She’s More Than A Pretty Face

by Jonquil Dun

“Although I never really grew up in Marawi, I have been relatively exposed to our culture. I was born in Manila and I currently live in Cagayan de Oro. I trained K-Beauty in Gwangju University, South Korea last 2017. I am a member of the Korea Make-up Artist Association. After several months, I went to study fashion design in Indonesia for a couple of years. It has been my life long dream to pursue a career in fashion and Alhamdulillah I finished it last year 2020, although our graduation was delayed to 2021 because of the pandemic. I am eager to specialize in Bridal Fashion for my MCYG brand and perhaps a separate modest ready to wear brand as well in the future.”– Sasha

At first look, you’d think she is a member of a K-Pop girl band because of her features, but Sittie Sarah Macauyag, or Sasha as her friends call her, is a pure-blood Filipina of Moro roots. She’s an internationally-trained make-up artist, a Mass Communication grad, and a fashion designer, and on top of that, she has a good head on her shoulders!

Let’s take get to know a glimpse about her in this short interview.

In your IG handle, we read that you are a designer and make-up artist as well. Which do you enjoy the most? And which one defines Sasha more?

“I take much delight in being a fashion designer more than being a make-up artist but it is both something I am very passionate about. That being said, make-up artistry also plays a crucial role in the path I am headed for with fashion design.”

Please tell us about your Fashion education? You studied in Italy, is that correct? Please share with us the experience and what is the most important things you learned from them?

“I went to study in Jakarta, Indonesia. My school, Istituto di Moda Burgo Italia is an International Italian fashion school that has many branches globally where they also strictly follow the Italian fashion system. I personally chose to study in their Jakarta campus because I wanted to be in a Muslim community where I can incorporate the Italian standard without risking my faith. Moreover, we have Muslim fashion instructors that I can consult every time we create a collection. Supposedly, I was going to take the dual city program the school offers, to finalize our portfolio in Milan, Italy for our graduation last year but with how the pandemic has greatly affected Italy last year, it prevented my batch mates and I to push through. The most important factor in producing Italian fashion clothes would be the fit of the garment, attention to detail and intricate designs which really take a lot of effort to master.”

Please tell us about your brand. What is your brand’s aesthetics and philosophy?

“MCYG was created in hopes of filling the gaps in the Philippine market, which is apparently modest fashion. It has come to my attention that the availability of quality and stylish clothes for Muslim women is scarce. In addition to that, there is only a handful of Muslim designers who can accommodate Muslim clients. Because of that, I decided my brand caters to what the market needs, as of writing, modest clothes. MCYG will focus on modest bridal and high-fashion clothes. My brand image is feminine, romantic, elegant & classy. My brand aesthetic will center on flowy fabrics, feminine color palette & silhouette, hand beaded & embroidered patterns.”

When did you learn your love for fashion?

“I would say at 7, I already subconsciously developed a love for art and beautiful dresses. I was a small child who sketches a lot. I also did painting and basic sculpting back in third grade. It then evolved from there. I mix and match my outfits while I was still in middle school, I would help my mom and sisters pick clothes when shopping. Fast forward to high school, I started sketching dresses for my mom and some relatives till it became a passion over time.”

Who are your greatest influences (in fashion or arts)?

“My mom has helped me a lot in pursuing fashion. Although it was never my parents’ intention to put me in fashion school, they were the first ones to buy me art stuff as a kid, enrolled me in art camps, and would compliment & frame my artwork. I would like to add my grandmothers, my paternal grandmother who loves sewing, and my maternal grandmother who likes sparkly dresses.”

Sasha (second from right) during a fashion festival in Indonesia (Photo by Sasha)

Given your track record of having stayed in several places, of all the countries you have stayed in, which one is your favorite?

“Each country has its own uniqueness I was enticed with. I loved South Korea for its climate and clean surrounding. The Koreans are very punctual and diligent people which kind of influenced some of my habits. Malaysia and Singapore are also really tidy and sustainable countries. I commend both Malaysians and Singaporeans for being English speakers and tourist-friendly. Indonesia is also close to my heart aside from the fact that I have lived there alone for quite some time, Indonesia is somewhat significant to me cause the experience felt like I was in the Philippines but bigger and Muslim dominated albeit not many can fluently speak English, that’s why I kind of had a hard time adjusting in the beginning. Thankfully, some Maranao terms were derived from Bahasa so I adapted and made friends soon enough. I love how diverse the culture in Indonesia is, despite it being Muslim-dominant, Indonesians were broad-minded and tolerant of differences. My stay in Jakarta all throughout has been an eye opener I will forever cherish.”

What do you think should modest fashion movements in the Philippines do to be more effective in their campaign?

“I would highly suggest organizing a separate seasonal or annual modest/Muslim fashion show/trade show/ for exposure and to highlight what modest fashion is all about. Gather active community members like designers, stylists, artists, VIPs, influencers, and celebrities that can help in coordinating significant events and marketing those. Also picking a board of directors with huge connections that can responsibly do the job and who knows very well how to initiate these affairs.”

Other than fashion design, and make-up, what else did Shamcy study or do?

“I took up a Mass Communications major in Journalism before I proceeded to Fashion Design. I also took Speech & Communication courses every summer. In my K-Beauty Training, we were also certified in skin care, cosmetic making, hairstyling, nail art, tattoo artistry, and depilation.”

A model wearing Shamcy’s design

What are your fashion/wardrobe staples? What is your top fashion advice for modest women?

“I am obsessed with layering. I like to wear inner and outer garments because it gives me the freedom to mix and match whenever I feel like color-blocking, toning down a bit, or shifting from one style to another. My only advice would be, to be as fashionable as you like but abide by the conditions stipulated in the book. Never compromise your faith with your style because being modest does not mean you are deprived of your sense of creativity.”

Your definition of modest fashion?

“First of all, I want to clarify that Islamic or Muslim fashion is not the same as Modest fashion. These are two different categories but complement each other. Modest fashion is dressing in a less revealing way that doesn’t literally symbolize or represent a religion. Islamic fashion can be modest but modest fashion isn’t always necessarily Islamic. Modest fashion could be wearing long but slightly fitted clothes. And do take note that fitted is also different from tight.”

Sasha’s MYCG is something to root out for. Follow her on Instagram for updates.


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