The coronavirus pandemic made many industries reassess the way they do their businesses and how essential their products are. For the fashion industry, this scenario reawakened an idea proposed many years ago, which is to go sustainable.

“We need to rethink our culture of excess, our culture of greed, our culture of overproduction,” says noted Filipino fashion designer Rajo Laurel to Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “We’re forced to think outside the box. We’re going to have to create more thoughtful, sensible, and sustainable products that are not just going to benefit our clients but the world in general. We don’t just go back into that race, that imaginary rat race that we used to think of as fashion.”

While we have seen big brands stepping up to the plate in saving Mother Earth, independent brands and upcoming design talents are also ready to lead a fashion revolution dedicated to end the industry’s throw-away culture. One of them is the 25-year-old Cebuano fashion designer Jann Christian Bungcaras.


Jann Christian Bungcaras (Photography by Francisco Yosores; Grooming by Janice Baring Daniel; Ensemble by Jann Bungcaras)

“Being a sustainable fashion designer is my way of being part of the solution, creating garments made from textile waste rather than new materials,” Jann says. “It eliminates the demand and pressure for raw materials, and promotes a circular model in fashion where wastes are not thrown but upcycled.”


This month, Jann was awarded People’s Choice by Redress Design Awards, an international sustainable fashion competition focusing on emerging designers. The former Bench Design Award competitor bested 32 other finalists from around the globe with his “Adam’s Dominion” collection inspired by the story of Genesis. His pieces comprise “a reflection of humanity’s failure and its palpable impact on nature.”

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🗳 THE PUBLIC HAS SPOKEN! 🗳 🥁🥁🥁 A record-breaking number of votes has been cast, and we are very excited to announce the winner of the #RedressDesignAward 2020 People’s Choice – Jann Christian Bungcaras (@jannbungcaras)! Inspired by the responsibility God has bestowed upon people after creation and the mistakes we have made, the Filipino designer reflects on his own fashion journey by reconstructing his personal wardrobe mistakes into his collection titled ‘Adam’s Dominion’. Jann wins a #JUKI overlock sewing machine and a copy of @bloomsburyfashion’s ‘The Dangers of Fashion – Towards Ethical and Sustainable Solutions by Sara B. Marcketti and Elena E. Karpova. 🎉Congratulations to Jann and thank you to the thousands of people across the globe who voted! 🥰

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His journey toward sustainable fashion started at home with his mother and grandmother’s love for plants. But it was because of the National Geographic documentary Six Degrees Could Change The World that he cemented his true calling to save the world through fashion. In order for him to do it, he first looked at the damage the industry has done.

“It is recorded that the industry causes 10 percent of annual carbon dioxide emissions, more than the aviation and shipping industries combined. It is the second biggest polluter of fresh water in the planet, and causes an estimated 92 million tons of textile wastes per year,” Jann says. “Waste can be avoided during the design process alone. A designer, a brand, a fashion label must have their negative and positive impacts toward the environment in mind while designing, conceptualizing, and planning for new products. The mentality of designing for low-waste and low-impact should be present from the beginning.”

We should put in our minds and hearts that we are more than our buying power and the clothes we wear. We are humans connected to the fabric of nature. We are here to protect the world we live in, our creation and evolution.

Living in a country that is experiencing most of the effects of Earth’s pollution, Jann sees that it is a challenge for Filipinos to adapt to a sustainable life. For him, the problem is rooted in our way of life (burning of garbage in a provincial setup, and the lack of trash segregation in the metro) and the idea of consumerism and social status.

“We are gullible when it comes to sales—a 75 percent markdown is our kryptonite. We often buy clothes that we do not need because we can afford them now, because they are worn by our favorite celebrities, because they are trendy, because of plenty other reasons,” he tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “Other than this, most of us have this wrong idea that repeating an outfit is a criminal offense. Businesses are taking advantage of this by producing cheaper, poorly-made garments that we often eat-up just to feel elevated.”


While humanity was forced to stay indoors in the past months, Jann pondered on how the world would be better without people, and asked existential questions.


Mood board for ‘Adam’s Dominion’ (photo from @jannbungcaras)

“As homo sapiens, we have only been present for more than 2,000 years on this planet, and we have already destroyed most of it in less than 200 years after industrialization,” he says. “Let us not make our existence parasitic by killing the host. Instead, let us be the innovators who find ways to excel in the fields we chose while conserving our one and only Earth.”

According to Jann, sustainability is the future of all industries, and that all of us should play our part in making it happen. He advises that we should change our attitude toward shopping by being mindful buyers.

“Let us all hope that the pieces we own or will purchase are made sustainably, or came from our own decision to be more sustainable,” he says. “We should put it in our minds and hearts that we are more than our buying power and the clothes we wear. We are humans connected to the fabric of nature. We are here to protect the world we live in, our creation and evolution.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (