by Vicky Herrera (Published November 18, 2011 in Inquirer 2bu)
Twenty-seven-year-old Abdul Salam is among the first of a new breed of menswear designers in the Philippines. When he’s not going to karaoke bars, hanging out with his girlfriend or checking local fabric markets, Salam is in work mode, 100 percent focused on his menswear label Sir, which specializes in custom-made button-down shirts.
His move into the design world started when he was working at True, a boutique store in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. “My friends there definitely showed me the ropes,” he says.
For six months, he worked as a store clerk, which included mundane tasks, even cleaning the toilet and folding T-shirts. Then, he moved to handling the visual display of the store. Eventually, through hard work, he was offered the manager position, which gave him first-hand knowledge of the industry.
Aside from being an assistant buyer at trade shows and assisting in designing for the label, he also managed a staff. It was a real taste of the managerial and leadership aspect of running a business. “It was the best three years of my life,” says Salam.