OCT. 12, 2018

Newcomer brand questionnaire | BENCH/

Asian Fashion Meets TOKYO (Philippines) 2019SS




design team


Men’s and Women’s / Ready to wear, Footwear, Fashion Accessories, Fragrances, Toiletries & Cosmetics

Brand information / About the designer

―What inspired you to become a fashion designer? Describe developments leading up to the brand launch.

BENCH/ began in 1987 as a small store selling men’s t-shirts. Then, it grew at an unparalleled rate becoming the pioneer in the use of celebrity endorsers, television, and giant billboards to propel a fashion brand that offers premium quality products at affordable prices.

From being the number one store of men’s apparel, BENCH/ has grown to include a ladies’ line, underwear, active wear, footwear, fashion accessories, fragrances, toiletries & cosmetics, and a wide array of other lifestyle products. Throughout the years, BENCH/ has achieved the distinction of being present virtually in every retail space in the Philippines, and has built a worldwide network of stores and outlets, reaching as far as the United States, the Middle East, and China.

―What is the brand’s concept? What do you want to communicate through fashion designing? What are the images of men and women you want to project?

Our motto at Bench is “Live Life with Flavor,” so we strive to give products that add flavor to your life—from shirts to hair products to socks and underwear to food and Filipino desserts!

―What is your source of inspiration in creating fashion? What is your process of developing a design concept?

Travel, and the discovery of sights, sounds, taste and experience that new destinations bring. It gives me a fresh starting point in creating new collections and good insights when revisiting my own culture.

―Who are your current stockists (areas, retail formats, etc.)? Describe the typical followers of your brand.

Currently, Bench has more than 700 stores worldwide as stand-alone retail shops and inside major Department Stores in the Philippines.  These include SM Store, Robinson’s Dept Store, Metro Dept Store, Landmark, etc.  Bench also has 35 retail stores in 6 countries – USA, China, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, and by end of 2018, will be opening in 2 countries – Malaysia and Qatar.

In Japan, Bench Apparel is also sold in 3 stores Gallerie Tokyo, Gallerie Osaka and Gallerie Kyoto.

In the US and Canada, Benchbody Underwear is sold in online shops of Forever 21 and Simons, and in specialty underwear shops such as Entour and R by Rolo in San Francisco, Torso in Ohio, Pulse in Oklahoma, UnderU4Men in Portland Oregon, Skivvies in Dallas Texas, and The Finerie in downtown Seattle.

Our followers are those who like affordable, high quality, casual fashion.  It ranges from teenagers to the working class segments given the wide assortment of styles available.

―Which brands, designers, styles and cultures have had the most impact on your fashion designing, and why?

The Philippines is an archipelago with a merry mix of cultural influences—more than a century of Spanish and American colonization and Chinese and Mexican trade exchanges, that is it a rich minefield of inspiration for me all the time. This, combined with my love of travel to my favorite destinations such as Brazil, Scandinavia and Japan, make up for my interest in people, the way they dress, and how we can help dress them up through my brand.

About 2019 S/S collection

―Why have you chosen Tokyo(Amazon Fashion Week TOKYO) as the venue for presenting your collection?

Tokyo is a place where many trends are born, designers are creative, buyers are fashion-forward, and the press is discriminating. Thus, to present a collection at Amazon Fashion Week is both inspiring and challenging.

―What is the concept / image for your brand’s 2019 S/S season?

This SS19, we are presenting a collection that is a mix of collegiate codes on a tropical summer break. Our motto is Live Life with Flavor, and we hope to show that through our collection.

―What is your vision for your show / installation?

We are excited to present the 3 winners of the Bench Design Awards together with Bench. Bench Design Awards is our platform to discover new design talents in the Philippines who we can help to bring to the world through our partner-organizer AMFT / Asian Fashion Meets Tokyo.


―What are your brand’s future outlook and goal?

Bench is celebrating its 31st anniversary this year and we look forward to bring our Philippine-born brand to more cities in Japan and the rest of the world.


―What does Tokyo represent for you?

Tokyo is tradition and innovation. It is love for one’s own age-old culture. It is the future unfolding.

―Which parts / sites of Tokyo do you like most? Why?

Ginza is great for shopping, whether in the flagship stores of global brands, specialty shops such as Dover Street Market, or in the new mall developments like Ginza Six.

Jingumae is a nice walk that at the same time gives you a pulse of the local and more casual retail scene with many small shops, both local and international.

Daikanyama T-Site is a good destination more especially because it closes late and thus a good place to have a nightcap amidst an interesting selection of books and magazines.

―What are your favorite / recommended shops (of any genres, e.g. fashion stores, homeware stores, food services), facilities and sites?

Tokyo is as much retail as it is a food haven. Ginza Kyubey is legendary for its sushi and recommended for special occasions. For everyday fare, Maisen, Marugame Udon, and St. Marc’s Café are easy, casual options that we also represent in the Philipines.

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