BENCH MEETS: Dog Days with Andre Drilon

Photography by JL Javier
Styling by Neal Corpus
Words by Cedric S. Reyes

B/Blog meets no less than four Shiba Inus under the care of Andre Drilon, artist, student, and son of an anchorwoman.

Get cozy with the Bench Blog as we snuggle up with our favorite personalities and their furry friends. We’re stepping inside the homes of the most exciting individuals today to see their lives through a different pair of eyes – their dog’s. In this one of a kind meet and greet, Bench Blog says hello to upstarts and icons alike as they get comfortable with their cuddle buddy of choice. Keep your paws on this exclusive and intimate series of conversations. We’re about to find out why the dog days are far from over.

If it’s true that dogs are a man’s best friend, then Andre Drilon’s got a whole squad behind his back. Living with four Shiba Inus, Andre’s no stranger to their smart, mischievous look, and the occasional bad behavior to match. The unexpected, varied personalities of his dogs fit Andre like a glove – or more appropriately, a dress.

The son of anchorwoman Ces Oreña-Drilon, Andre’s been skirting around the limelight for quite some time. Himself a self-professed artist, Andre dresses for comfort just as much as self-expression. This is why he’s taken to wearing skirts, the garment that allows him to explore his identity while properly ventilating between the legs. It helps that he gets an assist from mom’s closet – the main provider of his eccentric style choices. Everything from Andre’s sandals to his confident smirk are heirlooms from his mom. But if his piercing wits and against-the-grain flair are any indication, the young artist manages just fine on his own. Surrounded by his Shibas, Andre proves that he’s ready for more than just hand-me-downs.

Gone to the dogs. Andre can always count on his Shibas to turn around a bad day.
Dark navy button-down and jeans by BENCH, Striped denim button-down and sandals by HUMAN

Hi Andre! What’s been keeping your hands full lately?

I currently study in Ateneo de Manila. On the side, I do my photography and visual glitches, and have recently gotten into some amateur modeling as well. For summer I’ve decided to focus on honing my creative side, so that means I get to spend more time with my dogs!

We’re in love with your Shiba Inus! Can you tell us a little bit about them?

I had always been a huge fan of Shiba Inus. I got Laika 9 months after posting as an interested buyer on a dead Yahoo group on Manila Shibas. Laika always seemed so lonely when we weren’t home, so a year later we got Dymka from Taiwan. The breeder then offered us a deal we couldn’t refuse, and I named this new puppy Ichiro which means first son. Haruko was born from Dymka and Ichiro. Honestly, we don’t intend for Haruko to be the last addition to our shiba pack. Keep ‘em coming!

Andre with his first Shiba Inu, Laika.
Denim jacket and skirt by BENCH, Denim shorts by HUMAN

Because you have so many, how do you tell each of them apart? Tell us something unique about each of them.

From eldest to youngest, Laika is the matriarch and alpha. She’s the only one who acts like a Shiba Inu; she’s stubborn, territorial, AND neurotic. She watches us from dark corners like a shadow. Dymka is the opposite. She always asks for belly rubs from visitors! Ichiro is the only boy, yet he’s the one who whimpers and cries the most. Yes for breaking gender norms! Haruko is 10 months old, so she’s still skittish but clearly very intelligent.

Andre playing dress up with Laika. Photo by John Eric Bico.

Would you rather stay in your dogs or be out with friends?

Why not both? After all, my friends only hang out with me to get to my Shibas! For real though, I can get most things done like shoots and production at my place. I’m as lazy as Laika.

What are your favorite things to wear on a casual day out?

Recently, I’ve been ukay-crazy. I pair my mom’s Paul Smith skirts with retro tops like 90’s sportswear or floral polos. Skirts are perfect for hot weather! It’s men after all who have a package to worry about.

 

Good boy. Andre learned to train all four of his Shibas himself after watching a few Youtube videos. (L-R) Dymka, Ichiro, Haruko, and Laika.
Blazer jacket, turtleneck shirt, and denim dress by BENCH, Sandals by HUMAN

We’re big fans of how you wear your skirts. Can you tell us how that started?

I had for a long time wanted to explore certain aspects of crossdressing. One of my classes, the Philosophy of Nonviolence, finally provided the perfect excuse to do so. For my final project I had worn skirts and dresses to school for an entire week. I wanted to demonstrate that as a boy I could wear whatever I wanted, at no detriment to my masculinity. For my finale, I wore a cocktail dress to an NSTP seminar!

Andre wears mom Ces Drilon’s HUMAN sandals, straight from Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo.

Give us a word of advice for someone who’s about to make a big change in their life – whether it’s stepping out the house in a skirt for the first time, or getting their first dog.

Wearing skirts was both a cause and effect of a huge paradigm shift, the scope of which stretched as far as my identity, character and even love life! I had always tried to avoid attention due to self-esteem and anxiety issues. I believe a lifestyle change should precede any large decision, otherwise you’re in for some unnecessary turbulence. After all it was the little things that gave me the confidence to stand out, like making new friends, publishing more provocative material, and taking small steps to more openly love yourself.

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