Jodinand Aguillon of vintage outlet Glorious Dias muses on the shifting landscapes of secondhand and reworked.
“The apartment was filled with clothes,” says Jodinand Aguillon. He’s describing the aftermath of physically closing shop for Glorious Dias, the vintage and rework brand he owns. The pandemic forced him to give up his Poblacion space, resulting in mountains of vintage wares scattered around his home.
To keep the business running, the artist and entrepreneur listed items for sale on Instagram Stories. (He called it “Story-Story Store,” a pun on “sari-sari store,” which are casual retail points found in almost every street of the Philippines.) Jodee, as he is called by friends, was surprised to find fun and success in online selling, a medium that intimidated him at first.
It wasn’t long before his pile of unsold items grew. Eventually, this would prompt him to launch the second of Glorious Dias’ twofold ethos: rework.
He views reworking as an ingrained Filipino practice. After all, he says, we turn t-shirts into rags that won’t ever make it into the garbage bin. Gravitating toward silhouettes he calls “glamorous aprons or pang-Zoom,” Jodee was inspired by his own experience of having to quickly throw something on his body every time the doorbell rang for a delivery. He would gather vintage bedsheets, pillowcases, tablecloths, and curtains, and would fashion them into pinafore tops and dasters (loose-fitting house dresses).
He borrows design elements from the traditional Filipino kimona, a short blouse with cap sleeves that usually comes embroidered or embellished.
For Jodee, rework is a utilitarian way to spin unique and sturdy fabric into something wearable, functional, and beautiful. Having honed an instinctive eye for vintage, it’s easy for Jodee to identify which pieces merit a new form, and which are worthy of being preserved in their original construction. “If it’s vintage Filipiniana, I don’t touch it,” he asserts.
He’s especially adamant about preserving well-crafted, tailored Filipiniana gowns, citing a recent acquisition: a 1950s wedding terno with an ultra-fine lace veil that he surmises is handmade. “Even if it’s damaged, it’s powerful to see a garment and its construction, and just appreciate that something’s lasted that long.”
Keeping this in mind, Jodee continues to maintain room for exception. He has a stock of unwearable Filipiniana clothes, units of torn-up and stained barong that are no longer physically wearable. The fragility of the organic fiber makes it impossible to put on, having the tendency to split and rip. So Jodee took what was salvageable of the garment and turned it into earrings, with the goal of bringing Filipino heritage into everyday life.
Loving our own
Looking back, his love for Filipino culture was informed by his diasporic background, which took shape when his family moved to Alberta, Canada, when he was four. They were the only Filipinos in the small town of Sherwood Park. He shares, “I think my love for Filipino heritage and Filipino things and Filipino-isms comes from so much of my life being away from it, not being connected to it.”
Now based in Makati, and more immersed in traditional and contemporary Filipino culture, Jodee still notices a persisting hesitation toward secondhand and reworked clothing.
He cites our love of balikbayan boxes brought in by relatives abroad, how it feeds the natural, human desire for new things. He also points out our superstitious and animistic nature, our habit of imposing meaning onto secondhand things, believing them to carry unwanted energies or spirits.
What has effectively shifted this mindset, particularly for millennial and Generation Z consumers, is the culture of reselling on Instagram. Jodee feels that the social media application has made reselling, and even rewearing, a convention. “Now we’re all shifting into outfit repeaters,” he exclaims. “It’s like, yes! That should have been a thing a long time ago!”
Curiously, being online has also become a way for Jodee to attract “the right energy.” Based on experience, he gets in return what he puts out there. When he comes across a vintage or reworked item, its history doesn’t matter. Jodee believes that you become worthy of a piece when you are able to recontextualize what it means to you. He believes that when you approach secondhand items with good intentions and a pure heart, you attract abundance.
“I swear to goodness,” Jodee starts, wide-eyed. “These things find me.”
This article was originally published in Vogue Philippines‘ November 2022 issue. Copies are available here.
Photography: Jo Ann Bitagcol, Fashion Editor: Daryl Chang, Producer: Anz Hizon, Production Design: Justine Arcega Bumanlag