With a branch in nearly every mall across the country, there's no doubt that local label Bayo is well-loved. They're widely known for their affordable dainty basics, ladylike separates, and that oh-so-nostalgic powder-fresh fragrance gently wafting about each store, but now, they've made a move that's truly unforgettable.
It's official: Bayo is taking the first step to sustainable fashion via the Journey to Zero initiative! Through it, the brand aims to raise awareness and promote Earth-friendly consumer practices, and reduce textile waste by transforming fabric scraps into stylish clothing pieces perfect for daily wear. Watch the video below to find out how it happens.
Here, we stop for a chat with Louie Lagon, Managing Director of Bayo Foundation, to shed some light on this noble-hearted movement.
Was there a specific catalyst that triggered the action towards Journey to Zero? How did the initiative begin?
The mountain of trash that accumulates in our factory every day was the main catalyst that triggered Journey to Zero. We started our intitiative by reducing waste from a high of 35-40% down to 25%, installing advanced softwares to maximize usage of fabrics—but this is not enough, since we are still throwing 25% of our produce. So, we decided to look for ways to upcycle the textile scraps. Bayo Foundation's program on sustainability is the platform that paved the way for us to look for partners to help with our objectives. We needed to look for a community and support its livelihood program, and at the same time use Journey to Zero as the driving force to achieve our goal of a more sustainable process in our production.
Bayo Foundation initially supported the weaving community in Argao, Cebu. The textile scraps from the manufacturing arm of Bayo and our other affiliate brands were donated to the foundation. After the upcycling process of hand weaving by the Argao community, Bayo Foundation would buy the fabrics back and sell them to any well-minded individual or enterprise willing to adopt sustainability as a way of doing business. All proceeds will be used to fund the foundation's scholarship program.
From the current starting point, how long do you think it will take 'til Bayo is 100% sustainable?
While going for the 100% sustainable business model is our end goal, we are still far from it. What’s good, however, is that we’re making excellent progress to minimize our waste as much as we can. To be honest, the only way to achieve 100% sustainability is to stop selling clothes altogether. This, no matter how simple it may seem, is unfortunately not the solution. Doing this would simply make way for other companies to take advantage of the demand and produce clothes to fill in that gap, since there’s still a big demand for clothing no matter how it’s produced.
With the resources, connections, and experience that Bayo has accumulated over the years, we believe we can take matters into our own hands and push for sustainability in a slow but sure way—in a manner that can make it last in the long run, and not just for show. I believe looking at the progress we’re making and finding ways to maintain this, instead of the 100% end goal, is what should be our current focus and priority.
Do tell us how Journey to Zero benefits Philippine weavers and artisans.
Weavers and artisans are the first beneficiaries of this intitiative. When Bayo Foundation sends them the scraps to be woven into new fabrics, we provide a source of livelihood to them. The guarantee that Bayo Foundation will buy back those fabrics is the missing link which will make weaving an excellent profession. Because of the stability it offers in terms of income, it will encourage others to take up weaving again, thus ensuring the preservation of culture from one generation to the other.
Is the process of creating upcycled fabric from scraps difficult? What is the method used?
Weaving is one of the major processes of our upcycling. It's a piece of Filipino heritage that we would like to support so that it becomes again a main part of the fashion industry. It is a well-respected craft that requires not just skill but also the right amount of dedication and appreciation of our old traditions.
There are other ways of upcycling and Bayo Foundation will continuously research on them with the goal of making those practices available for others to follow. After all, for sustainability to become common practice, we'll need the cooperation of the whole community.
Who are the affiliated brands working with the Bayo Foundation on this initiative?
The first sustainable brand to use the upcycled fabrics from the foundation is Tela.