Made-to-order period underwear and clothes that won’t end up as waste | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Made-to-order period underwear and clothes that won’t end up as waste
Camille Escudero, founder of Lily of the Valley —PHOTOS BY RUTH L. NAVARRA
Made-to-order period underwear and clothes that won’t end up as waste
Camille Escudero, founder of Lily of the Valley —PHOTOS BY RUTH L. NAVARRA

Bespoke is better when it comes to sustainability—and even underwear.

“Far too many textiles end up in trash bins and landfills, regularly thrown away with household waste,” said Sweden Ambassador Annika Thunborg in a speech during the launch of “Fashion Forever” at SM Aura on Sept. 8. The traveling exhibit ran until Sept. 14, and was presented by the Embassy of Sweden to promote responsible fashion.

Thunborg continues, “Upcycling, reusing and eventually recycling, rather than using up even more virgin resources, are some of the ways for the fashion industry to become good for the planet.”

On display were several panels of information about circular fashion that were put up using recycled wooden frames. Even ideas in the experimental stage were presented, such as a paper dress dyed to breathe new life into it.

Technology is viewed as a friend rather than a threat. One panel was dedicated to technology, where artificial intelligence can be used to identify hotspots for companies so they can produce what is needed in the area, rather than blindly creating items that will end up in landfills. H&M uses the AI Movebox to find those hotspots. Digital dyeing is also a preferred method as it reduces water wastage and chemical use by as much as 90 percent.

Made-to-order period underwear and clothes that won’t end up as waste
H&M’s Dan Mejia, Sweden Ambassador Annika Thunborg and SM Supermalls senior vice president for marketing Jonjon San Agustin —SWEDEN EMBASSY

Mindful practices

The exhibit featured successful companies with mindful practices. Swedish denim brand Nudie has an interesting business model. Each pair of pants they sell comes with free repair service. When it’s all worn out and you want to replace it, you get a discount for a new one, and the fabric for the old one is used as patching material or made into new products.

The exhibit made suggestions on how to move away from the linear economy, where products are produced, used and thrown away as waste. The idea is to create a circular model where a single service can be replicated for several individuals.

Made-to-order pieces are also encouraged to avoid excess production. The idea is to choose high quality materials and craftsmanship that lasts versus fast fashion.

Camille Escudero, founder of Lily of the Valley, created period underwear and cloth pads. She said that period underwear can be used as support to menstrual cups or on its own. She created it first for her friends and family, and the idea caught on.

“I interviewed so many women and I found out that a lot of them have anxiety from unwanted leaks and irritation with the wings from the pads, or from it moving. That’s how period underwear started, but later on, we wanted to take away disposable napkins and make underwear that you can bleed into,” she said.

Made-to-order period underwear and clothes that won’t end up as waste
“Fashion Forever” is a traveling exhibit meant to encourage sustainability in the fashion industry.

Washed and reused

What makes her brand different from those found in the international market is that she uses natural fibers such as a bamboo cotton blend. Escudero also customizes innerwear. She said that the challenge of her product is overcoming the thought that period blood is dirty when it’s not. The underwear she makes is meant to be washed and reused. The only downside to this practice is that you have to carry several pieces and a bag to store them when you change. But it’s a conscious effort to minimize personal waste. A sanitary napkin can take 500 to 800 years to break down. Lily of the Valley doesn’t just make period underwear. They make fashionable innerwear, such as nursing bras, performance wear and incontinence panties. All of the pieces are made-to-measure.

Escudero is part of the Sweden Alumni Network who studied sustainability in fashion and textile. A classmate under that program is Zarah Juan, who was also chosen as an exhibitor for her bags that support Filipino culture and sustainable sources.

The Metaverse Design Story collection of H&M was also on display to showcase that exciting fashion can be achieved using recycled fabric, sequins, rhinestones and beads.

“There are still a lot of challenges in the business model. Right now, majority is still working on a linear business model,” said Dan Mejia, H&M South Asia’s regional head of communications and PR.

He added that they find loopholes in the process, but they take it seriously. He said that solutions will happen when people work together, rather than being on their own.

“Fashion Forever” is heading to Cebu to join the Design Week in November. INQ


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