Youths convene to change fashion

In the current system where consumption is predominant in fashion, small youth voices emerge to change the narrative
Davao City youths swap clothes, stories and experiences about sustainability to promote a meaningful understanding of fashion. In Unstitch, guests brought gently used clothes they no longer wear and traded them for new-to-them items from each other’s wardrobes. It’s a win-win for style and the environment.
Davao City youths swap clothes, stories and experiences about sustainability to promote a meaningful understanding of fashion. In Unstitch, guests brought gently used clothes they no longer wear and traded them for new-to-them items from each other’s wardrobes. It’s a win-win for style and the environment.

Jesse Boga Madriaga loves fashion. He enjoys wearing fun outfits for night outs with his besties and donning the best gear for his athletic endeavors. He also knows that fashion is harming the environment.

“Clothing is a basic need and it also fulfills so many creative desires and aspirations,” he said. Being a member of the Global Shapers Community, he also identifies his important role as a citizen in fashion’s long and elaborate value chain: to make sure that his consumption patterns don’t contribute detriment to the environment. “The clothes that we wear, unfortunately, also really take a lot from nature. A single t-shirt, for example, takes 2,700 liters of water to produce. That’s a lot of water and it’s hard to imagine that fashion uses so much when the resources are scarce for many other communities in the world.”

Davao City youths swap clothes, stories and experiences about sustainability to promote a meaningful understanding of fashion. In Unstitch, guests brought gently used clothes they no longer wear and traded them for new-to-them items from each other’s wardrobes. It’s a win-win for style and the environment.
Davao City youths swap clothes, stories and experiences about sustainability to promote a meaningful understanding of fashion. In Unstitch, guests brought gently used clothes they no longer wear and traded them for new-to-them items from each other’s wardrobes. It’s a win-win for style and the environment.

Jesse points to global conversations about sustainability when he participates in fashion. “It can be very difficult to understand everything all at once,” he said. “But it doesn’t have to be this way. Through storytelling, we can all create a shared understanding of fashion and our roles in it.”

This is the reasoning behind the Unstitch: Sustainable Fashion Forum, a citizen-led initiative by the Global Shapers Davao Hub, which sought to reimagine fashion experiences and engagements in the community through a clothing swap party and storytelling sessions. The event took place in Poblacion Market Central in time for Fashion Revolution Week, a global movement that promotes sustainable fashion.

"Unstitch is a continuing effort to make fashion inclusive and sustainability conversations more accessible, relatable, and meaningful through storytelling," said Jesse. He is also a 2023 fellow of the Next Gen Assembly (Global Fashion Agenda Academy). "Stories give us the confidence that we can all contribute and participate in fashion that serves the people and our planet."

Participants of Unstitch – citizens, bloggers, and local sustainability advocates–came together to exchange garments, share styling tips, and spark meaningful conversations about their unique experiences of sustainable fashion. Storytelling was the highlight experience of Unstitch. The public forum featured voices from diverse sectors, including fashion, government, the academe, and the community.

"As environmental stewards, we always say that we should do our own environmental housekeeping. While we should all take care of Mother Earth, but we should concentrate our efforts in taking care and nurturing our immediate environment," said Atty. Ma. Mercedes V. Dumagan, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Davao Region OIC - Regional Executive Director through a speech delivered by Mr. Al Bejelke Zarasate, DENR Davao Region Chief of Human Resource Development.

Atty. Dumagan also added: "Let's embrace fashion with a purpose. Let's choose clothing that reflects not just our personal style, but also our commitment to a healthy planet and a just world."

Davao City government officials also actively participated in discussions about sustainable fashion at Unstitch.

Councilor Pilar Braga, head of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology, Arts and Culture, voiced her support through a message. She challenged those in the fashion industry to consider a deeper purpose: How can fashion benefit a society facing challenges?

"To make fashion sustainable, we need to educate people about society and our roles within it. In these difficult times, fashion should encourage healthier, longer, and happier lives," Councilor Braga said.

Councilor Temujin Ocampo, who chairs the Environment and Natural Resources committee, emphasized the importance of integrating sustainability into our values.

"Sustainability isn't a fad, it's a moral duty, something we owe to our planet and future generations. Let's choose fashion that looks good and does good," he said.

The forum included conversations between fashion leaders, academics, and community representatives. Participants included Emi Englis, President of the Davao Fashion Design Council; Dr. Dennis Sumaylo, Humanities Chair at the University of the Philippines Mindanao; and Ms. Jovana Cresta Duhaylungsod, Spokesperson and Manager of the Public Information and Relations Division of the Davao City Water District.

The Davao Digital Creators and Davao Bloggers Society played a crucial role by organizing styling sessions, a clothing swap, and a runway show, all documented by photo and video production house Micromedia Productions. Foodpanda and San Miguel Brewery sponsored the event.

The event took place at Poblacion Market Central, a venue steeped in Davao City's history, known for its local textiles, antiques, and pearl shops, and a champion of sustainable fashion for over five decades. The lively atmosphere continued until closing time with a DJ set by Cheekie Albay.

"Alsons Dev is proud to partner with Global Shapers Davao Hub for Unstitch," said Jolla A. Soriaga, AVP for Business Dev of Alsons Development and Investment Corporation. "Poblacion Market Central is not only a launchpad for small businesses but also a welcoming space for creative communities to gather and support important causes like sustainable fashion. We're honored to be part of this collective effort to drive positive change in our community."

(The fashion conversations continue: follow @unstitchph on social media. Photos by Micromedia Productions). This article is submitted by the Global Shapers Davao Hub exclusively for Sunstar Davao.

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