Sustainability is trendy, and the fashion industry is not turning a blind eye on efforts to curb excessive waste.
Alyssa Lagon, 19, an up-and-coming fashion entrepreneur, has started her own label, Tela, with the goal of helping save the planet. Tela is Filipino for fabric or textile.
Lagon is a scion of the family that owns Bayo, one of the biggest homegrown fashion brands in the Philippines.
The communications technology management student at the Ateneo de Manila University is hoping to change the fashion game in the country by incorporating sustainability and style in Tela.
“I grew up in the environment of fabrics,” Lagon says. “I noticed the textile scraps, and I thought, ‘What can I do with these?’ I realized I could turn it into a brand.”
Lagon’s design aesthetic is strongly influenced by her love of travel. She also took a short course at the prestigious London College of Fashion. Her Tela collection is comprised of pastel pieces—wardrobe staples for students and working women.
Bayo Foundation, which supports Filipino craftsmanship and ingenuity by promoting sustainable projects, sends scrap fabrics to a local community in Argao, Cebu, which weaves the scrap materials into new fabric.
Tela is the first fashion brand to make use of those upcycled fabrics. Every Tela piece is biodegradable, and is crafted from upcycled fabrics from the Bayo factory. Every element is 100-percent environment-friendly, including the hang tags made of seed paper, which can be planted.
Lagon’s three collections—Refresh, Revive and Renew—have distinct qualities. Refresh spotlights fabrics with natural fibers. Revive promotes the Filipino talent in traditional weaving, while Renew is about repurposing recycled fabrics.
Lagon is now looking into expanding by partnering with other sustainable brands.
“We try our best to lessen the waste since we do everything in-house,” Lagon says. “I think we’re getting there. There’s still a lot of awareness that needs to be done.” —CONTRIBUTED
Tela Instagram @tela.mnl; Tela pop-up store ongoing until Sept. 16 at the Retail section of Manila House, 8/F Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, BGC