Raising Hope: Redefining Style with Women Fashion Changemakers
Fashion

Raising Hope: Redefining Style with Women Fashion Changemakers

Art by Goldie Siglos

Vogue Philippines celebrates International Women’s Day through “Raising Hope,” in a call for nominations of inspiring women. These inspirational women in the fashion industry empower others not only through their style, but also through their advocacies. 

Women influence everything in fashion: from design, to production, to marketing, to consumption. The presence of women in the fashion industry helps shape the industry’s cultural landscape, influencing everything from body positivity and inclusivity to sustainability and ethical practices. These women in fashion pave the way for a more inclusive, equitable, and dynamic industry, inspiring consumers to embrace their identities and express themselves more authentically. 

Joy Anya Lim, Nominated by Jessica Ouano

Courtesy of Joy Anya Lim

The founder of ANTHILL Fabric Gallery, Joy Anya Lim, is a source of inspiration for nominator Jessica Ouano. According to Ouano, Lim’s work with ANTHILL Fabric Gallery holds immense significance in preserving Philippine culture, empowering artisans, and fostering sustainable livelihoods. Through her dedication and expertise in social enterprise and communications for social change, she has spearheaded numerous initiatives that uplift artisans and celebrate Philippine heritage. 

By providing platforms for artisans and designers to showcase their talents, offering training opportunities, and encouraging innovation in circular design, Lim has not only created economic opportunities but also nurtured creativity and sustainability within local communities. Her storytelling prowess has further amplified the appreciation for Philippine culture and craftsmanship, inspiring a movement that sees local fashion brands embracing Philippine handwoven textiles. 

“She continues to not only inspire but also guides passionate individuals, like herself, on the path to creating truly impactful work. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for her.” Ouano says. “Despite the challenges, I continue to stay dedicated to our shared mission because of the inspiration she has given me.”

Maica Teves, Nominated by Maan Pamaran 

Courtesy of Maica Teves

Nominator Maan Pamaran applauds Maica Teves, the Executive Director of Spark Philippines, for her innovative use of fashion to uplift women in marginalized communities. One of Teves’ notable endeavors was in partnership with QC Mayor Joy Belmonte, involving the establishment of community-based cooperatives for women tailors, providing them with a sustainable source of income during the COVID-19 pandemic when many were facing economic hardships. This initiative not only empowered women economically but also fostered a sense of community and solidarity among them.

Furthermore, in Teves’ collaboration with designer Zara Juan wherein they repurposed used election tarpaulins into fashionable bags resulted in an innovative approach to sustainability and women’s empowerment. The bags were also skillfully crafted by female persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) from the QC City Jail, providing them with valuable vocational training and a means to earn income while incarcerated.

“Through her dedication and innovative approaches, Maica is making a tangible difference in the lives of marginalized women, empowering them to thrive despite adversity.” Pamaran shares.

Isabela Blancas, Nominated by Frederick Blancas

Courtesy of Isabela Blancas

Isabela Blancas’ dedication to her mission despite facing personal challenges like depression at a young age inspired nominator Frederick Blancas. In addressing multiple social and environmental concerns through her initiative One Closet, Blancas demonstrates the interconnectedness of various societal issues and showcases how businesses can be a force for positive change.

One Closet provides a tangible solution to pressing social issues, such as domestic abuse and environmental degradation, by leveraging the power of entrepreneurship and community support. Through One Closet, Isabela not only promotes sustainable fashion practices by recycling preloved formal wear but also uses the proceeds to support marginalized youth, particularly female survivors of domestic abuse, in accessing education and opportunities for a better future. Dedicated to learning and improving, Blancas is taking up a course in social entrepreneurship at Father Saturnino Urios University in Butuan, as she plans to take her social enterprise to a more advanced stage. 

“(Isabela Blancas’) vision for One Closet is to be a known global brand in sustainable fashion.” Blancas shares.

Through her innovative approaches, such as organizing charity fashion shows and pivoting her business model during the COVID-19 pandemic to produce PPE for frontline workers, Blancas proves that even the smallest actions can have a significant impact on people’s lives. Her commitment to social entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability sets a powerful example for young leaders and aspiring changemakers in fashion everywhere.

Visit vogue.ph everyday this month for daily features on inspiring women, as nominated by the people whose lives they’ve changed.

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