Q+A WITH RISING DESIGN STAR ARVIN OLANO
Instagram can be a magical place for making creative connections. My friendship with Arvin Olano is an excellent example of that. Arvin is incredibly supportive, friendly, and oh so stylish in both fashion and interiors. He has been a supporter of LES Collection from early on. Some people you can tell right away have an abundance mindset and thrive on supporting others, whether that benefits them or not. That is Arvin. I was immediately drawn to that attitude, along with his funky style that effortlessly mixes contemporary and vintage, all in soothing shades of neutral. In addition to his excellent style, Arvin is mastering the content creation game with a successful YouTube channel, gorgeous Instagram content, and a brand new website. I am thrilled to feature Arvin on our digital journal. Read on for a Q+A covering all things creative, design, and fashion!
Describe your style in a few words:
Collected, refined, and inviting. I think of it rather like a conversation, simultaneously referential to the past yet looking toward the future.
How has your style evolved over time?
In the beginning, I limited myself by only shopping in big box stores. I was afraid to invest in my home because I feared making mistakes, then having those errors in judgment staring me in the face forever.
My partner and I went to the Proper Hotel in Santa Monica for a weekend getaway a while back. When I entered the hotel, I felt an instant emotional connection to Kelly Wearstler's world of design. Once I saw how creatively vintage furniture could be blended into such a modern setting, it had me rethink my process of only sourcing from large commercial retailers. This exposure to a successful, expanded creative palette was the catalyst that shifted my mindset that design could be so much more.
What brought you to the world of design? Has it always been an interest of yours?
I have always had a creative spirit, and luckily discovered a form of expression which allowed my creativity to blossom, and this field was Dance. It was my first foray into transforming an idea into beautiful lines and flow that I was able to express and totally share with others. When I transitioned into the world of fashion, I worked to create my practical yet elegant look in a gender-neutral style.
In 2020 I started my YouTube channel to share my interior design journey with an audience because I didn't see one with someone who looked like me and to whom I could relate. As the channel quickly grew despite being in the middle of a pandemic, fashion and home decor brands started offering to pay me to create content! Suddenly I had to choose between my current comfortable career with an established retail fashion brand or take a risk and pursue my YouTube channel full time. We all know by now what I chose.
Who are your style heroes?
Kelly Wearstler, Athena Calderone, Jean Royere, Pierre Yavanovitch just to name a few.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I get inspiration from everywhere - everything I see and hear. Sometimes there's a bit of sensory overload. And travel... We've recently started traveling quite a bit. I personally love the small markets we find when exploring around Paris. Occasional trips back to the Philippines to visit with family are also enriching. And I have a strong affinity for vintage Italian design. Soon, we'll be going to Italy, exploring from Venice to Naples, so I know that I'll come back energized and overflowing with new ideas.
And... My personal fashion sense always informs all. It's a cornerstone in my life and I continue to take inspiration from my own wardrobe and weave it into my home.
Consistently creating engaging, beautiful, and good quality content is no easy task; the amount of behind-the-scenes work you must do is astounding. Do you ever feel like the "business" of being a content creator gets in the way of creativity? If this happens, do you have any tricks for getting that spark back?
The business of being a creator does get very daunting. There are always deadlines, editing, and the need to create original content every week puts pressure on me to produce yet always stay fresh and innovative. When I feel overwhelmed, I distract myself by just stepping away for a bit, perhaps by rearranging things in my office, going on a trip to a new place, shopping for vintage furniture -whatever activity that serves to recharge my creative juices and keep them flowing.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learned since founding your eponymous brand?
Be yourself. Don't be afraid to show the real you! I think we gravitate to people who are authentic in who they are.
You have a thriving Youtube channel, an engaged Instagram community, a new website, and your own designs; what is next for the Arvin Olano brand?
What's next? Well, I have a secret to share with you. Fashion was always my first love and I'm thrilled to tell you that I just received an invitation from a brand to design a mini apparel collection. I can't share too many details on it yet. But, as soon as I can, you know I will. It's something I can't wait to start working on!