How A Filipino Retailer Made It To A List of Global Fashion Shapers
On the list, Filipino retailer Mark “Jappy” Gonzalez takes a spot as one of fashion’s biggest names and players, joining the likes of Dries Van Noten, Rei Kawakubo, and Jil Sander—the very designers his stores stock.
When asked about his induction, Gonzalez says, “The BoF 500 is the only list that credits all facets of the fashion industry. Not only that I am honored to have been included, but also chosen among thousands belonging in this industry worldwide. I would liken my feeling
Gonzalez is known in industry circles as the founder of luxury retailer H&F Retail Concepts Inc., the head company of retail stores Univers, Homme et Femme, and Hoodwink. The fashion retailer has continually supplied Manila’s fashion set with a directional array of labels, most recently Vetements and Off-White, which have defined his creative aesthetic. “[Directional brands] represent what is beyond the realm of any boundaries,” Gonzalez continues, “[it] pre-sets my common notions [and] breaks through these barriers.”
Gonzalez's "vision flagship" Univers
When asked to recount his career highlights, Gonzalez remembers the opening of the first Homme et Femme location in 1996, acquiring the country’s Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons, Fred Perry, and Y-3 franchises, and opening what he calls his “vision flagship,” Univers.
“It was a big risk in the sense that we were transforming from a fashion store into a lifestyle retail presence. A gamble that has proven to be well received. So much so that we see others following our footsteps—much to our honor.” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez was honored last September 9 at The #BOF500 Gala. The fifth annual gala dinner took place at New York’s SoHo Public Hotel and welcomed names such as Selena Gomez, Jared Leto, Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Carine Roitfeld, Lazaro Hernandez, and Jack McCollough.
While Gonzalez is the first Manila-based Filipino to be inducted, he is also joined by Vogue Australia fashion director Christine Centenera. In the past, blogger Bryan Yambao of Bryanboy took a spot in 2013 and V Magazine's editor-in-chief Stephen Gan was added to BoF’s Hall of Fame, their highest honor.
When asked about the future, the retail executive muses, "Let's see. I like playing this game of chance."