Creativity knows no boundaries and for Pia See, her foray into fashion was sparked by her passion for interior design. Pia is the woman behind clothing brand unif0rm known for its avant-garde take on staples tailored for the modern woman. Through her brand, she is able to express the many sides of her personality and taste.
Pia shares with us the story behind the brand dressed up in pieces from her summer collection and adorned with jewelry she co-designed for Heyjow.
How did you discover your passion for fashion?
"My professional background is in interior design. I did interior design for a while and worked for a furniture company but I stopped working when I had my first-born. My mother-in-law has a uniform business and she was about to close it down at that time and she offered it to me."
Pia wearing a plain tank top with a printed skirt with pieces from the Heyjow x unif0rm collection
"When I accepted the offer, I told my husband I needed to have a formal background about fabrics and fashion designing so I went to the Fashion Institute of the Philippines for one summer before the business was handed to me. I continued her business of making uniforms for the workforce for a year but soon I had to make some changes."
How did your brand unif0rm come about?
"The reality was we weren’t really earning that much making the work uniforms. The staff was all in-house and since there wasn’t a lot of business coming in, they would look for other jobs. When I was pregnant, I would ask them to make my maternity clothes so they at least have a salary from me."
"That’s when I noticed one of our tailors. He was very good at making casual clothes and when I wore the pieces I had custom-made, people would notice and ask me where I bought them. There were people who encouraged me to make more and sell them and that gave me the idea to branch out. After I gave birth to my second child in 2015, the brand unif0rm was born."
Pia wearing the Loretta bracelet trio
How would you describe your personal style?
"For interior design, I like mixing styles because it makes the space more interesting and personal. It’s the same with fashion. I wear clothes that are comfortable and express who I am."
"I’m a fan of classics because they’re simple. I have this shirt in my collection called the Reg tee and I always wear it because it’s so easy to wear. I like basic pieces such as jeans and neutral colors but I also like wearing brightly colored pieces occasionally. I also gravitate towards pieces that have an art deco vibe."
Pia's shoe collection includes these black statement pieces with an art deco vibe
How does your personal style translate to your designs for unif0rm?
"At first, the pieces tended to literally look like uniforms but we’ve tweaked the fabrics and the details such as the cut and the collar so they stand out from the usual. We have the Babe tee, which is a V-neck shirt but with a lower neckline and longer sleeves compared to the usual shirt. The fabric has a more luxe feel to it, too. If we didn’t design it that way, then people would have no reason to buy our pieces because they can surely get it somewhere else."
"I always make sure to put my own spin on every piece I design so I can call them my own. That’s why the variety of clothes we have at unif0rm is quite wide. My vision is to have a unif0rm piece for every style, mood, and event."
Are you able to apply your interior design background to your brand?
"Yes, I do! Design is design and I’m able to apply concepts like color scheme to the clothing pieces I come up with. My eclectic interior design taste comes through with my fashion sensibilities as well like wearing print on print."
Pia's take on fashion is expressed in her designs for unif0rm: Avante-garde, modern and versatile pieces for the modern woman
What’s your style when it comes to accessories?
"I like rings and earrings with a play on proportions like classic hoop earrings that are larger than the usual. I also like chains. For the summer, we will have a lot of open neck pieces so chunky chains would really look interesting on an exposed neck."
What inspired your collaboration with Heyjow?
"I’d compare this partnership to our Mediterranean-inspired house. Typically, Mediterranean houses are yellow and orange but ours is blue, gray and white. People love our house because the design veers away from the typical and is unexpected but still works."
Pia's eclectic style can be seen in how she designed her home
"It’s the same with this collaboration – putting two different things but they still meet. The modern cuts of unif0rm paired with Heyjow’s feminine flair balance each other and when worn together, it makes the look more cohesive."
What inspires you to create?
"Everyday life is one of my motivations. I’m a mom but I also work every day so I like to design clothes that can work for someone who has the same lifestyle as me. Another one is travel. You want to look good but you also want to take the stress out of dressing up."
"When I go to a different country, I find time to research and observe the fashion aesthetic of that place then go home and put my own take on it. The Juku and the Tokyo pants were inspired by my trip to Japan. I went to Morocco and I was inspired by people wearing robes and loose shirts so we made the Dean and the Marrakech robe."
"I don’t travel a lot but when I do, I make sure that I make something out of it. I travel to learn and experience new things."
What’s next for unif0rm?
"We are slowly spreading our wings in terms of merchandise and other materials. We just launched our handmade bags made of wooden beads. I want to add more merchandise for us to be able to give more jobs to people."
unif0rm's handmade Alphabet bag
"And I’m really excited about the unif0rm and Heyjow collaboration – I can’t wait for people to try the different looks we’ve come up with and discover a new way of dressing up!"
Visit unif0rm's website: www.unif0rm.com
Follow unif0rm: @unif0rm
Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)