As the adage goes, another man’s trash is another man’s treasure—or, in this case, woman we suppose.
Local brand RIOtaso by Filipina designer Rio Estuar was featured in the pages of British Vogue’s January 2022 issue, which dropped last December 10, and was given the spotlight on the magazine’s Designer profile.
A portmanteau on the designer’s name and the Tagalog word for ‘retaso,’ which means ‘fabric scraps,’ RIOtaso notes on Facebook that the brand is a “fiercely Filipina sustainable brand that repurposes fabric scraps into new textiles and creates one-of-one designs which cannot be replicated.”
Estuar details the start of RIOtaso on her website. “Back in 2015, my sister started to take home trash, she collected stacks of plastic waste from her classmates to assemble eco bricks at home,” she notes in her About page. “It was at this point that she also started planting food, composting, and became a vegan. Though she may be younger than me, her radical change in lifestyle strongly influenced what was to come.”
At this point, she had established KalyeRIO, a streetwear clothing brand that picked up traction commercially. However, she decided to close in 2018 due to the amount of fabric waste she was involved in, which contributed to the whopping 92 million metric tons of fabric and fashion waste a year—4% of the world’s yearly waste. “I had my very own ‘fashion-is-a-crime’ breakdown, withdrew myself from the city, and moved to a small beachtown community where I learnt to live sustainably,” she writes.
Armed with her fashion degree and the multitude of scraps she accumulated throughout her tenure as a fashion student, Estuar established RIOtaso, working with companies and suppliers and utilizing their deadstock fabrics to create and cultivate her own line while promoting a zero-waste lifestyle in the process.
You can shop your own one-of-a-kind piece on the RIOtaso Instagram (@riotasoclothing), or on their website, https://riotaso.com.