Just Do It: This Stylist-Led Upcycling Workshop Made Sustainability More Personal

Upcycling? Get into it already.

Together with conscious and committed designers Rik Rasos of Proud Race and Russell Villafuerte of Strong Village, stylist and editor Lyn Alumno showed guests at the newly opened Nike Fort store that personal efforts at sustainability can both be compelling and creative.

Over the last few years, it has been made known that fashion is one of, if not the biggest contributor to the exacerbations of climate change. To its credit though, there have been steps taken to curb the irreversible effects of its ways and wastes to the world we live in. But aside from simply slapping on such buzzwords as eco, organic, and vegan, incorporating recycled, repurposed, and reworked materials and fabrics, and exploring circularity in fashion, the efforts are more strategic than significant. This isn’t in any way to completely villainize the fashion industry, because for every corporation notorious for watering down sustainability to a sweeping statement, there are those tirelessly working to recalibrate their systems to address the demands of the future. From cornerstones committed to zero wastes and fair working conditions, and individuals pushing back against the ways of the past, there is still hope.

Take stylist and NYLON Manila’s Fashion and Beauty Editor Lyn Alumno for example. Ever since she made a splash in the local scene for edgy and energetic take on Filipino fashion, it has been a conscious effort on her end to include sustainability in the language of her works. Aside from almost never buying new materials for her gigs, a growing list of clients and brands that include Nadine Lustre, Mimiyuuuh, and Nike, she has encourage the creatives she works with to be more mindful of the carbon footprint of their expressions.

No mere lip service on her end, Lyn Alumno rounded up Rik Rasos of Proud Race and Russell Villafuerte of Strong Village at the newly opened Nike Fort store to school an earnest and eager crowd on sustainability in an upcycling workshop.

Sustainability: A Dialogue Of Style And Substance

While advocates have challenged fashion to go above and beyond to empower sustainability, others have sought out to redefine the parameters to further make the pressing issue for accessible and less of a myth that some chalk it to be. A step in this direction is through upcycling, or a creative reuse and thoughtful transformation of by-products, waste, useless, or unwanted products into new materials. In other words, it is giving new life to what is otherwise and often unfairly branded old.

An authentic voice in the growing conversation of sustainability in local fashion, Lyn Alumno, together with Rik Rasos and Russell Villafuerte took the community in attendance at Nike Fort that weekend mid-morning to an inspiring and educational journey of realization and reworking. Here, they shared through their experiences that sustainability is a lifestyle with creative outcomes.

And as host of the affair, Nike is no stranger to sustainability, because in pursuit of bettering the world in its own way, it has gone deeper into the expansion of production from recycled plastic-crafted products and consumer transparency to more quantitative undertakings such as carbon emission and water reduction. This response to the growing concerns of climate change and consumerism has energized the iconic sportswear and lifestyle brand to innovate beyond products, which now includes fundamental and systemic changes to their production and ethos, as well as interesting initiatives to enact change at a grassroots level.

The Upside Of Upcycling

With an enthusiastic vibe coursing through the experience studio, the push for sustainability through a dialogue of style and substance commenced. Soundtracked by the chatter of the crowd and the humming of the sewing machines, the likes of Nadine Lustre, Kiana Valenciano, and DJ Nix Damn P hunkered down and made magic with seasonal cast-offs such as sneakers, mesh bags, socks, and more in the mix. Cutting, sewing, and patching through the rest of the activity, the creative juices definitely flowed, revealing finished products that included criss-cross bra tops, plushies, and workwear-inspired bags.

And to proudly show off their work, the guests flocked to the forest-inspired vignette designed by Rocket Sets, which also was in itself a vision of upcycling come to life through old socks, sneakers, and jerseys. Consistency? Definitely so.

Just Do It

More often than not, reading through the harrowing of climate change, emissions, and waste can get depressing, with many feeling helpless at the pressing and persistent issue of epic proportions. Now, while we certainly cannot solve all of the world’s problems in a morning, it doesn’t mean that a ripple of change didn’t happen. In fact, by the readiness seen at the Nike Fort experience studio that day, there were considerable realizations made that in small and sure ways, sustainability can be made more possible as a growing lifestyle.

It may just be repurposed plushies or reworked bra-tops today, but if that means one less thing thrown to waste, then that’s step in the right direction. And when more follow suit, maybe, just maybe, the future won’t be so grim after all.

Photography by Lester Victoriano

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