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April 1, 2019


When the hot season starts to set in, I gather my cool clothes—linens and cottons from my closet—and start to wear them for my everyday meetings. It makes a lot of difference to feel cool and not have to sweat as much because you are wearing natural fibers, cotton, and linen.

Polyester, even if it is easy to wash or launder, is similar to wearing a grocery bag or a plastic trash bag over your body because polyester is synthetic. Polyester also does not breathe, which may cause skin irritations and a general feeling of suffocation because half your body is under plastic.

So, what’s the big deal about natural clothing or natural fibers? It’s healthier and cooler to wear. But with today’s fast fashion trend, and clothes have to be cheap and durable, synthetic material is what most manufacturers of “fast fashion” use. That is why it’s cheap, affordable, and easy to wash. It also will not degrade as fast and may stay on earth longer than natural fabrics.

Wear natural fabrics

This is why I am happy about a micro yarn facility recently installed in Iloilo by the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), a government agency tasked with research work on textiles, an industry that has long died in the country. Ms. Celia Elumba, head of PTRI, told me that soon government agencies like the Department of Tourism (DOT), Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will be ordering uniforms made with natural fibers like cotton.

We don’t think about these minute details (yarn is spun to become fabric, and the spun fabric becomes clothes) yet this is what we wear every day. How do we help to go back to Slow Fashion? It is the opposite of fast fashion which is polluting our planet.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Check the labels. Choose cotton, linen, ramie and other natural fibers.
  2. Check washing instructions on clothes. Import laws have demanded that all clothing sold must carry washing instructions and must state the material used.
  3. Buy local cotton or ramie whenever possible.

Yesterday I attended the TAPESTRY fashion show for what is now the expression of “Slow Fashion” and I met Ms. Elumba. “If this is a prelude of things to come, I am happy that consumers are opening their eyes to local weaves that are wearable,” she says, as models sashayed in their cotton weekend wear among the well-heeled crowd at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

(From left): Miyen Verzosa of Philippine Commission on Women, Celia Elumba of PTRI, and me

All is good if people know what slow fashion is or how cotton, linen, and ramie can make someone look good but also feel good because of the comfort it brings. Sometimes we get influenced by fast fashion because it’s cheap and we can buy so much for so little. What we do not realize is that it actually becomes more expensive in the long run. It will not degrade, it will pollute the planet’s landfills and it may even cause us bad health due to not allowing our skin to breathe. It’s simple. It’s an everyday concern of what to wear to work or what to wear to sleep. Did you ever think about that, too?

So, when you next choose something to wear, check the label, not only what sparks joy but what you are actually wearing for almost 18 hours a day. If your nightclothes is just as synthetic, you may be courting trouble.

Sleep well. Work well. Choose natural. Choose Slow Fashion.



Photos from GREAT Women’s Facebook page, Jeannie Javelosa, and the author


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