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SM fashion designer Anthony Nocom, 64

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FASHION designer Anthony Nocom is seen here with SM’s Tessie Sy-Coson. — FACEBOOK.COM/TNOCOM0823

ANTHONY NOCOM, JR. (known as Tonichi by his intimates in the fashion industry) passed away at 64 years old on June 29 his family announced through a statement.

“We are deeply heartbroken that our dear Anthony ‘Tonichi’ Nocom, Jr. has passed away this afternoon, June 29. The family requests for privacy in this time of grief.

“We ask you to keep Tonichi in your thoughts and prayers,” continued the statement.

Mr. Nocom was once president of the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines (FDCP), but he may best be remembered for being the in-house designer of retail giant SM Retail, Inc.

He started at SM as an interior designer in 1981, but according to a 2003 interview with the Philippine Star, “Tessie Sy-Coson (SM founder Henry Sy’s daughter) noticed my interest in fashion, and she asked me to design for SM’s menswear labels — Newsmakers and Men’s Club.

“I decided to do menswear because there were only a few doing menswear then. Maybe because designers felt there was not much you could do with shirts and pants. But I saw it as a challenge,” he said in the same interview (“Why men LOVE Anthony Nocom,” by Millet Mananquil, Philippine Star, April 16, 2003).

Mr. Nocom was given his own menswear line in SM in 1989, with the clothes bearing his name. Still, he had his fingerprints in SM’s other departments, even up to sleepwear. That meant that for a generation, Mr. Nocom was clothing almost everyone who shopped at SM — and that’s a lot of people.

“When I design, in my mind is the Filipino who looks for quality, style and affordability,” he told the Star. “Frustration comes only to a designer when he refuses to understand that this profession is both a business philosophy and a business function.”

In a Facebook post, the Professional Models Association of the Philippines said, “The PMAP extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Tonichi during this difficult time. His legacy as a talented designer and mentor will continue to live on in the hearts of those who knew and admired him.

“Rest in peace, Tonichi. Your creative vision and passion for fashion will forever be remembered and cherished by the Philippine fashion community.”

Mr. Nocom’s wake is being held in Quezon City’s Funeraria Paz at the Imperial Garden until July 6. A mass will be held at 8 a.m. on July 6, before the cremation at 10 a.m. A viewing of the urn will be held at Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati from July 7 to 10, and a mass will be held at 7 a.m. on July 10. His remains will be interred at 9 a.m. at the Thousand Buddha Temple in Quezon City. — JL Garcia

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