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Interview with Philippine designer Willar Mateo of Salad Day

Friday 11 March 2016

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Words Alice Bell

Salad Day, founded  by creative Willar Mateo, is a fashion brand which conveys “a dancing unicorn, cloud hoping teenager, a succulent ice cream twirling, magical moon running and always having a young heart”. After discovering Willar on Instagram, Heather Spindle caught up with the super creative Philippine designer.

I found you on instagram….how has social media helped your brand with global exposure?

Thank you! you found me! It helps me a lot. I think, this is a door that opens for me to see the world that I have something to offer. It helps me to communicate with fellow unicorn racers and card captor sakura lovers.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 16.03.17

Salad Day is a great name – it’s also an old Shakespearean Pun – is that why you chose Salad Day??

Nah!!… It was my high school phrase back then. When I discover something new or something interesting, or I did something great, I call it a SALAD DAY.  It was like wow! I organised my closet and found some hidden things that I forgot to use, It’s a Salad Day for me!..And that’s how I came up with it.

For those who are unfamiliar with your brand, give us a back story, how long have you been going for, and how did it all begin?

 I’ve been designing since I was in high school then when I finished college, I built the brand Salad Day, the launch of my  first collection was summer of 2012.


How important is music for you? Both as inspiration when designing, and with gifting and celebrity placement?

(on gifting) I did it once! When Grimes was here in the Philippines, and she wore it in the meet and greet session…it was so magical to me! I was like “YEAH!!” You know! 😉

(on music) Very important. I always love making playlists.

What are your top 5 favourite songs at the moment?

1. 30s – Stockholm Syndrome ft ZOEE

2. Wallace- Azealia Banks

3. Sevdeliza – The Valley

4. Nao A.K Paul – So Good

5. Murlo- Boiler Room London DJ Set

How important is gifting your clothing to musicians and celebrities? 

One of my dreams is for an artist to wear my clothes in a music video. I will be VERY happy if Azealia Banks, Kyary Pamyu, Pamyu  or Grimes will wear it to my their music video! (insert love emoji here) 

Who is THE ultimate Salad Day consumer?

My consumer is 40% unicorn lover, 20% prince/princess, 30% internet freaks and 10% stupid

Tell me about your creative process – how do you get your ideas and make them to reality?

I don’t do the traditional creative process (sketching, getting the right material, and executing it) I will search for fabric that  fall in love with. Then I will make something out of them after, then put something that I hoard in my studio…or I will choose a material that I really hate then craft it to death until I like it!

Tell us more about how your clothing is produced? Is it all produced in the Philippines? 

Yes. I produce it by myself. I don’t have a regular job. I’m a full time designer of my own brand, but sometimes, I hire my friend or a sewer to help me finish the garments. 

Tell us more about your background, did you study fashion in the Philippines?

I took Apparel and Fashion Technology and took another course which is industrial management, then I did an internship in a  local shop and for a designer here in Manila.


Where’s your favourite place to relax in Manila?

In Today x Future, it’s a local bar here in the metro located at Cubao Quezon City

If we were visiting the island – where should we go?

You should go to Palawan, Coron, Puerto Galera, and in Cebu! I’m sure you will enjoy it!

What’s your political stance, and how does this influence your designs?

I don’t like politics. It always get ugly but really like the LGBT rights in the society coz I’m one of them.

Philippines, as the western world sees, is known for being poverty stricken, do you feel as a creative that having intense areas of rich and poor gives you more inspiration? 

If you’re creative, you are creative. If you’re talented, you are talented. it’s not the matter of where you came from but it’s a matter of doing it. Inspiration can come everywhere the question is, how can you be inspired? 🙂

Who are your favourite designers?

I love Christopher Kane, J.W Anderson and those small business on Instagram that I follow.

Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane

What artists inspire you?

My local artist friends! I really love them! Jeona Zoleta– I can really relate at his works! Dex Fernandez, Tokwa  and JC Penaflorida, and I really like Yeo Kaa!



How has the internet aided, or hindered your creativity? 

The internet aided me to do better. My creativity is not what I searched then make something out of it. My creativity and process is a freedom oriented. My hands aided me to execute my ideas.

What’s next for the brand?

Sparkle and metallics! I’m currently working on a hand craft print here in my studio!

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What advice would you give to any budding designers?

My advice is to exercise and practice your skills and talent. For me, sketching and giving it to a sewer is not enough. It’s like working out, if isn’t hurting you, you’re not doing it right, and eat a lot of Oreo’s it’s super good! hahaha!

Salad Day has kindly offered Spindle Readers 20% discount,all you have to do is enter the code: spindlingsalad when you check out. Offer ends 31st March 2016.