To develop passionate visionaries who shape the world of design.
SoFA Design Institute commits to produce highly competent graduates who are:
- Design leaders
- Experts in translating concepts into pragmatic solutions
- Industry-ready professionals
Arch. Tobias Guggenheimer, Dean
An architect by profession, Tobias Guggenheimer manages his design firm Tobias Guggenheimer Architect (www.guggenheimerarchitect.com). His firm is a full-service design focused practice established in 1991 providing architecture, interior design, planning, consulting and project management for new and existing building structures. His practice has been referenced New York Times, Financial Times, New York Magazine, etc. He is also passionate about design education. He has years of experience holding both teaching and administrative positions in esteemed New York-based design institutions. He was professor and Interior Design Department Assistant Chair at Parsons School of Design. He was likewise the Program head for Interior Design at Marymount College of Fordham University. Early on in his academic career, he was Assistant Professor and Administrator for Special Programs at Pratt Institute School of Architecture. He has given numerous design lectures at various conferences and organizations both locally and internationally.
He shares his vision in design teaching methodologies through SoFA Design Institute where he heads academic formation, faculty training, program and curriculum development. His goal is to inject a global standard to the Philippine design educational landscape; making the SoFA education a blend of the best of eastern and western cultures.
He holds a B.A. English Literature degree from Binghamton University, New York, USA and an MA in Architecture from the University of Colorado, Denver, USA.
Amina Aranaz-Alunan is a bag designer and is SoFA Design Insitute's co-founding partner. This Ateneo de Manila alumna is dedicated to sharing her passion for design with her students. After a stint as a fashion stylist with ABS-CBN Publishing's Chalk magazine she packed her bags for Italy where she enrolled for a masteral program in Fashion Accesories and Luxury Goods and eventually graduated as Cum Laude from Istituto Marangoni in Milan. She returned to Manila to build the family bag brand, ARANAZ. She was awarded by Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Super as the Designer of the Year for 2006 and was nominated in the accessories designer of the year category at the Mega Fashion Awards back in 2007. She is also a member of the Fashion & Design Council of the Philippines (FDCP). Known for her flair for fashion, she is also often cited as one of Manila's style icons.
Antonio Jan Garcia
Antonio Jan Garcia has made a name for himself as a fashion designer (Antonio Garcia Haute Couture) and an experienced fashion instructor. He has been a mentor in various fashion schools in the US such as the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California and the International Academy of Design & Technology. This psychology graduate of the University of the Philippines likewise graduated Summa Cum Laude in Fashion Design at FIDM. He is currently with SoFA Design Institute mentoring classes in Creative Problem Solving.
Christine Yadao-Benet graduated from the University of the Philippines, Diliman with a degree in Clothing Technology. She pursued a Masteral Degree in Technology Management in the same university and for a time, was also one of UP's Clothing Technology instructors. On the side, she manages her own fashion business and is a textile supplier for leading local fashion brands. Wanting to pursue further studies, she was granted a scholarship at the Politecnico di Milano in Europe where she took Masters in New Tech-Style Design. She was previously the Academic Director for Fashion at the SoFA Design Institute and to date, is mentoring classes in Draping and Fashion Textile.
Regarded as the Dean of Philippine Fashion Illustration, Danilo Franco holds 30 years of experience as a fashion designer and a fashion illustrator. He holds tremendous passion for the arts and in pursuit of this has gained a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts Major in Advertising at the University of Sto. Tomas, Manila. He became an apprentice of the legendary Mr. Ben Farrales. His clientele includes top local personalities. He is the SoFA Design Institute's mentor for Fashion Illustration and Philippine Fashion classes.
Aside from being a participant in the reality television hit Project Runway Philippines Season 1, Loida Huner has been immersed in the fashion industry for no less than 30 years gaining unparalled skills in the practice of Fashion Design, Pattern Making, and Sewing. She has passed the TESDA National Competency II examinations last 2009 and just recently merited the title of TESDA Chief Technical Expert for Fashion Technology. She is a graduate of the Fashion Design and Fashion Illustration program at the Cora Doloroso Fashion School. She is with the SoFA Design Institute as a mentor for Sewing and Pattern Making classes.
Luis Espiritu, Jr.
As a pioneer in the field of fashion styling in the country, he has a wealth of experience under his belt working with various publications and some of the biggest advertising campaigns the local scene has been witness to. He is now Creative Director for ABS- CBN Publishing's Metro Magazine and maintains a column in the Philippine Star. He shares his passion and skills through mentoring SoFA Design Institute's Fashion Styling classes.
Marina Abad Santos-Benipayo
Marina Abad Santos-Benipayo has been a familiar face in Philippine fashion for more than 20 years. Highlights of her career include winning the BodyShots modeling contest in 1988, representing the country in the Model of the World contest in Istanbul, Turkey, and being crowned a Bb. Pilipinas – Maja in 1992, representing the country in the Miss World pageant in Sun City, South Africa.
Along with her mentor, Renee Salud, and other beauty queens and models, Marina was part of the Department of Tourism’s WOW Philippines tour in different Asian, Middle East and European countries between the years 1988-2006, promoting Philippine culture, fashion and tourist destinations. Now in Manila, she has been a self-enrichment consultant and trainer, and a contributing writer for Mega Magazine and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. She is currently a mentor at the SoFA Design Institute for Fashion Styling classes.
Joseph Richard Papa
Richard Papa has been a mainstay in the fashion industry for several years now. Since acquiring a degree in Fine Arts, majoring in Advertising Arts at the University of Sto. Tomas, he has grown his career and is currently the Vice President of the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines (FDAP) since 1998. He produces a self-titled line as he ccontinues his practice as a Fashion Designer. Currently, he mentors Pattern Making and Draping classes at the SoFA Design Institute.
The One School
SoFA School of Interior Design
Broadening its reach beyond fashion, this educational endeavor is being pursued in collaboration with industry leaders Ivy & Cynthia Almario.