Garbo: Sustainable and stylish clothing for an older clientele

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AIMING to address ageism, two young fashion students sought to highlight the beauty and power of women who age gracefully through a collection of locally produced stylish and sustainable wardrobe staples.

Jao San Pedro and Celine Mallari, graduating students from the Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) Program of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), launched Garbo, an brand focusing on handmade, sophisticated yet comfortable ready-to-wear pieces for women aged 55 to 70. It debuted with an 11-piece Resort 2019 capsule collection.

“We’ve always looked up to older women as our style icons and we grew frustrated with the industry constantly undermining them,” the duo said. “They’ve made ageing into an insecurity, when it is in fact a beautiful thing. It’s a market we’ve found and it just made sense for us to want to dress the women we love so much.”

Garbo’s initial line taps 2020’s fashion trends — organic and biodegradable materials, undyed color, and simplified manufacturing processes.

In earth and neutral tones for easy matching, the collection includes a silk slip dress, a penguin dress, a caftan, a balloon top, a curved skirt, a dolman jacket, paper bag trousers, and cut-out shirts and jackets.

Garbo used various sustainable materials such as silk, cotton, and linen, in particular using local deadstock US linen. In future garments, the designers aim to highlight the craftsmanship of Filipino weavers and to source Global Organic Textile Standard-approved bio-flax Italian and Japanese yarns from eco-friendly farms that do not use harmful fertilizers or chemical herbicides.




San Pedro and Mallari chose to introduce Garbo as a slow fashion brand, as opposed to fast fashion. “Our customers can easily pre-order the garments released in stores or through our website,” they said. “This ensures we do not produce more than necessary and end up with tons of fabric waste that pollutes landfills. This set-up also guarantees our brand value stays up as low supply equates to exclusivity.”

Garbo pieces will be available for purchase starting August.

The debut line was part of the sprawling display of ensembles in Sinulid: Prologue, a large-scale exhibition that gave a sneak-peek to the talents of Benilde’s emerging artists,

Next up is Sinulid: Altered Translation, from July 17 to 22 at the SM Aura Premier Atrium, and a fashion show on July 18 at the Samsung Hall.

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