Where do old school uniforms go after four years of high school? Maybe to a younger brother who goes to the same school. Or, deep in the closet, for use only on that night when the dress code is “your old school uniform.” Often these unused pieces end up in landfills after graduation.
That might not be the case for Alyanna Ferrer, a 26-year-old designer who breathes new life into unused fabrics, vintage denim and even old-school skirts.
Under her eponymous brand (@alyannaferrer on Instagram; alyannaferrer.com), Ferrer fashioned chic and stylish pieces such as a matching coat and pants, paired with a brown plaid school skirt and various denim jeans. ; a little black dress reminiscent of Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala look using a knit sweater and unsold jersey fabric; and an office blazer that can go from day to night.
“Over the years, I have witnessed the underlying issues (unethical working conditions and compensation, exploitation of natural resources, fashion waste, etc.) brought about by fast fashion and its negative effects on our society. and our environment,” said the fashion design and merchandising graduate. said Lifestyle in an interview.
“In 2020, when lockdown was first imposed, I began to question the role of fashion in changing this destructive system. This realization led me to redefine my perspectives and my actions as a designer and to use my brand as a vehicle for change.
Ferrer did his research and design development and salvaged old clothes from relatives at the start of the lockdown. On Valentine’s Day last year, she launched Alyanna Ferrer with Reissue Vol. 1—a capsule collection “made from nothing new”.
“When I first started deconstructing and recycling, I collected various pieces of clothing (dress pants, denim jeans, cargo pants, etc.) with textiles that could work well together by studying their weight, color, and condition. J I also like to explore working with materials that aren’t traditionally made for clothing but have wearable and functional characteristics,” she said.
Currently, Ferrer sources from Humble Sustainability, a circular living community that helps people declutter by collecting discarded items that can be repurposed.
“Today, our team is working on emphasizing the recycling of denim, as it is one of the most thrown away textiles. I also think this supports the relevance of my designs since most Filipinos connect to denim, as it has been a staple in our wardrobe due to its versatility, durability and functionality.
Upcycling is all the rage these days, with fashion brands finding ways to create new clothes from old fabrics. Several young designers have also focused on using old fabrics and retaso or scraps to avoid waste, such as sisters Thea and Nina Morales.
Neither had a formal fashion background before their adventure (Thea studied business economics while Nina went into industrial design), but the sisters have a knack for giving new second-hand goods life.
“Growing up, we always had an affinity for reusing materials. For example, we’ve always made handmade gifts for our loved ones using scrap trinkets, or we like to turn our dad’s oversized clothes into something trendy we can use,” said Thea, 26. , in an interview.
The siblings eventually turned their passion into a business that allowed them creative freedom while being environmentally conscious.
“Upcycling became the obvious choice for us,” Nina said. “We have seen with our own eyes the piles of surplus textiles that are not used during production, as we have relatives who work in the industry. With the abundance of discarded fabrics lying around, we wanted to breathe new life into what others might consider waste and promote a circular economy.
Since launching Nin and Yang (@ninandyang on Instagram, ninandyang.com) in March last year, they’ve transformed retaso into stylish patchwork pieces and accessories.
“You will notice that all our models are adjustable via straps/clips. Most designs are also multifunctional and versatile. For example, we have pants that turn into shorts, a jacket with removable sleeves or a vest that can be worn four ways. We strive to create pieces that can be easily dressed up or down, so they can be used long and often by our consumers,” said Thea.
Only a limited number of pieces are produced from the line, given the availability of fabrics. Nina and Thea source excess cuts from local patahian and end rolls of fabric that no longer sell from textile vendors in Taytay. Companies and individuals even offer certain materials like curtains and blankets for recycling.
“One of our subscribers also recently sent us a package of old but usable textiles on her own personal initiative to reduce waste in fashion. It’s these types of interactions that motivate us to do what we do,” Nina said.
Nin and Yang’s pieces are also affordable, with tops and accessories like bags and bucket hats just under P900. Their Double Trouble jacket, which has removable sleeves, is priced at P1,855. Both Thea and Nina said it was important to offer accessible prices. They observed that some slow fashion brands are sometimes too expensive for consumers who want to switch to sustainable choices.
“We really think it’s about raising awareness and providing alternative options. When consumers truly understand the impact of their choices, we are optimistic that there will be a paradigm shift that will lead them to support ethical brands,” said Thea.
Ferrer and the Morales siblings have noticed that many people are now more mindful of their fashion consumption.
Ferrer, an alumnus of De La Salle College in St. Benilde, said she had a client who came with her own materials — old clothes to be turned into something new and ready to use.
Ferrer said several factors are contributing to the shift to responsible fashion consumption, from awareness of ensuing environmental disasters and the demand for responsibility. This consumer demand plays an important role in reducing the environmental impact of fashion.
“Radical change and transformation is possible when there is a collective effort between consumers and producers. As we are in an era of change, it is essential that we work together to generate positive effects on our society and our environment,” she said. INQ