Anj Angeles: Wearing My Why
This June, ma-ta goes heart to heart with entrepreneur and photographer Anj Angeles - the inspiring woman behind Sustainably Styled PH.
Sustainably Styled is a proud local store that promotes a more ethical stylish lifestyle. Her answers will leave you in a moment of silence and hope for our country.
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I’m not a stranger to retail therapy. I’ve been there, and it’s not something I’m very proud of. Sometimes, I would take pride in the times when my friends would ask me where I got my dress, and I’d brag that I bought it for only 50 bucks at an ukay-ukay. I’ve always been a fan of thrift shops, but it was only recently that I realized how I can put my thrifting skills to good use.
It all started when I decided to do a major cleaning spree that cut my wardrobe from two full closets and four filled drawers into a good 50-60 pieces—only items that I really love, and can thus easily mix and match on a daily basis. That was life-changing. I realized you don’t really need more than that!
At the time, I was also growing more conscious of my lifestyle and consumption habits, so I did my research. The fashion industry is the second widest polluter in the world, next to oil. One cotton t-shirt takes thousands of gallons of water to produce, not to mention all the toxic pesticides, textile dye, packaging materials, and worldwide shipping wastes!
Because trends are ever changing, sometimes you end up unknowingly tossing aside so many clothes in the span of a year, and that could have tremendous ecological impact in the wider scale of things. But I understand the dilemma, we all want to feel confident and wear clothes that make us feel empowered.
The fashion industry is the second widest polluter in the world, next to oil. One cotton t-shirt takes thousands of gallons of water to produce, not to mention all the toxic pesticides, textile dye, packaging materials, and worldwide shipping wastes!
However, we don’t need to do keep buying the latest fashion trends out in the malls, there are more eco-friendly options. Choosing vintage and pre-loved pieces is one way to support sustainable fashion, and that is the vision behind Sustainably Styled.
I wanted to create an avenue to be able to empower women to express themselves through their everyday style, as well as to encourage them to wear their heart’s advocacies on their sleeves. Sustainably Styled is also a means to fund my own advocacy, as part of its proceeds help empower girls at Ruhama Center, a shelter for abused and prostituted young women under the care of The Good Shepherd Convent.
Our proceeds provide hygiene and self-care packages, simple art therapy sessions, and hopefully other programs in the future. We also accept secondhand clothes as donations, which are either given directly to the girls, or are sold with a 100% profit set aside for our outreach programs.
These girls at Ruhama Center are the true heroines of empowerment. Imagine having experienced many traumatic events at the age of fifteen or sixteen, and yet getting up everyday and finding the courage to keep moving forward. At every session with these young women, I come in hoping to inspire them even just a little bit, but it always ends the other way around—they inspire me.
At our most recent session, we pampered the girls and set up a rack of Sustainably Styled items for them to just pick out their own clothes and play dress up. There is really nothing like the light in the eyes of a woman who looks at herself in the mirror and beams at what she sees.
That light is infectious, that light is the fiber force behind what I do.