It all started with a shell. A shell necklace in one of the fast fashion stores to be exact.
“Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.”
The origin of this quote may have been Chief Seattle, who, in the mid-1850s, reportedly made a speech where he said “Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints." Today, this quote has been embraced by climbers, backpackers, cavers, and anyone who cares about nature. It embodies key principles in the Leave No Trace philosophy to protect the land and environment by minimizing our impact on it. It embodies respect and appreciation for nature and all living things.
In the Philippines, taking shells and sand from beaches has long been a problem. So when I saw the shell necklace on display in the store, I knew it was time to break up with fast fashion.
But it was easier said than done. It was a challenge to find sustainable fashion alternatives, especially for work clothes so I decided to start a sustainable fashion business to create pieces for myself and women like me who were looking for more choices.
That was four years ago. They say that when you start a business it always takes longer and costs more than you originally think. It’s true! But it has also been a very interesting journey. We are finally almost ready to launch and are so excited to share our pieces. For now, sharing some snapshots along our journey.
#1 - March 2020 - The ARMORE name and logo. ARMORE is a combination of Armor and Amore – a battle suit and love. Collective stands for our collective effort to bring about a new normal in fashion. Our designer came up with the logo and monogram which I love. The thread in the letter A represents fashion and sustainability.
#2 - July 2020 - The ARMORE palette and style guide. For personal reasons, we wanted blue to be one of the key colors. Beyond the personal reasons, it’s also fitting because blue is associated with intuition, imagination, and inspiration, it is the color of bravery and symbolizes wisdom and depth of understanding - much like the ARMORE woman who has found her voice and is courageous in pursuing her best life on her terms.
#3 - 2020 to present - I looked in my closet, in Pinterest, and googled universally flattering clothes. Then I started sketching the collection. Thank goodness for sketching guides! Here I share a sketch of a romper.
#4 and #5 - One of the biggest challenges in starting a business is building the supply chain if it doesn’t exist. When we decided we would practice sustainable fashion through ethical production and natural fabric, I quickly realized that there aren’t a lot of choices. I’m so glad I found these lovely Tencel fabric and later these local cotton-linen blends. We also have wonderful waterproof cotton twill as part of our fabric story.
#6 - We decided to use Manila Bay Thread because their thread is more durable. I was also very happy to find that it is manufactured in the Philippines! Can you guess the color story of our first drop from the thread cones?
#7 - Because we want to veer away from plastic, we wanted to use buttons that aren’t plastic but are also suitable for casual wear. I think these mother of pearl buttons are so elegant and make our pieces stand out.
That’s it for now. In other posts, will share other things that happen behind the scenes, lessons learned, and perhaps a sneak peek into the first collection. Sign up for our newsletter to get exclusive discounts, invites, and downloadables, and join us in our musings on beauty, style, sustainable fashion and the new normal.
Stay tuned, amor, and stay fabulous!