As a nascent 30-year-old, I have a deep appreciation for Disney’s classic fairytales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. They are gorgeous films that serve a whole lot of nostalgia that feel like a much-needed snuggle after a long day of adulting. But today, society raises its eyebrow at these traditional “boy-saves-girl” stories and encourages “girl-saves-herself” narratives instead. Marquesa by Kim Almodiel-Prosevicius is one brand that practices this principle of women empowerment—it is that modern fairytale and more.
The Precept and Process of Marquesa
According to Google, “marquesa” is a title of nobility that refers to a Spanish marchioness. This definition encapsulates the femininity and originality of Marquesa, drawing inspiration from Victorian fashion and marrying it with contemporary silhouettes.
For Kim, the meaning is also personal since it is the name of her niece whom she has a special bond with. She loved her dear niece’s name so much that she decided to use it as her brand name, perfectly representing everything that Kim stands for, which is women empowerment above all else. This term gets thrown around a lot and tends to seem disingenuous. I personally cringe sometimes, but Marquesa is truly steadfast in its belief that every woman deserves to feel beautiful by listening to their clients and creating apparel that serves them. “Whatever we do, whatever shape or size we’re in, Marquesa has a piece for us that makes us feel beautiful, confident, empowered, and proud,” Kim proudly shares.
Together with her business partner, Lesly Ilutrisimo Gachalian who handles accounting and staffing, Kim has an in-house team of highly experienced seamstresses who bring her sketches to life. It is Lesly and Kim’s goal to bring back the glory days of these incredible women and highlight their craftsmanship skills.
While Kim likes to make clothes that, according to her, “wow the crowd,” they also have to function: “It has to serve you,” she emphasizes. She highlights functionality as an important aspect because her clients are modern women who “don’t just stay at home,” Kim says. She continues, “We travel, we work, we socialize, we even lead. That means we should have a working wardrobe.”
Marquesa occupies a unique space in the market as a cross between an RTW shop and a bespoke boutique. They have limited off-the-rack garbs that can be altered according to the client’s measurements, and they also create bespoke pieces from scratch as long as the design reflects the Marquesa aesthetic and vision. Marquesa’s top priority is to address and satisfy their customers’ specific needs with genuine thought and care.
Mother, Manager, Entrepreneur
On top of running Marquesa, Kim is also a mother to two girls, 12-year-old Bryce and 15-month-old Natiya; a full-time Senior Marketing Consultant and Supervisor for the only legitimate publishing company in Cebu; and co-founder of the refined hole-in-the-wall restaurant Tales & Feelings with her husband, Julian. “I have an imaginary 36-hour day,” Kim verbalizes what was on my mind.
Kim’s day starts at 11:00 in the evening, she goes to work from 12:00 midnight to 9:00 in the morning, then heads straight to Marquesa and stays there until 2 or 3:00 in the afternoon—or until 6:00 PM if her day is full—and then rushes home to spend some time with her kids before going to bed. Kim’s future plans include fully focusing on Marquesa by the end of the year so she can start scaling it. She highlights Julian’s support as one of the factors that have made it possible for her to pursue her dream.
Home Is Where the Art Is
Kim’s love for art comes from her mother, Floreta—obsessed with her name!—a teacher and multidisciplinary artist who sketches, draws, paints, and plays instruments. As a child, Kim got hold of Floreta’s compilation of her artworks and fell in love with them. She dove into the world of art and started joining art contests. Fun fact: almost all of the paintings in Tales & Feelings are Kim’s work.
Her interest in fashion goes as far as her childhood as well. Both her mother and grandmother would make her and her sisters’ clothes. The girls would always look forward to church where they could wear and show off their Sunday’s best.
Stepping into Her Own Womanhood
Looking at her Instagram, it seems as though Kim has it all together. The truth, according to Kim, does not totally reflect people’s perceptions of her. She confesses to having insecurities as a woman and not feeling confident all the time. To which she says, “That’s normal. That’s the reality.”
In response, Kim takes all her fundamental experiences in life—the good, the bad, and the ugly—as a driving force to progress. The recent passing of her father just last year has put a dent in her life, needless to say. Together with Julian, this tragedy has pushed Kim to give nothing but the best in all her pursuits: “What Julian and I have in common is we are both undeterred by challenges. There will always be challenges along the way, but it’s either you get carried away and shrink, or you overcome and make these challenges a training ground to grow and become better.” She goes on to say that the pandemic was a good lesson for them.
At the height of the pandemic, questions about being employed and financial security were brought up. “What if we didn’t have a job?” Kim recalls asking. Instead of feeling crippled at the thought, Julian assured her by reminding her that they’re “not that kind of people” who crumble under pressure, but that they always face hurdles head-on: “We always find a way not just to fix things but produce something beautiful out of it.” This led her to seriously embark on her entrepreneurial journey. On being an employee for 10 years, Kim shares, “It has felt like I’ve been in a shell hiding, not being able to maximize my potential.”
The pandemic was the wake-up call that Kim needed to craft and put on her own glass slipper and pave a path for her to strut on. As a mother, artist, and entrepreneur, Kim continues to redefine nobility as one who puts in the 10,000 hours, takes care of their loved ones, perseveres, and practices self-love—all while adorned in a pretty little dress.