Brian Tenorio, design specialist and LGBTQIA+ advocate, passes away

Filipino-American shoe designer and strategic design and communications specialist Brian Tenorio died at age 42 after battling cancer for 11 months.

Tenorio was the founder and CEO of design firm Brian Tenorio & Company, and cafe chain Kape Tayo Coffee. But prior to being the leader of his own companies, he first produced award-winning designs for clients such as Jaime Zobel de Ayala, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

In 2004, he launched his brand, Tenorio Manila, with a start-up line of high-end men and women’s accessories and shoes. The Pratt Institute graduate was given a marker by Marikina City for his work in promoting the shoe industry of his hometown, Marikina. 

Tenorio is also remembered for sharing his knowledge about design, communication, and entrepreneurship with his teaching roles at SOFA Design Institute and his alma mater Ateneo de Manila University.

Internationally, he is known for his contributions as an international consultant for Branding and Design at the Asian Development Bank and the World Health Organization (Western Pacific Regional Office). 

Tenorio believed in advocating for the LGBTQIA+ Community, which was why in 2016, he founded and chaired Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which aims to break gender stereotypes, help individuals belonging to the community to realize their full potential, and celebrate their contributions to Philippine businesses. The organization believes that there is more to the people of the community than being stuck in a salon, and to be treated as someone who just knows how to work with makeup.

“We, as a community, discuss ways to create a safer workplace for our employees, rights for individuals when it comes to protections, privacy, and dignity. We feel that we should also discuss the leadership potential of LGBT in every sector,” he said. “As leaders, they can help the people who work for them and are part of their population. We must prepare ourselves for the next few decades where we are no longer a minority. We must prepare for a future, where this form of diversity becomes the biggest demographic in the world population.”

Recently, he brought mental health services online through Mindcare Club, a network of mental health counselors and spaces in the Philippines. And during the height of community quarantine in the country, through Telehealth Philippines, Tenorio brought online medical consultations for people under monitoring in Marikina City, to help protect doctors and other medical frontliners from getting infected.

“Together, this is an opportunity for us and for the city government to provide effective care to the public and compassionate care to our health care providers in these very challenging times,” Tenorio said.

Friends and loved ones of Tenorio shared the grief on social media.

CDAP Communication Design Association of the Philippines: Today, we are saddened by the passing of a creative luminary,...

Posted by Angel Guerrero on Monday, July 27, 2020

Today we say goodbye to our dear friend Brian Tenorio, a staunch and strong advocate of LGBT Rights.

Brian and his...

Posted by Side B Philippines on Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Brian Tenorio, I still can't believe you left us too soon. You have always been a ball of energy, making every single...

Posted by Ma Katrina Pajarillo on Monday, July 27, 2020

Today, we are saddened by the passing of a creative luminary, design advocate, and one of CDAP's founding directors,...

Posted by CDAP Communication Design Association of the Philippines on Monday, July 27, 2020

Rest in peace, love and light my dearest Brian Tenorio ?.

We were just talking about you last night and now you're...

Posted by Alvin Miranda on Monday, July 27, 2020

Rest in power, Brian.