All designers dream big — it is, after all, part of the job description. But for Rafé Totengco, the creative brain behind beloved handbag label Rafe, that is especially true. While growing up in Bacolod City in the Philippines, the industrious young Totengco began modifying his boring school uniforms and it wasn’t long before he had his own little business without any formal fashion training at just eighteen. After graduating from New York’s prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology, Totengco set out on his own with a smart eponymous collection combining downtown edge with uptown sophistication. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Rafe is known and coveted the world over by discerning fashionistas and not surprisingly Totengco seems to keep racking up the accolades left and right.
We recently chatted with the talented designer about all his habits from avoiding work e-mails on the weekends to his love of social media.
What’s the one habit you have that changed your life for the better?
I have a rule not to read work emails on weekends so that I come in on Mondays all fresh and ready for the week ahead.
What’s the one habit you have that’s not so great?
I like to say that I’m a social networking enthusiast but seriously, I need to curb my enthusiasm.
What’s your naughtiest habit?
Some things are better left unsaid. LOL!
What’s your secret (or not-so) style habit?
I have a weakness for printed shirts and every season I add a few pieces to my ever growing collection. One day I’ll turn them into a quilt!
What’s a habit you wish you had?
I should work out more regularly.
What three habits should every guy adopt?
Do something romantic randomly.
Cry every once in a while.
Learn how to admit to a mistake and apologize gracefully.
What three habits should every guy break?
Talking about money in public.
Checking out other people while on a date.
Texting during a meal.