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The futuristic dreaming of modern brands


Feb 16, 2023


Corinne Myers

Dream-like segments, combining fashion, tech, and nature, build a surreal, playful world in Paulina Almira’s work. Coming from the Philippines and having lived in New York, Paulina’s unique perspective feeds into her work; somehow bringing together polarising themes, like horror and the pink, glittery bright lights of iconic pop culture — into her own brand of retro-futurism.

We’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with Paulina for a piece on our new website this year. We’d been following her closely for some time checking out some amazing brand collaborations she’s done. We wanted to chat with her outside of daily project work, to get to know her more and hear about her inspiration and processes.

Tell us about your background and beginnings?

I’m from Manila in the Philippines, but I studied fashion at Parsons (The New School for Fashion) in New York. Right when I graduated the pandemic hit, so there were no jobs in fashion. I went back home and while I was thinking about what to do next I decided to illustrate something every day. I knew how to use Adobe from college, so worked that way.

That moment in time was a struggle, as I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I kept posting my illustrations to Instagram and eventually people started following me. I got quite a big following and brands started to get in touch about working together and I started doing some work with them.

I’d been following H+ Creative agency (@hplus_creative on Instagram) in LA, who represent visual media artists, and always wanted to get in touch. One day I woke up and they’d sent me a message saying they wanted to represent me. It was an incredible day for me!

Where did your journey into the creative world start?

I’ve always been artistic and always been interested in drawing I had a bunch of favourite colours that I used through school and was always a very visual thinker. It’s always been easy for me to take a conversation or decode complex concepts, by making it visual. I write it down and draw a diagram. That’s how I think. I draw.

I was also always interested in fashion. I was always picky about my clothes, since childhood. My family knew my future was going to be something related to fashion. I’ve found a happy intersection between fashion and art. Right now the majority of my clients are in the fashion industry.

What were your early influences, as well as fashion?

I got interested in and love horror movies and morbid literature. I got into Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and horror fiction in general. I really enjoyed the dark fantasy world, but then also loved Brats Dolls and the colour pink. So when I started to illustrate every day, I realised I could combine the two areas that are seen as irreconcilable.

How did being from Manila in early life, then living in New York later on influence your work? If at all?

I’ve always been interested in the same things my whole life. But I went to live in the US for fashion school. And at that point, fashion became an even bigger influence on me. I got used to drawing clothes and figures. I learned sketching techniques and drawing fabrics that definitely feed into my work now.

Now we have to ask, which fashion brands do you love?

Has to be Loewe and Maison Margiella.

Which brands have you enjoyed working with the most?

Nike has to be up there — as I’d always wanted to work with them. It was a really fun project, I could choose which two pairs of shoes to draw and they were really open about my approach and approved the work as soon as they got it. So that turned out to actually be a quick one.

Then the Adidas X Disney collaboration has to be in there. This project was HUGE. They asked me to do 5 illustrations, as part of the new shoes they were launching, which were an Alice in London Cheshire Cat trainer. It went smoothly considering the complexity of the illustrations. The team was understandably very particular about conveying the Alice in Wonderland world, then within the parameter the illustrations had to be very detailed. It was a big-scale, challenging project but very fulfilling.

Lastly, what does a perfect day look like to you?

The perfect day for me would be spent at the beach.

Since I was a child, I’ve woken up at the crack of dawn. I still find myself waking up at 5 or 6am. I’m a morning person, always have been, and I only get 4-5 hours of sleep a night.

So, I’d wake up at the crack of dawn and have a coffee, a good breakfast, which would have to include carbs, protein, and dessert. I’d spend the whole day at the beach, with music and free-flowing food and alcohol.

I’d go with my best friends or family. In the evening when the sun has set, I’d get changed and put on a nice outfit, go for a really nice dinner and cocktails.

Now we need to know what your favourite beach is?

In the Philippines, there are 7000 islands with beautiful beaches, so it would definitely be one of those. There are so many to choose from, but my favourite is in Palawan, with white sand and crystal-clear water.