In fashion where newness matters and banality’s a sin, it is a relief to know that sustainability is being embraced not just as a trend but as a design philosophy. The heightened consciousness on environmental issues has paved the catwalk for designers to assess how much their work impacts nature, making them consider factors like the source and durability of their fabric/materials, who would work for them, and whether to recycle or up-cycle.
At the recent Glamorous in Green Fashion Show celebrating Sustainable Fashion Week in San Francisco, two Filipinas (Fil-Ams) walked the green carpet – fashion designer Crisanta Malig, and model Trina Soledad. Greenphils scored an interview with these two ladies.
Let’s get to know them both.
Crisanta Malig, Fashion Designer. Born in Angeles City, Philippines, Crisanta moved to and started her own business in the US in 1979. For a time, she worked at New York Fabrics as a Workshop Instructor and taught dressmaking. In 1993, she founded Fashion Arts and Youth Enterprise to help young, emerging fashion artists develop their artistic abilities by teaching them the art of Fashion and the fundamentals of Visual Art. The young artists, ages 5-18, learn how to make casual and evening attires, costumes, doll outfits, and purses. A fashion show, featuring the students’ works and with their friends and families as guests, marks the end of each program.
Who is Crisanta, the Designer?
Crisanta: Fashion Designing and sewing are the major elements of my life. I started sewing at the age of 5. Growing up with limited resources, I taught myself how to design and sew because I cannot afford to go to a fashion designing school in the Philippines.
My design philosophy and aesthetic are using whatever materials I have on hand. When I started working at JC Penney’s window covering department in 1994, I was inspired by the beauty and elegance of window covering fabrics. The valances in different shapes and the way they draped intrigued me. My imagination starts visualizing them and begin draping them in a dress form.
How do you advocate sustainability in the fashion industry?
Crisanta: The collection that I showcased at Fashion Community Week SF (FCWSF) is made from window coverings samples given to me through the years I have worked as a window covering specialist. I have been using this beautiful window covering panels and valances to create my collections like the one I have presented at the recent “Glamorous in Green” Show by Sustainable Fashion Week. My latest collection incorporates sustainability – basically transforming window fashion to a wearable art on the runway.
As a designer, I believe I have to think outside the box and be creative enough to recycle fabrics and reinvent- convert these from its original forms into a beautiful and wearable collection.
What are your plans as far as sustainable fashion is concerned?
Crisanta: I hope that the San Francisco fashion industry will be more proactive by helping fashion designers, manufacturers and people who work in the industry. Our continuous collaboration and partnerships will help elevate one another and eventually, become the same level as the NY and LA fashion scene. Also, we will have the grand opening of my Crisanta Couture Fashion showroom on November 1st from 12-8pm at 6725 Mission St. in Daly City.
Trina Soledad, Model. Originally from Manila, Trina has moved to California where she not only models, but also works as a Correspondent/Segment Host/Writer at Power ng Pinoy, and as a Correspondent/Writer for the Global Filipino Network. She is also a Fashion-Fitness-Food Columnist for FilAm Star Newspaper, and is the woman behind Fit Chef for Life ™.
When did you start as a model for eco-fashion?
Trina: Since Fall 2013, I have been modeling and proudly representing the plus-size women on the runway. Crisanta Malig and I started working together this summer. She appointed me to be her official “brand ambassador”. Last September, I wore a dress from her “sustainable” fashion collection for the “Glamorous in Green” Fashion Show in San Francisco.
How do you find the “green” experience?
Trina: It was my first time wearing an eco-friendly dress! The top was made from window valance and the skirt was from a window curtain. I love how she recycles fabrics and convert them into something unique, elegant and wearable. She is such a talented designer and also environment-friendly. She never throws any fabric, lace or patchwork – nothing is ever wasted. Crisanta has been an eco-friendly designer throughout the years and I am honored to represent her brand.
What are your plans as a model for sustainable fashion?
Trina: I will continue supporting and endorsing every piece of garment that Crisanta will create in the future. I am proud to wear her designs on and off the runway. I applaud Crisanta because she has been creating sustainable fashion from the get-go. She is truly a great example to the young designers out there, an inspiration, for sure.
In the world of fashion where beauty takes center, let the lenses also focus on the grandest masterpiece that is nature. Fashion is in, fashion is becoming green. We all do not want to walk towards humankind’s grand finale. Sustainability is key. The designers and models of the world are catching up to this perma-fashion philosophy. As they become more eco-conscious, so should we. There are now more up-cycled/recycled fashion to advocate. Choose right. Let’s all do our share.
What’s your take on sustainable fashion? Share your insights below!