Designer Rafe Totengco is a true New Yorker. Originally from the Philippines, he came to New York City to pursue his dream of a career in fashion, armed with ambition and his unique design sensibilities. In a city thats all about individuality, Rafe fit right in.
In 1989, Rafe left a successful business that he started in Manila to pursue his dream of a career in fashion design. He moved to New York, enrolled in FIT, and supported himself as a design assistant.
In 1994, he produced his first accessories belts and watchbands for a SoHo boutique: they sold out instantly. When the shop asked him if he had bags to go with the items, he enthusiastically said 'yes'...even if he didn't have a single bag to show for it. One year later, the first collection of Rafe New York handbags debuted at uptown department store Bergdorf Goodman.
Since then, Rafe has become one of the most acclaimed of a new generation of New York designers. He's been recognized in his field with numerous honors, including
- Finalist, CFDA
Perry Ellis Accessory Designer Award, 1999
- Rising Star Award,
Fashion Group International, 2000
- Best Accessories Designer
Accessories Council, 2001
His company now includes shops in New York and Japan, and distribution at department stores and boutiques throughout the world. The Rafe brand has grown over the years to include women's handbags, shoes & small leather goods, as well as men's bags & accessories.
About his unusual name: Rafe (pronounced "RAH-fee") is short for Ramon Felix.