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Denuo's Part In Susutainable Fashion


Just a few days ago we were asked to speak to a new student organization called MODA in College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts about Sustainable Fashion in the Philippines.  In the past three years, there have been a lot of communities asking us to talk more about the practice and, as Niel Degrasse Tyson would put it, it just goes to show that it’s evidence that there’s an underserved appetite that people have for thinking about the universe (sustainable fashion is a small part of that).  That day, for the first time, we approached the topic from an entirely philosophical angle and it was entitled Sustainable Fashion:  It Might Not Be What You Think - a talk on perspective, a talk on vision.

I realized how energized I became throughout the whole presentation when it came to my slide on beliefs versus truths and thought I heard the room shift in silence.  It’s confronting energy that was maybe a bit much for an unsuspecting audience.  But, by the time the Be-Do-Have slid on screen and the majority of the room remained seated, I felt I might accomplish what I set out to do.  I made sure to state the point multiple times; Sustainable Fashion is a practice founded on truths - scientific, legislative, economic, and psychological realities in our generation.  In closing, I passed on my hopes that the insight I shared contributes to widening their perspectives not just on the industry of Sustainable Fashion but, also to that of the movement’s main purpose - renewing the concepts of freedom and self-empowerment.

The day ended wonderfully with an exchange of curious dialogue and then soon, I parted ways with the group of the more or less 30 early 20-year-old students oblivious to the effects they’ve left on me.  It was the quiet moments walking about my alma mater and the circumstance presented where I felt an intensified importance on education - much needed fuel to push blog entries, to be honest.  That’s where the connection lies for me and Denuo.  As the main conduit for her (Denuo's) energy, I’m called on to effectively communicate the intention behind our existence, especially relating to Sustainable Fashion and the Philippine Fashion industry.




Be - Do - Have / Pattern - Process - Purpose

Bringing up the talk at CSB SDA was important because it reveals some of our truest intentions; to activate renewed perceptions on our quality of life through understanding the realities of our consumer behaviour in the Fashion industry.  For us, Sustainable Fashion is a practice of genuine self-expression - what does that look like?  Well, we’ll probably expound on this in a later entry, but for now, it’s the process of developing inner values to activate responsible participation and then manifesting those truths into our lives - in the form of successful business and fashion practice. 

It should be expressed that the order of Be-Do-Have is important to us.  For one, our own development has been greatly centred on uncovering the Be aspect of our practice and it has given us the patience to broaden our understanding of the industries.  Not having much background in either Fashion or business, it became an intentional experience to take our time to mature our purpose and gain our own perspectives.  It’s difficult and close to impossible to maintain the energy (courage to commit, financial support and creativity) to pursue a path against the general “flow” without first setting roots on strong core values - and we like to think that this is fundamentally the true purpose of sustainable living; developing inner power.

As a result in our case, this developmental phase has taken years.  Founders have come and gone and so have clients and many “profitable” opportunities.  At certain moments, it became a mental battle to shift mindsets when we see that our preparation time takes much longer than those around us or that there still exists a large portion of our community in disbelief of our relevance.  Rather than fading into the background, those moments became positive fuel - a call to action.  At this point, doing becomes an over-flowing urgency to celebrate ways in which we can support personal and community connection.

Through the numerous existing fashion business strategies we’ve studied and some experienced, most still advocate profitability focused measures (monetary) at the get-go.  As an independent brand, we’ve been working with what we’ve got and tried to do the best with it.  We are a minuscule entity that uses garment recirculation as a means to redefine consumer power, showcase garment value, and inform public curiosity on what Sustainable Fashion is about.  The manifestation of our values and commitments always come out as support for persons and communities that practice the same sentiments wholeheartedly and in various forms.



Clear Thinking

Sustainable Fashion is not a new concept, just a rebranded term.  It’s nothing new and that’s the first thing we should understand about it.  In every talk I’ve served, I always mention that this movement is reminding us to refocus on the truth of fashion (another entry for another day). 

I’ve experienced audiences reserved to answer the question, “what is fashion and sustainable fashion - are they different are they the same?”.  Often times, I’m asked to discuss methods like recycling and the works - important topics, but on the context of understanding Sustainable Fashion, focusing on that diverts importance externally and can narrow perspectives. 

With Denuo, we believe that active participation, an informed voice, creative expression, and exemplary practice, is a mark of relevance in the Fashion industry - an inclusive acknowledgement of all the component industries that support fashion.  What we’re dispelling is the misconception that Sustainable Fashion is a branch away from the existing Fashion industry when in fact, it has always been a strategic practice to stir the globalized fashion industry back to the excellence of Fashion.  And, if finding clarity in the now muddled “green talk” rampant on marketing schemes is a goal, we suggest that understanding clarity of intention is the place to start. 

Like they say, “it’s just the tip of the iceberg”.  Alongside our own research and development as a brand, we are placing our feet into this scene; writing about our perspectives and intentions are meant to contribute to the development of others.  It’s important for Denuo to provide this form of support in what many (small or big) ways we can.  We hope that in this avenue, we can be a repository of data and insight for the (fashion) curious - an additional measure to ensure that whatever influence we have is responsible and connected to our own practice.