A rebel and an artist

Joel Andrade redefines local makeup scene

Joel Andrade (Photo by by Cenon and Mav)


The label "rebellious" often carries a sting of disapproval. But for Joel Andrade, whose artistic genius fuels the edgy Issy, playful Chu-Chu, and vibrant Lucky Beauty, to be a rebel is to be an artist.

“I come not from beauty but from fashion design,” Joel tells Manila Bulletin while busy heading Issy’s campaign shoot for May and June 2024 in a studio in Quezon City. This creative director and co-founder of Issy & Company, maneuvered the team in a fun and exciting way with cups of coffee and bread on separate tables to be at easy reach for everyone.

Black dress, leather jacket, and striking earrings are what speaks of his creative command. Joel’s spirit brims with infectious energy. “I have been a fashion victim since 2010. I remember the very first real fashion I watched on Youtube was Chanel Haute Couture in 2009.” Seeing that created an appetite for aesthetic, fashion, beauty, and all of that.”

A palette of defiance

Born in the Bicol Region and raised in Baguio City, Joel tells us that his love for beauty began at home. He grew up with three sisters and a loving mother, all of who he watched transform from ordinary to Sunday’s best. He watched them apply makeup and wear their best clothes.

From then on, young Joel already knew that he would pursue a career in the world of fashion. But the road wasn't smooth. Despite a passionate heart, Joel's mother, out of love and fear, tried to discourage him.

(Photos from Joel’s Instagram)

“Growing up, I always felt odd. When kids were buying K-Zone, I was obsessed with fashion magazines my aunt sent from abroad,” he shares while checking the test shots of the photographers.

“Growing up, hindi ine-encourage ang drawing clothes on women. My mom was being protective. Ayaw niya akong maging subject of ridicule. (She did not want me to be ridiculed.) She was so afraid of how hard it would be for me.”

To suppress his love for fashion design, music became a temporary haven. But his “fire” for fashion wouldn't dim. “Pretty much after high school, I left home immediately. Nung magka-college na, (When I was in college), I really wanted to do fashion design but the biggest problem was, kailangan muna nasa Manila ako (I needed to be located in Manila). Paano ako papayagang mag-Manila, then nag-conservatory ako. I took one year as an undergraduate in UST Conservatory Music (How can I be allowed to study in Manila?  So I studied for one year in the UST Conservatory of Music).”

Off to the runway and flipping the script

Now feeling free and backed with courage, the Issy creative director enrolled in SoFA Design Institute, where he took a certificate course in fashion design. “When I told them the truth, they were totally onboard. It was like walang kayong magagawa nandito na ko (no one can do anything, I’m already here),” he laughs.

“As if naman magpapatalo ako (As if I would back down). Since I was a kid, I was always stubborn, I always had something to prove. I just don’t say no or yes, always with why.”

From then on, Joel worked in the fashion industry with various clothing brands, until the opportunity to explore the beauty industry came. With the same fire, Issy was born. This brand beloved by the younger market gives a rebellious, edgy vibe. As Joel describes it, Issy aims to provide a sensual meaning to simple makeup products, hence the name of shades like Undress, Slap, and Nudity.

“Makeup is very important especially when you need a little push,” he says.

(Photo from Joel’s Instagram)

“Honestly, the world takes too much out of you and makeup gives you that edge like – ‘if not everything is going my way, at least my face is the way I want it to be’.”

The man behind Chu-Chu, a beauty brand that gives a fun, youthful vibe, beams with pride over makeup's changing image and its status as a self-care product.

“What I really love is that beauty is now part of self-care, not for vanity only. For the longest time makeup was viewed as a vain thing to do. In our culture, makeup has been associated with sex workers. Kapag nag-lipstick ka ng pula, it’s giving mukha kang pokpok,” Joel explains. “I love how we flipped the narrative; no, it’s about self-expression. It’s about one feeling good about herself.”

Redefining the local makeup scene

Moving forward, Joel is excited to bring more innovative makeup that will also inspire and encourage lovers of beauty to dream. “A local makeup brand is a brand that thinks what it’s like here,” he says.

“For Issy, Chu-Chu, and Lucky, kahit iba-iba sila (even if they are different) concepts or vibe, what remains the same is the reality that we’re living in a tropical, humid country.”

He explains that they make sure that every shade range they choose caters to the Southeast Asian color palette and that the formulas are tested for humid weather.

(Photos from Joel’s Instagram)

“That’s the definition of a local brand—our recipe to success. I just don’t focus on how good the products are but also how the brand makes you feel. Do you feel represented by the brand?” Joel says. “Ang daming bagay sa mundo na hindi mo kontrolado (There are many things in life that you cannot control) but how you present yourself is one thing that you can control. And that’s power!”

Issy turns five this year, Chu-Chu turns three, and Lucky will mark its first birthday. These aren't just brand milestones, but milestones for Filipino beauty—proof we champion our own. With Joel Andrade leading the charge, artistry and rebellion will undoubtedly redefine the local beauty scene.