When it comes to local fashion brands, BAYO is a name that sounds familiar to many. A household name for nearly 30 years, they continue to make waves in the industry for their innovative and unique take on modern Filipino fashion.
“When I followed the company, I saw all the previous projects they had and all the values and the brand has, and I couldn’t say no because it’s a brand that’s rooted in the ‘whole of the Philippines,’ notes BAYO design & sustainability officer Andrea de la Torre when talking about getting started with the brand.
A Fine Arts graduate, Andrea leads BAYO’s Design & Sustainability sector. Fresh-faced and wearing a vibrant scarf around her neck, Andrea’s tone of voice matches exactly how she looked when I sat down with her for this interview. “In this role, I am not a scientist. I am not a climate change specialist. I’m not someone who tells people what to do. This role is really about bridging sustainability and design. So that means I collaborate,” she explains.
Over the past year, BAYO has gone full steam ahead in redesigning their business model into a circular one, hence the birth of their #JourneyToZero. From using Toronto-based third-party auditors Green Story to track their greenhouse gas emissions to managing their waste levels and turning them from 35-40% to just 5-5 7%, that just marks the beginning of what the brand has in store for their sustainability model.
“I help with partnerships between communities, NGOs and other businesses to support sustainable projects that help our crafts, our community and other causes.” An integral part of the BAYO philosophy, the brand has partnered with Argao Weavers, Ambension Silk Enterprise, and HABI: The Philippine Textile Enterprise in their efforts to not only source locally, but to empower the communities they build upon. their brand.
As someone who has strived to be more conscious of their carbon footprint when it comes to fashion, it was amazing to see a local brand pioneering such innovative technology and efforts to become more sustainable. I felt like I had just attended a sustainability masterclass.
“I was first recruited as a graphic designer, then I evolved into a fashion designer. And then because I was so makulit and eager to be part of the conversation about sustainability and production processes, ultimately our co-CEO was generous enough to give me the chance to be part of the United Nations Global Compact Academy,” he shares. -she.
“That’s where we learned about the effects, of course, of climate change, but not only that. We learned how when we say we want to be sustainable, we have to have science-based goals. This means that we need to have measurable goals and a measurable carbon footprint for now so that in the future we know what paths to take to mitigate climate change.
We learned how when we say we want to be sustainable, we have to have science-based goals.
Besides empowering Filipinas from all walks of life, much of the work done at BAYO also centers around heritage and craftsmanship. “Usually when we think of sustainability the main things that come to mind are probably minimalistic, beige, some can be bland. Where we come in, we believe that by producing a design from scratch, we we can make sustainability, engaging, full of life.” A statement that fully encapsulates how many view conscious fashion, BAYO goes all out to break down these barriers.
“The Bayo Woman [for me] is curious, creative, strong, self-reliant, and an advocate. So this campaign supports the Bayo woman’s advocacy because we already have so many projects that support Filipinos. So Made for Life and Journey to Zero aim to shine a light on our communities and our supply chain,” Andrea points out.
However, while the brand’s journey to zero proved triumphant, it also had its fair share of obstacles along the way. “I guess one of the obstacles we have is our size.” With over hundreds of stores across the Philippines, that’s no surprise to the decades-old institution.
“That’s why we rely on many partners and supporters of the concept of circularity. So at least we have them. And I guess other things we worked on were communication because a lot of our partners live in the mountains or other places in the province. So to really carry out the project, you have to go to the site, kasi-yung the internet connection is not good, but it is also nice, Kasi you get to be immersed in the culture and history. Those are some of the things they had to overcome,” she says.
Despite the obstacles, BAYO has been diligent in maintaining its ties with its partner communities, ensuring that they have the right working environment, as well as a sustainable livelihood.
Sustainability doesn’t have to be a gatekeeper community. We can support brands that are on a sustainability path and adapting practices that align with their goals, especially if they support jobs and opportunities for Filipinos.
When it comes to sustainability, there really are no rules to follow. In the end, it all comes down to your intentions and your efforts to make conscious decisions for the good of the planet and yourself.
“Sustainability doesn’t have to be a community of control. We can support brands that are on the path to sustainability and adapting practices that align with the goals, and especially if they support jobs and opportunities for Filipinos, parang we can support the progress they are making,” says Andrea; And as for what to look out for when keeping tabs on a truly sustainable or conscious brand? Andrea notes that “we just need to dig deeper into how they do the things they do. So they need to be transparent again with ongoing projects and their status,” further confirming that sustainability comes down to transparency.