The fashion industry is considered the second largest contributor to environmental pollution globally. Fast fashion and e-commerce have made clothes more affordable, but up to 85% of textiles go into landfills each year. It is crucially important to find ways and innovations to produce our clothes more ethically and sustainably.
“Sustainability for us is about being able to use our resources today with compassion and consideration for our future generation’s use. The continuity of our culture and the protection of our environment lies in the hands of the young,” shares Co-Founder Anya.
In ANTHILL, cultural preservation and resource cycles have been at the forefront of our business since the start. We believe the future of fashion is circular, restorative, regenerative, and woven to last. As steadfast stewards of Mother Earth, we work towards conscious consumption and extending the life cycle of our products through our Circularity Programs.
ZERO WASTE PROGRAM
A textile innovation
Since the start of our operations back in 2010, we had accumulated textile wastes from production end cuts and fabric remnants of woven and non-woven fabrics. As our business slowly grew, so did our fabric wastes. Wanting to be part of the solution, we decided that these fat quarters of fabric scraps can also be sold as a product. They are sorted and bundled together to be sold in either 1/4 or 1/2 kilo. Many of our community members made use of our scraps for their personal craft projects. The last one to three meters of our handwoven textiles called Last Cuts are also sold at a lesser price, marked down at 30%.
But our Zero Waste Program does not stop at selling our fabric scraps and our last cuts. In 2016, we had explored the value of upcycling and circular fashion. In our Weaving Waste story, we defined circularity in fashion as the “restorative and regenerative practices in design and production. It is the giving of new life to materials that are headed to the landfill. It is the extending of the life of materials, giving their lifespan a circular track instead of a linear one”.
Our zero waste weaves are the fruition of our collaborative work with the Argao Weaving Community in Cebu, our Textile and Innovation Center. Working with our production partner, Paglaum Training International (PTI), scrap fabrics were first cut into strips before being woven in the loom, allowing us to upcycle 2.5 kilos of scrap for every zero waste weave.
This textile innovation created by our weavers is a design that is centered on caring for the environment while anchored on preserving our hand loomed weaving culture and growing our cultural footprint. This was also our way to keep our weaving traditions alive by introducing modern techniques.
Left: Zero Waste Patterned 001A. Right: Zero Waste Patterned Tiny Strips 002.
The creation of our zero waste weaves resulted in us exploring and launching new product developments. We were able to use our upcycled fabrics for our products in both apparel and non-apparel.
Left: Korsi skirt. Right: Canella Blouse.
A closet call to a circular fashion
In 2018, we launched the Weave Exchange as part of our circularity programs in an effort to “close the loop” with our Proud Weave Wearers. It’s an opportunity for them to return their pre-loved ANTHILL pieces that they are no longer able to or want to wear. In exchange, they get gift cards that they can use on their next purchase.
As of 2021, we have received around 150 pieces, these items along with its stories and nostalgic memories go to our REWEAVE Collection.
This program then led us to grow our community to new Proud Weave Wearers and make our weaves be loved longer.
Weaves made accessible
Our REWEAVE Collection is a one-of-a-kind “always loved” line, filled with ANTHILL pieces from our collection samples, prototypes, and cared-for items by our Proud Weave Wearers ready to be passed on to the next one. We reconstruct and repair these items to extend the product life cycle of our weaves. The items in this collection are usually marked down to 40%-50% off, making our weaves more accessible.
A creative transformation
This collection was our final curtain call as we bid farewell to our ready-to-wear line. But more than that, this was also our testament that fashion can be circular. Rework was an innovation inspired by the many makers and designers that adopted circularity in their work. We thread new life to rejects and pieces with defects because it was our goal to elevate their value despite its current conditions.
Even with a simple mending of clothes ⸺ a patchwork, a trim, or a different cut can make a difference and lets you rediscover the treasures you can find in your closet. It weaves infinite possibilities to creatively transform and refashion your clothes into something new.
Every scrap from production, corporate partners, and production partners were sold or woven into our upcycled fabrics. These programs gave us the opportunity to create an impact to help our environment and to have a circular economy.
Years of developing and doing these programs are just the small steps that we have taken into a long journey weaving forward. Being a small player in a big industry, we want to lay out programs that play a part of the solution or can inspire action to develop new ones. As consumers, you can join in by having a mindset of not so much as buying less, but buying better and knowing that what we buy are woven to last.