Making Mother Nature proud with patchwork fashionBy Linda B. Bolido
Philippine Daily Inquirer
When Phillip Torres says his Retazzo items are one of a kind, believe it. Even if he wanted to, he cannot duplicate any piece he has done.
As the name suggests, Retazzo products use scraps of fabrics left after garments are made. So there is no telling what colorful and unique combinations will figure in a money belt, necklace, collar, jacket or shawl, some of the things Torres’ team makes. Even if he uses the same fabric combination, he cannot expect the same sizes and shapes to make an exact replica of a finished product.
Torres, who trained as a designer at the fashion school Slims, started Retazzo several years ago. He says, “I have always dreamed of having an accessories line [to complement the clothes I make].”
Until then, Torres’ design house, Pret-a-Porter, focused on creating ready-to-wear and formal gowns for fashionistas in Angeles City and other parts of Pampanga province.
A couple of decades of dressmaking gave Torres sacks and sacks of small pieces of fabrics, remains of materials used for his clients. With the 3Rs—reduce, reuse and recycle—becoming the politically correct mantra in an increasingly environment-conscious world, Torres decided it was time to join the chanting and do his share for Mother Nature. And Retazzo was born.
People who took up home economics will recognize some of the stuff Torres uses for his patchwork accessories—the stitches, the balls and the flat circles, for instance. The new line is quite labor intensive as most of the accents cannot be done well with a sewing machine.
Torres trained a new set of people for the Retazzo line, recruiting homemakers, out-of-school youth and other people who needed sources of livelihood, providing employment to members of his community.
He works out the designs and the sewers turn them into patchwork bags, dresses, skirts, bags, jackets, even aprons.
At the moment, Retazzo products are available only in Torres’ Angeles shop. But he hopes to go further afield. “Maybe in the future, the business will grow… so I can have a boutique or supply some stores in Manila and Boracay.” He also dreams of bringing his products to the international market.
The minimum price for a Retazzo skirt is P1,500; for a dress, P2,000; a jacket, P3,500; a gown, P5,000; a bag, P800; a pair of palazzo pants, P2,500: and a shawl, P1,000.
Retazzo and Pret-a-Porter are on Santo Rosario St., Angeles City; tel. 045-3221765 or 0918-9364240.
PHOTOS BY LINDA B. BOLIDO