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Fast-rising Gen Z fashion designer strongly advocates sustainable fashion 

by Izel Abanilla

It used to be a joke in the fashion industry that clothes that looked cheap were coucourtinahin. This stemmed from a play of words curtain or kurtina in Filipino and couture.

It takes a young designer from Davao to change all that!

In the age of fast fashion, fashion designer Arwin Meriales, 23, is making waves by promoting sustainable fashion as a way of life. 

He started with designing dresses using old blankets for social media influencer Sassa Girl for Preview magazine.

Then, he made use of curtains to create eye-catching pieces.

“Kasi I started na eh with the Kumot Couture, that’s a recyclable material that I made for Sassa Girl sa Preview magazine and then some kurtina, I made a dress from kurtina. And then sobrang dami, madami na din. Now I want to enter sustainable fashion, I’m still learning about that,” he told republicasia. 

Arwin wants an environment-friendly approach to clothing by maximizing the use of sustainable and recycled raw materials like retaso or fabric scraps. 

While fashion is indeed a lucrative industry, it has caused massive environmental damage. That is why more and more fashion designers and enthusiasts are pushing for sustainability.

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I don’t want to waste some materials, so parang like yung other retaso ko ginagamit ko na siya sa other dresses ko ganyan, ayun parang i just want to enter sustainable fashion, it makes me fun din,” 

Arwin Meriales

Journey to fashion design 

Arwin may have found his calling in the industry but the fashion designer initially wanted to be a chef.  

But when he was about 15, his grandmother introduced him to clothes making. That was his point of no return. He fell in love with fabrics and its art.

“I’m really into arts so I make paintings, I draw a lot and then my lola said na ‘oy, you’re good and you know doing some dresses’ ganyan and then ayon doon na ako na introduce sa pagtatahi” he said. 

He later joined fashion design courses in Davao and eventually won competitions. 

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Arwin is still a student but he is already earning from his designs. Over the years, he has earned a steady client base, including celebrities like Bianca Umali, Maymay Entrata, Jona Viray, Nikki Valdez and Pokwang.

As for his dream muses, Arwin dreams of designing pieces for Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and supermodel Gigi Hadid. 

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