The recently concluded Revive and Renew Upcycling Fashion Competition hailed young artist Darius Jireh Juson as the Top Designer for his project which transformed discarded queen-sized bed linens from ukay-ukays into capsule wardrobes.
A project of JCI Manila, a premiere leadership development organization dedicated to creating positive change, the event encouraged the next generation of eco-conscious designers to showcase their ingenuity and passion through modish ensembles from discarded materials.
Juson, a homegrown talent from the Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) Program of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), took inspiration from the Lady of the Lake, a mythological character from the legend of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table. He reimagined her into a modern muse of second chances.
“She was awakened by the urgency to warn the world of climate emergence,” he shared. “She had the ability to grant anyone’s mission creating an impact on the environment.”
Motivated by the message of duality and redemption of the enchantress, Juson converted queen-sized cotton bedsheets into a two-piece set, complete with a draped multi-strap bodice and a free-sized and modular detachable train.
“It is a capsule wardrobe with functionality and versatility in mind,” he explained. “The top skirt can be worn separately, either elevated for a formal look or dressed down for a casual feel,” he added. “It can be integrated for an errand look, resort wear, or even bridalwear.”
Juson likewise highlighted the importance of diverse styling options to prolong the life of the garment with the end-user. “I approach sustainability like a circular framework by reintegrating post-consumer waste in the cycle,” he stated.
The finished output likewise bagged the Bingo Plus Foundation Special Award.
The jury was composed of esteemed industry professionals and advocates. These included include stylist, menswear and streetwear designer Bang Pineda, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary and Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP) President Atty. Marge Gutierrez, fashion designer Kristine Ordinario, and author, journalist, entrepreneur and public servant Brian Poe Llamanzares, Ph.D.
Juson is no stranger to sustainable fashion. The staunch advocate, together with fellow Benilde FDM alum and business partner Allesandra Gutierrez, is set to relaunch their social enterprise REPAMANA. Grounded on the principles of circular economy, the brand treats waste – from rejected fabrics to floral scraps – as the primary source of materials.
“REPAMANA breathes new life and higher value to the end product and gives them modern translation with endless styling possibilities,” Juson expounded.
With an equal focus on creativity and community, it likewise aims to employ female persons deprived of liberty as seamstresses to give them a renewed sense of purpose and dignity in their work.
“Through these intentional choices, every stitch, every fabric selection, and every hand involved in REPAMANA supports the story of second chances towards a more meaningful connection with our garments,” Juson concluded.