Once upon a time, in Poblacion, Makati was a vintage store called Glorious Dias. Patrons, however, knew it was more than that. The store was small barely a few strides, wall to wall, but boy oh boy were the treasures it held. It might as well have been a museum with all its vintage Filipino designer ternos. All-around creative Jodinand Aguillon was the man behind the concept.
Earlier in the pandemic, Glorious Dias had to close down. Since then, Aguillon had reverted operations online, at first only on Instagram but now it has a growing website. In it, he puts up *real* vintage clothes, from men’s Hawaiian shirts to women’s power tops from the ’70s and ’80s. On the side, as part of his own curatorial project of archiving deadstock barong and other traditional textiles, Aguillon repurposes these fabrics into modern silhouettes like aprons and pinafore dresses and even accessories like scrunchies.
From going through personal collections and raiding closets pre-pandemic, Aguillon now spends most of his time sourcing online, scouring Facebook groups and DM-ing online thrift stores for inventory. In this interview, we talk about his relationship with the clothes he cares for, hoping they will find new homes and new owners and create new narratives.
Congrats on the website!
Oh, gosh, yeah, what took me so long? I’m still a dinosaur on it. But it’s fun. It’s like my own little private island. I own an island.
How was it though? Are you like working on your own? Or do you have a consultant specific for the website?
I do have a friend who’s kind of like doing some of the backend stuff. We’ve got it set up and going. But as far as like, layout, and customizations, and handling any customer care on the back end, that’s still me. But yeah, it’s been a very, very fun experiment. And I wish I had started sooner.
Talk to us about your new way of sourcing online. How is it? I heard you went through Carousell, through Facebook marketplace.
Buying vintage online for resale is a lot more difficult because of the price margin, it would make me seem so expensive for it to make sense. And I’ve obviously looked into like wholesale and bulk buying. But a lot of local sellers are also not equipped with enough inventory that I would pick. I just asked for an Excel spreadsheet with photos, sizes, and ideal prices. And then we talk from there we have a conversation. I mean, it can take it could take a couple of weeks before I actually posted online.
Do you find that during the quarantine and the people are off into like more open to letting go of stuff?
I don’t know. I mean, there have been people who like obviously decluttering, purging, learning to live with less. But to be quite honest, upon my own experience. I’m not necessarily letting go. It’s survival. Pero before quarantine and all of this happened, I had to let go of a lot of books, a lot of collectibles, a lot of like my abubots. Those were the first thing that I was just like “Sige na nga.” I’m still desperately trying to hang on to a few until like that point where it’s like, “Okay, you really have to let go.” But yeah, I think it has been an interesting time for reflecting on objects, things, and their meanings, what they mean to you, what value or what perceived value do they have to other people, to yourself, to a community of collectors.
Even without a physical space, Glorious Dias has strived to stay. You did a few pop-ups in Escolta and Futurist in Poblacion. How was that experience like?
Both felt right at the time. I was mentally ready. I was equipped with the inventory. It was an amazing opportunity with Futurist because they allowed me to kind of release a capsule collection of reworked vintage. So it wasn’t just mga items that are as it was, like releasing kind of a new experiment, working with indigenous textiles, reworking other vintage pieces into the silhouettes that we like as well. So that was really fun.
That was a real challenging way to be creative again. Or it was a wonderful opportunity to look and reevaluate at the inventory we added we had on hand and to I guess, stretch a reimagine its possibilities.
In terms of sales, do you notice that even if there is no occasion to dress up for, do people still buy clothes? And what do you make sense of that?
I get goosebumps, as you asked that because I think the fact that people are buying clothes, not for occasions but because they’re beautiful, tells me that the community is hopeful. We’re still looking to tomorrow, we’re still looking to that special day to that coming whatever it might be. So when I see something like a fancy vintage gown sell that is probably not practical. It’s not practical right now, but it is it’s symbolic. It means something, it means the future. And if we could do that through old things, that’s beautiful.
Do you personally subscribe to that kind of mindset that there’s a reason to dress up eventually in the future so you save up all these clothes for yourself?
Not necessarily to that particular mantra, but I subscribe to dressing better than you feel. It’s not necessarily even dressing up for the special occasion that’s coming up. It’s about like, what if I have another shitty day? What if I have another like, another wonk-wonk day? Or I’m feeling off or I’m feeling under? And I can like “Oh, right, I have that thing that I can put on.” That might make me feel a little better because I’m going to Instagram it and everyone that I haven’t been talking to is going to like it and comment and suddenly I’ll feel validated and have some sort of social interaction. Sure, why not? But yeah, I mean, I also subscribe to dressing for yourself, dressing because of how clothes should make you feel not only look. It should also embody or give you a sense of a feeling that matches how you feel inside or can elevate or magnify how you feel inside. So usually if I look really really good, I probably am having a bad day.
What do you miss most about being outside? Like I know you sometimes go out pa rin naman but being outside carefree, like being freely able to dress up outside.
What do I miss? I mean, as much as I love fashion and dressing up, I actually love dressing down. I want to wear sunshine. I want to wear the sun. I want to wear sand. I want to wear saltwater waterfalls. I want to wear leaves and dirt.
I love special occasions. Absolutely. And dressing up. It’s fun. It can also be stressful, to be quite honest, to the point where I’ll take an hour to pick out an outfit. Not that I’m very picky. But it’s like I rarely dress up. But when I dress up, I’m pretty picky. I want to feel a certain way and that reflects how I look. And, of course, how I look has to be on point. It’s a lot of fun. It’s not that serious. Sometimes to the point where you’re paralyzed that you end up just staying home. “Yeah, I’m good. I don’t need to I don’t need to go out.”