(The WAGW Ambassadors of Style Launch)

I have always considered myself a lover of fashion. Back when I was in high school, my mom owned a boutique (one of the few in the city at that time), so my sister and I always donned the latest clothing styles. I remember being a fan of Pops Fernandez’s fashion sense, and so, every time she came out on Penthouse Live!, I’d take note of her dress and my mom would ask our “mananahi”  (tailor/seamstress) to make one for me.

My mom has long gone to the other world, and so has the boutique. Nowadays, my sister and I no longer wear matching fashionable outfits. But at 44 years old, I still consider myself quite into fashion. So when Bigseed Media and Marketing Solutions’ Jaja Chiongbian Rama and Vanessa Deen Araneta sent me an invitation to the launch of What A Girl Wants’ Centrio store, I couldn’t contain my happiness. I finally had the chance to reconnect with an important part of my past!

What A Girl Wants at Ayala's Centrio Mall
What A Girl Wants at Ayala’s Centrio Mall

The main reason for my excitement, however, was WAGW’s announcement that simultaneous with the opening of their second store in CDO, they will be introducing three young Kagay-anons who were chosen as the Ambassadors of Style. Essa Santos, Angela Fortich, and Adlai Rivera were handpicked because they embody the style, substance, and youthful experience that WAGW highly values.

An AB Philosophy graduate, 22-year old Maria Teresa Angela “Essa” Santos is more than just a pretty face. I first met her as one of the lovely hosts of the Saturday trivia night where my friends and I are regulars. Essa is full of life; she’s fun and energetic. A large part of this is because she considers herself a fitness enthusiast – she loves working out! Currently working as a marketing associate in Cebu, Essa is a book, music, and art lover who prefers to mix timeless and simple pieces with the genuine and romantic.

Always armed with a ready smile for everyone, Essa exudes just the right amount of confidence, which makes her glow beautifully. Her vibrant personality is one of the reasons why she is worthy of being called a fashion ambassador.

Essa Santos and Angela Fortich
Essa Santos and Angela Fortich

Angela Ma. Eldora Fortich loves everything that life has to offer: adventures, nature, and long conversations over delicious food. And (I’m not blowing my own trumpet here!) I’m proud to say she’s my cousin! Anyway, the first time you meet her, you will find Angela quite shy, and even reserved. Once you get to know her; once she smiles and speaks, you’ll discover that this young lady is approachable, thoughtful, caring, and considerate. She’s a person with a pure heart.

Aside from the mountains and beaches, Angela also loves fashion. She knows fashion, and this is clear in how she is able to comfortably mix different styles in a snap. One day, she can be fun and flirty; the next day, you’ll see her poised and dressed up in adorably chic fashion. Give her 30 minutes to raid your closet and she’ll be able to come up with several mix and matches of fashionable get-ups for you! Yes, fashion comes naturally for this 22-year old as she believes that dressing up should be fun and have no limits. She is living proof that “No matter how high the heel, (one should) never forget to place (her) your feet firmly on the ground.”

Adlai and Essa on WAGW Centrio's display window.
Adlai and Essa on WAGW Centrio’s display window.

The lone male in the group, Adlai Marcel Rivera is a big lover of everything outdoorsy. A sports aficionado who plays soccer, this good looking, prejudice-free 22-year old also has culinary skills anyone should be envious about. Perfect combination for somebody who has great expectations of himself, don’t you think so?

What makes Adlai stand out, however, is his personal fashion sense: he prefers the comfortable and preppy his off-the-field wear. On regular (and relaxing) days, though, you’ll find this young fashion ambassador wearing his favorite get-up – fashionable statement shirts, tapered shorts, and slip-on shoes. Adlai’s cheerful disposition is perfect for What A Girl Wants for Her Man’s mix of style and comfort.

What A Girl Wants...
What A Girl Wants…

Essa, Angela, and Adlai donned WAGW’s holiday collection when they were introduced to the public last November 24. As mentioned earlier, I got an invite, so I was lucky to have experienced their debut as fashion ambassadors. They stood before me – before us – stunning and unbelievably gorgeous in their beautifully designed clothes. WAGW’s “ornate grunge” holiday collection is inspired by oriental high-build embroideries, opulent fabric, and immensely decorative details. Creative Director Kryz Uy emphasized that the collection makes the wearer feel luxurious and elegant “with rawness and distressed modernity”. She further said that it gave the wearer “a sense of refinement, excessiveness, and class with today’s edge and sense of self-power”.

Kryz Uy introduces the Young Ambassadors of Style.
Kryz Uy introduces the Young Ambassadors of Style.

What A Girl Wants started as a small kiosk in Cebu back in 2004. Its success is a result of the passion and vision of sisters Kryz, Jacklyn, and founder Diane Uy-Ang. By 2013, WAGW will have a total of 10 branches – all catering to the vibrant, edgy, fashion conscious 18 to 30-year olds (boys and girls). With the launch of the Young Ambassadors of Style, which will now be an annual event, What A Girl Wants is slowly establishing itself as a n authority in the constantly changing fashion scene.

As Cagayan de Oro’s Young Ambassadors of Style captured the spotlight that Saturday afternoon, I found myself thinking of the past: of the time when I was young like them and being fashionable was almost an obsession. I may not have been a fashion ambassador in my younger days – and I may never be one now or in the future – but Essa, Angela, and Adlai showed me that fashion is personal; that I do not have to be somebody popular or rich to be “in vogue”. So, yes, I am proud to say that I am fashionable – because I am confident and comfortable with who I am.

My loot!
My loot!

What A Girl Wants’ second store in Cagayan de Oro is located at the 2nd level of Centrio Mall. It is open from 10am to 9pm daily. New arrivals are delivered every Friday, so you are guaranteed fresh fashionable finds each week. You may also want to check out their other branches: one at LimKetKai Mall CDO, Ayala Center Cebu, SM Cebu, SM Consolacion, and Abreeza Mall in Davao. WAGW collections can also be found at The Ramp Crossings in Trinoma, Shang, and Glorietta. If you prefer to shop online, head on to www.shopwagw.com/ or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WAGWOnline.

Happy shopping, fashionable Kagay-anons!

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