There she was, with an infectious bubbly personality, in a beautiful, bright pink dress, fuscia sneakers and adorned with one of her signature tiaras, laughing amongst a crowd of fashionistas outside of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall. I’m speaking of the one and only, Tracy Dizon, Miliner/Filipina Fashion Designer and winner of the RiseSport’sArt&DesignFashionDesigner competition. It was the final evening of FashionWeekBrooklyn, 2018, showcasing Spring/Summer 2019 collections. Tracy presented her quirky, yet magnificent collection “Pinoy Pop Life”, 12differentlooksforthegrand finale. To say it was an honor and a dream come true, is an understatement. The collection was inspired by her childhood memories of eating “dirty ice-creams” on hot afternoons in Manila, Phillipines, feeling “pink petals of Bougainvillea flowers over the urban streets and taking a curious interest in Taka horse paper mache toys”. Models cascaded down the steps of a historic monument, Borough Hall and onto a runway, wearing Ms. Dizon’s colorful dresses, fun prints and signature tiaras. Classic Filipino fabrics, such as; Ifugao textiles, Cordillera, Yakan and Abel Ilocanos were used to give a “nostalgic essence and share her beautiful culture” through her designs. Her pieces had unique character and an auto-biographical story shined through as each model posed. I was immediately inspired to meet the mind behind such whimsical fashion and her fascinating culture. Tracy Dizon’s story is far from boring or easy.
Born in Manila, Phillipines, Tracy recalls desiring to become a fashion designer since the ripe age of 5 years old. Finding solace playing, “BarbieDolls and Paperdolls”, she would draw clothes and put prices on them. She even made her own make-shift “fashion magazine” and pretended to be an editor. In her high school years, she attended, Miriam College Pep Squad (an exclusive Catholic school for girls in the Phillipines). During that time, she used to doodle and give her classmates ‘prom dress designs’. She always had a fascination with color, costumes and dressing up. Tracy would then go on to pursue an advanced education in clothing design at Miriam College and courses at the University of the Phillipines Diliman, amongst some of the most talented Filipino students. It was there that she was served a large slice of humble pie.
Later, Tracy became a stylist and costume designer for ABS-CBN in 2007. She designed for four shows; Lastikman, Imortal and PHR’s Pintada and Corazon Ang Unang Aswang. Although, working as a stylist for television and film helped her to pay bills and take care of her son, Travis Atreyu Dizon, she really desired to build her own brand. Over the years, Tracy participated in various fashion contests, such as; AirAsiaRunwayReadyDesignerSearch (Malaysia) and VietnamEmergingDesigner competition, which later lead her to the popular televised show, ProjectRunwayPhillipines (season 2), in 2009. Although, it was a learning experience, the “cut-throat” and often viscious environment on the show, was not her cup of tea. Also during that year, she was chosen as the Phillipines Representative in the 47th JapanFashionDesign contest (Tokyo). Her involvement with that contest was received well by many new fans of her “weird, child-like aesthetic”. She then had an ah-ha moment and decided to “penetrate the international market, where options are wider and open to various bold and playful designs”.
Fortunately, Tracy grew up with travel agent parents and started traveling around the world, at a young age. Many of her design inspirations come from her appreciation for other cultures. She would often “wanderlust” as she refers to it, in Paris, London, New York, Hanoi and other cities. Although, these experiences may sound glamorous, Tracy’s career journey and personal life as a single parent have been a constant struggle.
Less than two years ago, life took an unexpected turn for Tracy and her son, Travis. Upon the heels of picking up business at big trade-shows, they received news that Travis had been diagnosed with a rare brain tumor and had to undergo immediate brain surgery. Sadly, TiarabyTracyDizon had to be put on hold, which was heartbreaking, but necessary. Today, Travis is a cancer survivor. The inseparable and inspiring mother and son team are pursuing their design dreams together. I had the pleasure of spending some time with them, while they were in New York City this past Fall. They were a breath of fresh air! Their smiles warmed my heart and I remember being in awe by their huge amount of love and respect for one another. They are truly the epitome of positivity, perseverance, strength and talent. Their future is bright and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2019.
For more information regarding Tiara by Tracy Dizon, you can follow Tracy on Instagram @tracydizon.ph and @tiarabytracydizon.
RunwayPhotosandArticle by Jodi Cornish
Additional PhotoCredits: Solo photo of Tracy Dizon and photo of Tracy and Travis together, by Redford Mancio
Models: Virginia Liang, Morgan Glenn, Caroline Paras, Jackie Paras (Ms. New York US Nation 2018), Joyce Sheng, Vanessa Ramos, Alex Leimesiter, Jeannette Josue (Ms. World Elite 2018), Muyta Ng, Julee Bourgoin and Serenity Ford