Rajo Laurel

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In this Philippine name, the middle name or maternal family name is Teves and the surname or paternal family name is Laurel.
Rajo Laurel
Rajo Laurel 1.jpg
Born Raymund Joseph Teves Laurel
(1971-05-19) May 19, 1971 (age 45)
Residence Rockwell, Makati City
Citizenship Filipino
Occupation Fashion designer
Years active 1993 – present
Organization Rajo Laurel Enterprises
Laurel et Ross
House of Laurel
Relatives Jose P. Laurel (great grandfather) Denise Laurel (cousin)
Website www.rajolaurel.com

Raymund Joseph "Rajo" Teves Laurel (born May 19, 1971) is a fashion designer in Manila, Philippines. He began his professional career in 1993, holding his first international exhibition the following year. In 2000 Rajo Laurel founded House of Laurel with his sister. A winner of a number of national and international awards over the course of his career, Laurel is best known as a television personality as a judge on Project Runway Philippines. He has designed dresses worn by notable international clients, including Tyra Banks, Maja Salvador, Natalia Zakharova, Kylie Verzosa, and Dayanara Torres.


On his mother's side, Rajo Laurel is the grandson of former Congressman and Negros Oriental Governor Herminio Guivelondo "Meniong" Teves and nephew of former Finance Secretary Margarito Gary B. Teves. On his father's side, he is the great grandson of Philippine president Jose P. Laurel and the son of former Batangas Governor and current Ambassador to Japan José C. Laurel V.[2]

Early years and education[edit]

Rajo told the Wall Street Journal in a 2015 interview that by the age of eleven he knew he wanted to be a fashion designer. "I was a very rambunctious child full of energy. I had an epiphany quite early in my life. I was part of The King and I, a local production. I was six at the time, and mesmerized by the power of costumes. With clothes, you literally could be a normal person and become a king, just like that. I was very lucky, because my grandmother founded a repertory theatre in the Philippines. I also remember vividly how she instructed her seamstresses to make tea towels, maids’ uniforms and day dresses. One day, I said 'Lola, no, no, you should design it this way.' That was my very first business transaction, and she paid me 10 pesos."[2]

Rajo Laurel attended De La Salle Santiago Zobel School in Muntinlupa City. He states that a major early fashion influence was designer Louie Mamengo, whom he apprenticed with while studying at De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde, at the start of his career. He credits Mamengo with being his first design mentor.[1][3]


As the first-born son of a prominent political family, Rajo was under enormous pressure to enter politics. Instead he pursued his dream of becoming a couturier. Laurel started his fashion line in 1993 with one seamstress, designing clothes in a friend's basement.[2] "Eventually," he recounted in an interview, "I had 25, and then I couldn’t handle things anymore. I was marketing and purchasing. I was the accountant, designer, recruiter and quality control manager. Five years later, I asked my sister to join me."[2]

House of Laurel[edit]

In 2000, Rajo Laurel and his sister Venisse Laurel-Hermano co-founded House of Laurel, a boutique fashion house in Makati City. "I see it as a specialty boutique because we offer limited pieces per style," Laurel said. The boutique offers both couture as well as ready-to-wear apparel. "Made-to-order couture" is what Laurel prefers to call his couture line. Each piece is referred to as a "mission" dress that is designed to create a lasting impression, although is worn probably once or twice in a lifetime.[4] "Designer Ready-to-Wear" is how he describes his off-the-rack line.[5]

Since then Laurel's business has expanded from couture to include staff uniforms for casinos, resorts and hotels. The Rajo Laurel Group of Companies brought in US$1.7 million in revenue in 2014.[2]

Rajo Laurel's clients include the Filipino presidents, celebrities and movie stars,[2] and he has designed dresses worn by notable international clients, including Tyra Banks, Maja Salvador, Natalia Zakharova, Kylie Verzosa, and Dayanara Torres.[6]

Besides Laurel's own fashions, House of Laurel showcases the work of other designers, and has featured the work of Puey Quiñones, Charina Sarte, Eric de los Santos, Bea Valdes, and Rhett Eala.[4]

Galas, exhibitions, and collections[edit]

Laurel's notable galas and exhibitions include his 2001 Optical Illusions show which introduced Philippine fashion consciousness to the avant-garde, and his 2004 Habi show, held at the residence of the British Ambassador to the Philippines, showcasing Philippine textiles.[4]

Group shows and exhibitions include the Philippine Centennial Show (Sydney, 1997), Saks Fifth Avenue Bridal Exhibition (New York, 2001) and the Ties That Bind; Shanghai-Philippines Expositions (Shanghai, 2003).[4]

In 2004 and 2005, Laurel was chosen to represent the Philippines in the KL Fashion Week held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Following that, he was commissioned to design for companies and brands that include Coke Light, The Net One Group, the Professional Models Association of the Philippines, and Bali Fashion Week.[4]

The Alliance Française de Manille's Five Senses Fashion Show in June 2007 featured 10 Filipino designers interpretations of French perfumes. Laurel's Odore di Feminina or "Scent of a Woman" couture line showcased models garbed in strapless white frocks, as well as Sabrina or mock turtleneck collars with uneven, scalloped hemlines. The embroidery and appliques, the focal points of his designs, were patterned after the petals of flowers used in the perfume.[4]

Year Event Location
2008 Rajo RED – 15th Anniversary Gala[7] Shangri-la Hotel, Makati City, Metro Manila
Globe Platinum Show[7] Shangri-la Hotel, Makati City, Metro Manila
2007 Bali Fashion Week[7] Bali, Indonesia
2006 Ayala Land Residence[7] Greenbelt 3, Makati City, Metro Manila
BMW: Black, White and Red[7] BMW Tent, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila
2005 Habi[7] British Embassy, Manila
Philippine International Aid Fashion Show San Francisco
2004 Young Presidents Organization Gala[7] Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Metro Manila
2003 Traje de Boda[7] Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel, Pasay, Metro Manila
Ties That Bind; Shanghai-Philippines Expositions[7] Shanghai
2002 Four Seasons Bridal Fair[7] Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City
2001 Saks Fifth Avenue Bridal Exhibition[7] New York City
Optical Illusions[7] NBC Tent, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila
Rajo '01 Book Launch[7] Alliance Française de Manille Building, Makati City, Metro Manila
2000 Real Brides by Rajo Laurel[7] Hotel Intercontinental, Makati City, Metro Manila
1999 The Leaf[7] Hotel Intercontinental, Makati City, Metro Manila
1998 Philippine Centennial Show[7] Sydney, Australia
1997 ASYA[7] GSIS Building, Makati City, Metro Manila

Television appearances[edit]

The judges of Project Runway Philippines. Rajo Laurel at left.

Rajo Laurel guested on the May 15, 2007 episode of Philippines' Next Top Model, holding a mock go-see for the contestants. The following year he appeared on seasons 1 and 2 of Project Runway Philippines as part of the judging panel, between July 2008 and December 2009.[8] He is scheduled to appear as a judge on season 3.[9]

Philanthropy/Charitable collaborations[edit]

In 2007 Laurel partnered with Rags2Riches,a project that creates income opportunities and financial security for impoverished women by producing handmade bags, accessories and clothing made from discarded fabric for the collections of House of Laurel[2] and other retailers across the Philippines.[10] Income levels of the women have risen tremendously.[10] Laurel’s collaboration with Rags2Riches made $22,000 in its first year; sales are estimated to be $350,000 in 2015.[2]


Year Award Organization
2010 Asian Top Fashion Designer of the Year (Prêt-à-Porter Category) FashionAsia AFMA China[7][8]
2009 The Outstanding Young Men Award Philippine Jaycees[7]
2008 People of the Year Award People Asia Magazine[7]
2008 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year Ernst and Young[7]
1998 Favorite Designer (Editor's Choice Award) The Loop[7]
1997 “Makuhari Grand Prix‘97” Asia Collection[7]
1996 ASEAN Special Award (Tokyo) ASEAN[7]
1995 Most Promising Designer of the Year [7]
1994 Young Designer of the Year Air France[7]
1993 Smirnoff Fashion Design Awards, 2nd Place Smirnoff[7]
1993 ASEAN Young Designers Competition, 2nd Place ASEAN[7]


  1. ^ a b Laurel, Rajo (October 20, 2011). "My DLSU Talk". Rajo's Blog. stylebible.ph. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Gopalan, Divya; Messmer, Lukas (August 21, 2015). "Entrepreneur Rajo Laurel Builds a Fashion Empire in the Philippines". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 7, 2017. 
  3. ^ Enriquez, Marge (May 13, 2011). "Fashion Week unveils Louie Mamengo's last collection". http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/. Philippine Inquirer. Retrieved February 17, 2012.  External link in |work= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d e f King, Regine (June 2007). "The house that Rajo built". Metro. ABS-CBN Publishing. 
  5. ^ Andaya, Isha (July 2005). "The house that Rajo built". Preview. Summit Media. 
  6. ^ Sison, Steph (January 30, 2017). "5 Celebrities Who Have Worn Rajo Laurel's Pintados Gowns". Preview Magazine. Retrieved February 6, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Asian Top Fashion Designer of the Year (Prêt-à-Porter Category)". www.asiantrend.asia. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Website of Rajo Laurel". www.rajolaurel.com. Retrieved August 10, 2011. 
  9. ^ Losorata, Yugel (September 10, 2011). "'Project Runway Philippines' auditions hit final leg; 14 slots await". www.mb.com.ph. Manila Bulletin. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Schwartz, Ariel (August 10, 2011). "Rags2Riches Empowers Impoverished Women to Turn Recycled Scrap into Haute Couture". Fast Company. Retrieved February 7, 2017.