Saving the Earth one retaso at a time
By Joseph L. Garcia, Reporter
A FILIPINA designer has made it to British Vogue using the power of fabric scraps.
Rio Estuar is the designer behind RIOTaso, a brand that advocates sustainable lifestyles through making clothes out of fabric scraps. She will be on the magazine’s Designer Profile page for its Jan. 2022 issue, which dropped on Dec. 10. A snippet from Ms. Estuar’s Facebook page read: “A fiercely Filipina sustainable brand that repurposes fabric scraps into new textiles and creates one-of-one designs which cannot be replicated.”
“British Vogue reached out and hand selected RIOtaso as a brand they would like to give a feature spot to on the Designer Profile page…,” Ms. Estuar told BusinessWorld in an interview. “I seized the opportunity as a way to get RIOtaso as well as local, small, and sustainable fashion on an international level. I tapped fellow local brands who also create sustainably to be part of the photoshoot so that more brands can be recognized on an international level.”
The brand’s name is a combination of her own name and the Filipino word for fabric scraps (retaso). Ms. Estuar’s scraps come from her days as a fashion student. “I never threw away any of the scraps I accumulated throughout college life and the many clothing line attempts I had. Not because I was a conscious climate justice warrior up in arms against the fast-fashion industry, but simply because I am a hoarder,” she said on her website.
Hasn’t her hoard run out by now? “Some of those supplies are still with me today, four years later,” she said. “That’s how much fabric we used up as students. After college, I tried to reach out to brands and partner up with them as the person who would make sure their scraps wouldn’’ go to waste — this was initially ignored, partly because I think brands are very secretive and this might expose how much waste they produce?
“I am simply proposing a solution to the waste. So instead, I would source outside factories, and at one point, I was able to bring home four rice sacks full of perfectly good fabric waiting to be picked up and trashed. Nowadays brands are more transparent and often reach out to me with their excess fabric. I use only 100% fabric waste and turn them into new textile.”
Ms. Estuar transforms scraps from fabric that would not have reached their full potential and imbues them with new life through care and creativity. Both suits and separates (and even accessories like hats) are released by RIOtaso, and she explains how they’re made. She sorts the scraps by thinking about what she has a …….