Wear and Care: These 4 Local Designers Support Sustainable Fashion
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Wear and Care: These 4 Local Designers Support Sustainable Fashion

Wear and Care: These 4 Local Designers Support Sustainable Fashion

Fashion | September 8, 2022
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Taking sustainable fashion to heart, these local designers breathe life into old garments by creating eco-friendly and lasting pieces.

In the fashion world where goods are manufactured and discarded at a frenzied pace, little regard is given to ethical practices. Cash is king and as long as consumers buy mindlessly, manufacturers will meet the demand—regardless of the disastrous consequences.

For example, did you know that globally the fashion industry accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, and nearly 20% of wastewater? What’s more, a single pair of jeans requires 1 kilogram of cotton which in turn requires 7,500 liters of water to produce. That’s about 10 years of drinking water for a single person!

Meanwhile, one cotton shirt is capable of releasing two kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere while a single polyester dress emits 17 kilograms. Try and wrap your mind around that information.

In recent years, however, the sustainable fashion (or slow fashion) movement has gained traction. But what is it exactly and why should people support it? Simply put, sustainable fashion refers to the production of garments that is most considerate to humanity and the planet—thereby reducing the environmental impact wherever possible.

Overall, it is an intentional, more caring manner of doing business. Here are the stories of four local designers who support this ethos.

Leo Bartolome and Adante Leyesa of Edited Limited (IG: @edited_limited)

Sustainability has always been embedded in the DNA of Adante Leyesa’s eponymous fashion brand. Since its inception in 2009, the label has produced numerous high-end purses and eye-catching costume jewelry using needlework, patchwork, and the upcycling method.

Then came Edited Limited, which is the brainchild of Leo Bartolome, Adante’s life and business partner. “The original concept was simple—to breathe new life into old garments. With a bit of ingenuity and a whole lot of creativity, we are able to transform second-hand clothing—like a trench coat—into a kimono by dismantling the original, reworking the design, and using a hand stitching technique called Boro,” explains Leo.

It Takes Two to Design—Leo Bartolome and Adante Leyesa of Edited Limited
It Takes Two to DesignLeo Bartolome and Adante Leyesa of Edited Limited

While the designers work with trimmings, old fabrics, and scraps, their favorite is denim because of the material’s versatility. In fact, the two have scouted through many thrift shops and purchased denim pieces—brimming with possibilities.

Embroidery and other needle hand work are also essential elements of their design. One can consider the finished products as limited modern vintage, as no two pieces are alike. “We do not have our own production factory,” he reveals. “Instead, we have partnered with women artisans from Batangas, who are members of a progressive coop supported by the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, to help realize our design.“

“While we all have the liberty to express our creative visions, we must do so responsibly. Because we chose this path, we actively contribute to the reduction of waste in landfills,” Leo ends.

Designing Duo—Sustainability requires that the life span of a piece of clothing must be circular, not linear. It’s the kinder way to do business. It’s the smart way to do business,” said Leo Bartolome and Adante Leyesa.
Designing Duo—Sustainability requires that the life span of a piece of clothing must be circular, not linear. It’s the kinder way to do business. It’s the smart way to do business,” said Leo Bartolome and Adante Leyesa.
The Winning Formula—Slow fashion equals fast transactions. These Edited Limited pieces are flying off the shelves!
The Winning Formula—Slow fashion equals fast transactions. These Edited Limited pieces are flying off the shelves!

Audrey Albason (IG: @audreyalbason)

A glacier hiking trip in the Icelandic Alps proved to be so much more than an adventure for designer Audrey Albason. The sight of glaciers breaking and melting at an alarming rate made her resolute in making a change.

Up until that point, Audrey was an evening and bridal wear designer who often participated in runway shows in London and Paris. But upon returning home from Iceland, she made a conscious shift to producing small batches of luxury resort and leisure wear.

“I do not want to contribute further to the degradation of the planet by creating gowns that will only be worn once or twice. To prevent overproduction that leads to garments ending in landfills, 90 percent of our products [are] now made to order and manufactured in our small solar-powered studio,” shares Audrey.

Life-changing Realization—Audrey Albason made the conscious switch from designing one-time bridalwear to sustainable fashion pieces.
Life-changing Realization—Audrey Albason made the conscious switch from designing one-time bridalwear to sustainable fashion pieces.

A native of Iloilo—known as the textile capital of the country—the designer uses materials such as handwoven miag-ao hablon, fine pineapple silk from Aklan, abaca fiber, rattan weaves, and Capiz shells in creating exquisite purses and accessories.

With the transition, her design process has also become more mindful. “I’ve learned to turn down rush orders. It’s really not worth the overtime in the studio and it takes away from the joy of creating. Sustainability applies to the designer, too. Although I work with partner communities, my hands are responsible for the final outcome.”

Designer and Raconteuse—Each piece that comes out of Audrey Albason’s atelier tells a story of hope and love of country.
Designer and Raconteuse—Each piece that comes out of Audrey Albason’s atelier tells a story of hope and love of country.
Classic yet Contemporary—The Audrey Albason label celebrates the Filipino culture while promoting sustainability.
Classic yet Contemporary—The Audrey Albason label celebrates the Filipino culture while promoting sustainability.

Christian Cera (IG: @christian.cera)

Christian Cera has been designing bags for different brands for the last three decades. With the constant prodding and encouragement of friends, he finally started his own brand this year—just in time to showcase his handcrafted bags in Arte Fino. 

From designing for other brands to finally debuting a brand that he can proudly call his own.
Christian Cera—From designing for other brands to finally debuting a brand that he can proudly call his own.

For this designer, sustainability is a very broad concept encompassing a whole range of processes—from the sourcing of materials, production, and distribution… up to waste disposal. “As a start-up small enterprise, wastage is out of the equation. Sustainability takes the form of creating bags that are made to order,” he reveals.

“I work with durable genuine local leather and make full use of scraps and offcuts when designing. My whole creative process is very intentional. You’ll know it’s a Christian Cera creation when you see finely crafted leather with my signature running stitch done in waxed thread,” shares Christian.

Pragmatic Purveyor—Christian Cera believes that ethics and aesthetics must go hand in hand. “A good product is one that supports the maker and resonates with the consumer.”
Pragmatic Purveyor—Christian Cera believes that ethics and aesthetics must go hand in hand. “A good product is one that supports the maker and resonates with the consumer.”
Functional Fashion—Christian Cera describes his sustainable fashion line as classic, chic, and utilitarian.
Functional Fashion—Christian Cera describes his line as classic, chic, and utilitarian.

(IG: @virtuciodesigns)

A past recipient of the Katha Award—given by FAME to businesses in recognition of their exemplary design and product innovation—Christine Virtucio has taken Virtucio Designs to higher heights over the years. The brand has pioneered the use of colorful upcycled plastic bags that are cut into strips, pressed, and melted to achieve colorful mosaic sheets.

Christine Virtucio is a business-savvy maverick who brings together sustainability and fashion to create classy pieces.
Christine Virtucio is a business-savvy maverick who brings together sustainability and fashion to create classy pieces.

Each pattern is unique and used to make accessories, bags, minaudieres, and shoes. “Plastic takes hundreds of years to dissolve. My company aims to reduce the harmful effects of plastic by upcycling this material and making something beautiful and useful out of it,” says Christine.

This Boholana works with leather, beads, brass, silver, gold, and pearls. “I started making accessories and trinkets as a hobby. Today, my business is not just profit-driven but purpose-driven. My small enterprise provides honest labor to local artisans, while promoting eco-friendly fashion,” enthuses Christine.

Living the Green Dream—Christine Virtucio aims to expand her sustainable fashion label one environmentally-sound product at a time.
Living the Green Dream—Christine Virtucio aims to expand her label one environmentally-sound product at a time.
From Trash to Treasure—The Burista (Visayan for cellophane) Collection by Virtucio Designs offers a variety of sustainable fashion products for the modern Filipina.
From Trash to Treasure—The Burista (Visayan for cellophane) Collection by Virtucio Designs offers a variety of products for the modern Filipina.

While the efforts of designers who support sustainable fashion are laudable, we, as consumers must also do our part. After all, a heightened sense of awareness will lead us to make informed purchasing decisions.

Instead of constantly indulging in our shopping whims, we can try thrifting or swapping clothes with our friends. Likewise, donating old and unused clothes to charitable institutions will not only benefit the recipients, but the planet as well. These concerted actions will make a difference. So before you press “add to cart,” please think twice.

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