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Breaking barriers for Filipino fashion designers

Josie Go President and CEO KARIMADON
(Photo:formal dresses melbourne)

Josie Go has always been the fashionista that she is. She loves to dress up that she decided to make this passion of hers goes beyond personal, but into a professional and business undertaking.

Thus, the birth of KARIMADON, a fashion label that is now making the rounds in prestigious international fashion week shows, bringing the Filipino designer into the league of the world’s best.

The company

KARIMADON, the country’s trusted retail brand for more than 35 years, is a sought after brand for its distinctive style in ready to wear formal and casual wear.

KARIMADON is a family owned business that began in 1980 by couple Richard and Josie. They manufacture their entire line here in the Philippines.

Go, president and CEO of KARIMADON, disclosed that the brand name is actually an acronym of names from her family members, that’s why the letters are all in upper case.

KARIMADON stands for: KAren, Richard, MAuricia, DONdexter.

She also disclosed that the business started because of her fondness for dresses. She decided to make a business out of her passion in dressing up and shopping.

Today, KARIMADON has more than 30 distribution outlets all over the Philippines, with stores strategically located in major malls and department stores.

Though contented with the success of KARIMADON in its local operation, the patronage of visiting foreign nationals on their clothes line opened their eyes to expand distribution in other countries.

Its initial distribution to the neighboring Asian countries, like Jakarta in Indonesia, has been well received and is quickly getting its own loyal patronage.

This all-Filipino brand is best known for their reasonably priced items with a world-class elegance. KARIMADON boasts of fashionably easy-to-wear pieces with a snug fit that makes buyers feel like the items are tailor-made for their size.

KARIMADON has available dresses appropriate for any occasion — from smart casuals, daily corporate wear, after office cocktail to high fashion evening gowns.

KARIMADON understands the need of the women-on-the go. That is why their dresses are easy to care for – with not so delicate fabrics, but surely of great quality.

As an added service to their loyal customers, stand alone stores of KARIMADON provide alterations service in case adjustment is necessary.

And good news for those who want more, KARIMADON can also do special orders, so if you are interested to have a particular design made for your size.

Local designers

Go has only faith in the local designers.

“There is nothing wrong with our local designers, I believe they are very talented,” she adds.

“Our local designers now are very open to trying new styles and trends.”

Go cited the Filipino designers for being very innovative on the pieces that they design. At KARIMADON, Go holds competition among young aspiring designers to help them get exposure to the fashion industry.

Go is proud that she has an all-Filipino team of designers. They also maintain a medium size production team.

“I design together with our head designer Embi Nicolas, our team is proudly all-Filipino designers,” she adds.

Go primarily designs KARIMADON dresses and let her production team execute it.

Fashion shows

KARIMADON has participated successfully in various fashion shows here and abroad, breaking barriers for young and talented Filipino fashion designers.

In 2015, KARIMADON participated in the Fashion Convention organized by the Philippine Franchise Association in Indonesia and in Dubai.

Last March, KARIMADON participated at the Vancouver, Canada Fashion Week. That was the local label’s first fashion show overseas.

“It was a huge success. Everything went perfectly well at the Vancouver, Canada Fashion Week,” says Go, humbled by the experience.

For its first fashion show debut overseas, KARIMADON’s fashion show collections are a mixture of velour, faux fur materials and finely made flowy gowns in deep blue, burgundy, and blush color palette.

With the successful participation in Vancouver, Go said they have received several inquiries from interested buyers and distributors.

KARIMADON has also received another invitation from Vancouver, Canada Fashion Week to join their Fall/Winter 2017 collection after one of the organizers saw their pieces worn by fashion bloggers. KARIMADON is the first retail brand from the Philippines that was invited at such a prestigious fashion show.

But that’s just the tip the iceberg. KARIMADON was also invited by Fashion Gallery to participate in the New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018.


While there has been an influx of new fashion labels, Go says that its staying power has to do with its consistency and sensitivity to those who wear with their clothes.

“At KARIMADON, we don’t just follow trends but we make sure that anybody who wears our pieces would feel beautiful and confident. They get the items at affordable price but at the same time it is good quality and will not go out of trend,” says Go.

In fact, Go says that the saying, “In fashion, today you’re in, tomorrow you’re out” may not be necessarily true in the industry.

“This saying may be true for those who follow trends, but in KARIMADON styles that we produce remain classic and will never go out of trend, most importantly we continuously adapt to the demands of our target market,” says Go.

Go herself wears KARIMADON clothes and for which she always gets complimented.

KARIMADON refers its fashion pieces as “affordable luxury.” By this, Go means they make sure that is clothes are accessible to everybody who wants to feel beautiful and confident.

“We source our materials abroad, but 98 percent of our pieces are locally made,” she adds.

In the world of fashion though, Go agreed that one can never buy class.

“No matter how beautiful, expensive or luxurious your possessions are, it should reflect your personality and attitude towards other people,” says Go.

Through the years, Go believes that Filipinos have evolved and has started to become sophisticated and trendsetters wherever they are around the globe.

“We have embraced fashion in which we become more open in trying new styles,” she adds.


With several fashion retailers, local and foreign entering the market, the only thing that makes KARIMADON compete is its ability to please its customers.

“There are really a lot of competition in the market, but we make sure that we give the best customer satisfaction, so they come back,” she said.

Go did not give an exact amount as to how much the company has invested already, but suffice it to say that it has grown substantially because the company has been reinvesting its earnings. It is now employing more than 100 workers.

In the next five years, Go said KARIMADON will be accessible to everyone who wants to be fashionable as it sets its sights to expand further in the country even as it aggressively reach out for new markets overseas.

Despite running a business and enjoying the rewards that come with it, Go is also in the forefront of making the industry relevant to the times.

If there is anything that concerns Go in the world of fashion, it is about the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

“In the fashion industry, it is believed that it’s contributing a big percentage of trash in the world,” says Go.

Hence, she is calling for more studies on how to make the materials for fashion biodegradable and eco-friendly.


Her love for fashion and what is fashionable are the things that fuel her. Go cannot imagine herself working in another industry.

“My heart and passion is in the fashion industry,” she says.

This industry has taught her to never stop learning and evolving. She attributed her staying power to the focus that she puts into this business.

This is a fast-paced industry and being ahead of your competition is one of the challenges every retailer should work for.

Despite these challenges, Go said that the KARIMADON family share the business with employees. The company always treats employees as friends and family.

“They can approach me for their concern and request. That being said I can also say that I am very hands on with the company. Even if the company has grown, I still keep my feet on the ground,” adds Go, who spends her spare time traveling with family and friends.

Go has been in the business long enough to be one of the luminaries of women apparel.

Her passion, we can say, is what makes the business sustainable. Without it, KARIMADON will not be where it is today – standing tall amid a sea of new fashion labels.Read more at:formal dresses adelaide

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