Humans of the Islands - Eric Blanc
You recently had your designs featured in Vogue Italia – can you tell us how that opportunity came about?
VOGUE ITALIA was a dream come true, I remember having a meeting with Angela and I said to her “My ultimate dream is to one day be on VOGUE”, and she also had the same goal.
She proposed to me a concept shoot and I instantly fell in love with it and we started working to make it happen immediately.
The image that made it to VOGUE was a team effort. You see Angela Clarke in a custom Masiofo Tapa Blazer paired with a Black Organza Floor length skirt placed around her like water, styled with an epic braid by Alysia Harder (A1 braids) that was suspended in the air.
The set was styled by me and shot by Stewart Douglas, who submitted the images to a couple publications and was picked up by VOGUE Italia.
I remember being on holidays when Angela messaged me, and it didn’t hit me until the day after and till this day I am still in shock.
I am so proud of how far the collection has gone and my contribution to the pacific fashion industry on the global stage, showcasing what we are capable off and our talents.
MASIOFO was a limited couture collection in collaboration with Moreno Marcos that reflected my Polynesian heritage, a love letter to my mother and statement to showcase who I was as a designer.
What were the pathways that led you to what you’re doing now?
The pathway was a long, tough and Challenging. As an assistant stylist to creative director Sammy Salsa in 2010 there was a lot for me to learn and absorb, and that I did, but moving back to Brisbane Australia in 2012 there was no opportunities for a brown guy like me in the industry.
I decided to take a step back from the fashion industry to focus on rebuilding my brand, networks and relationships through the music industry working for Full Clip Radio. This process took me about 5 years and I’m so grateful and blessed I took the time to work on me, because what came after was nothing I was ever expecting to happen to me in such a short time frame.
In 2018 I decided to get back into fashion and started styling again working with local designers on product shoots, from couture, ready to wear and jewellery and from this I started to rebuild my portfolio.
In the years outside of the fashion industry I was also working on my personal brand which led me to another milestone in my career that boosted my public profile, which was my modelling campaign that I landed with Johnny Bigg in 2020.
In 2021 I became co-manager with Marina Davis working alongside New Zealand songstress Aja-Bree who had just stepped out from Tone6 and was working on her first single as a solo artist. In 2021 we released her first single “Old School Love” with a music video, which I also styled.
In 2021 I also released my debut collection MASIOFO in collaboration with Moreno Marcos, through a massive media campaign. I filmed an ad campaign and did and editorial shoot for the collection which went Viral on TIKTOK, Instagram and Facebook.
I also did a concept shoot in collaboration with international model Angela Clarke and the Images that were submitted by photographer Stewart Douglas reached the covers of Panache Magazine (NY) and Beauty Mute (Paris). To top it off one of the images made its way to VOGUE ITALIA ...
The formula for my pathway in a nutshell was Music + Styling + Modelling + Music = Designer.
The Moreno Marcos ad campaign & editorial below-
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My mother is my inspiration, she is why I was so curious about fashion and just seeing how stylish she was, back then I never really saw other polys dress like her.
I look back at her wedding gown and it always gives me chills at how beautiful she looked and stylish, so I guess my aesthetic is a depiction of my mothers, elegance, and poise with a modern twist and a touch of Eric Blanc.
How important is it to bring a Pasifika perspective to what you do?
I am Polynesian, so everything I do will have a Pasifika perspective, not all my collections, god wiling the opportunity to create others; will have a Polynesian element to it but I represent the pacific in everything I do and that is the perspective that I want the world to see our artistry, creativity, and individuality.
What has been the most challenging moment in your field and career?
I’ve had 5 years of hard work and sacrifice working on rebranding and networking, and then another 3 years making my name in the Fashion industry within Brisbane, I have given 8 years of my life to get what I have today, I’ve faced a lot of rejection, been told 'No' so many times, been overlooked and disregarded.
So the challenge were those 8 years and I give thanks to my family and friends for their support and believing in me and I thank God for giving me the strength to face the trials and not giving up, If I wasn’t passionate about what I do, this would not have been possible.
What has been one of your most rewarding moments?
The most rewarding moments have been the recognition, support, and the love I have received from our pacific community around the world and how proud they are of what I have accomplished, I see this as a win for us all.
What do you love most about being an islander today?
I love that we are a generation paving the way for our future generations, and I love that I am at the forefront of this change and rewriting the script on Polynesian excellence.
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