion industry.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman proclaimed June 3rd as “David Tupaz Day” to recognize David’s great contribution to the city’s fashion industry.

In 2011, David established a non-profit organization called the Las Vegas Design Council to help the creative growth of the local designers to build an industry in the city. “The fashion industry doesn’t exist in this part of the country,” says Tupaz. “It is like in New York or LA but never in Las Vegas. As I always say, Vegas is the last frontier, the last glamorous city in America that hasn’t been tapped yet. So it is the perfect venue to create another kind of industry and what’s more exciting than fashion?”

Tupaz adds, “famous people know me because I worked with them so I can use that resource to help these people, which helps all these local young designers who has that vision and that natural creative talent in their creative growth. We have educational programs, we have training programs, and we have workshops for free.”

Inspiration

“You get inspired from events, occasions, music, movie, TV show, friend… all of us can get inspiration because the universe by itself is one big art. I think the universe, as we see the stars and the planets and the comets… I mean that’s art right there. And I think being artists, a lot of us are sometimes not understood, a lot of artists are denied being understood… why, because most of us are kinda weird. Being artists and creative people, we see things differently than the ordinary person.”

Being Humble and Happy

“I’m just an instrument being used by the universe. That’s why I was given this talent and we were given this talent because our talent will cross borders. As what you are doing in Canada, helping people, making an issue highlighted… that’s talent right there and there’s a mission to that. You are part of that divine creative energy that helps people build lives and make people live better and, in my case, more beautiful.

We are doing what we are doing not for ourselves or to enrich ourselves or to make ourselves somebody in our own successful achievement but the universe is using us thru our creative talent to give back. My grandmother once told me ‘for you to be happy in this world, you have to make others happy first then you will feel happy.”

For more amazing moments, please watch my full interview with my friend David Tupaz to be aired on the 2- part series season 7 premiere of Simply the Best, The Luisa Marshall Show on Shaw 116, Monday, 9pm primetime.

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About the Writer

Luisa Marshall

Luisa Marshall is a singer, performer, tribute artist, TV host, editor, scriptwriter, producer and anti-bullying advocate based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her internationally acclaimed and award winning Tina Turner Tribute show has enabled her to share her passion and love of the arts through music and often uses her talents to donate her time and efforts to various charitable causes all over the world. Her popular TV show, Simply the Best, is a local independent production on the Shaw Multicultural Channel and aims to inspire, educate and entertain Filipino and mainstream viewers alike.

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