A former student at the University of the Philippines, where he joined the Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity, Moreno is one of the earliest advocates of the Maria Clara gown. Moreno was the president of the Philippine Couture Association, the very first association of fashion designers in Manila, Philippines.
Moreno was the costume designer for the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company. His fashion designs were exhibited at the World’s Fair in Seattle, Washington and New York City. His fashion designs appeared on the pages of fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Holiday, and Le Figaro, where Moreno introduced the words jusi, piña and lepanto to world fashion.
Prominent people who were adorned by Moreno's beadwork, embroidery and hand-paintings include:
- the First Ladies of the Philippines
- Nancy Reagan
- Pat Nixon
- Betty Ford
- Queen Sirikit of Thailand
- Queen Margarretta of Bulgaria
- Queen Sophia of Greece
- Princess Margaret of Britain
- the Marquesa de Villaverde
- María del Carmen Martínez-Bordiú y Franco
- Princess Suga of Japan
- Cristina Ford (second wife of Henry Ford II)
- Margot Fonteyn
- Deeda Blair (Catherine "Deeda" Gerlach, wife of William McCormick Blair, Jr.).
In 2009, upon Moreno's declaration as a National Artist for Fashion Design by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was met with protest by other National Artists, such as Bienvenido Lumbera (National Artist for Literature), saying his category of Fashion Design was not yet an accepted art form and his craft was simply dressmaking and not art. The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the conferment of the National Artist award to Moreno and six other recommendees, which remains unlifted as of this writing.
- The Fashion Czar Of Asia is how the world press calls Jose “Pitoy” Moreno, showcase.eyp.ph
- Ybiernas, Nonoi D. Pitoy Moreno: A National Treasure, The News Today Online Edition, Iloilo City, thenewstoday.info, November 14, 2008
- The Designer as Author, showcase.eyp.ph