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This fashion designer wants you to wear her clothes for at least 10 years

Dona Lim wants to you wear her clothes for at least 10 years

Thanks to ever-changing trends that influence severe consumption, unsustainable practices in production, and a host of other issues, it's no secret that fashion contributes a great deal to climate change.

And fashion designer Dona Lim is no stranger to that. "When I was younger, I was buying a lot of clothes. I was so into fashion that I was buying the trendy ones. And I noticed the next year, I can't wear them anymore. They didn't go with the trend," she tells GMA News Online.

While she tried giving them away, "nobody wanted them because they were so trendy. So I would throw them away. And I felt, where do they all go?"

Her story is not unusual. According to a 2017 YouGov survey, 29% of Filipinos have thrown away an article of clothing after wearing it once, while some 21% have thrown them away because it's more than a few seasons old.

"I felt so guilty that I'm contributing to that," Lim continues. "I still love fashion so how can I just give up on clothes? So the idea is to create something that we can keep forever."

The ethos is front and center of her 2024 Spring collection, launched recently.

With focus on the perfect cut and choice fabric, each piece is designed with sustainability in mind. And with a toned down color palette, highlighting simplicity and elegance, the garment is allowed more wear and life.

According to Lim, most of her clothes are meant to last for 10 years. She doesn't add much trendy details to her pieces "because then, they can't be worn again."

In fact, in her popups — Lim has one in SM Aura until April 2024 — pieces from old collections are displayed side-by-side with those from her latest.

This allows guests and customers to mix and match pieces between seasons and gives older collections longer life.

"I wanted something that people don't have to throw away because where does it end up? In the land fill. That's something I don't want to do," Lim said.

Apart from her designs, she also tries to squeeze in a bit more sustainability by using materials that are naturally sourced, incorporating recycled plastic in some of the fabric used in her designs to at least help manage the landfill problem, and by employing leftover deadstock.

The fashion designer acknowledges her price point is not particularly cheap — a Jessica Bamboo Shoulder Pad T-Shirt retails for P7,950 — which is exactly why she encourages shoppers to keep her clothes and wear them enough times. "I don't want people thrown away after just one year," she said.

Dona Lim launched her brand in 2019 with a key focus on upholding sustainability. She only produces long-lasting, timeless pieces.

— LA, GMA Integrated News

Dona Lim's pop-up store in SM Aura is open until April 2024. Website.