KINABUHI - life (n.)
Kinabuhi is one-of-a-kind handcrafted fashion that works to regenerate the planet, provides sustainable livelihood opportunities and helps people build meaningful connections with their clothes.
We do this in collaboration with yarn producers, weavers, garment workers and NGOs based in the Philippines. We aim to become a global brand that celebrates Philippine material culture and shares this with the world.
WHAT WE DO
Fashion that upcycles and regenerates.
We offer ready-to-wear fashion products made with upcycled high-quality second-hand garments, deadstock fabrics and scrap fabrics combined with contemporary handwoven textiles. We collaborate with a community of indigenous handloom weavers to design handwoven textiles that are rooted in Philippine culture and together we produce these textiles using Philippine natural fibres and dyes.
We support a regenerative ecosystem by working with our partners to trace our supply chain and set targets so we can better support farmers and producers in creating natural fibre yarns that are regenerative.
WHAT WE WORK WITH
We use high-quality second-hand garments, scrap fabrics and deadstock fabrics to create our range of upcycled garments.
In the Philippines, second-hand garments are sold in stores called ‘ukay-ukays’. These stores are the main source of Kinabuhi’s second-hand garments. There are often a lot of damaged or unfashionable garments in these stores that remain unsold or sometimes even discarded. Kinabuhi takes these stocks and brings the garments back to life.
Deadstock fabric and scrap fabrics:
Our deadstock fabrics and scrap fabrics are pre-consumer textile waste that are leftover at the end of garment production. These materials are often discarded. They are either incinerated or end up in landfills. We get our deadstock fabrics and scrap fabrics from local garment manufacturers.
NATURAL FIBRE YARN
Kinabuhi aims to support farmers and yarn manufacturers working towards adopting regenerative practices. Kinabuhi does this by purchasing all its natural fibre yarn from eco-conscious producers that have adopted or are eager to adopt regenerative practices. We mainly use Philippine cotton and Abaca, a plant endemic to the Philippines that helps minimize soil erosion and helps prevent floods and landslides.
Kinabuhi aims to only use new textiles that can safely return to the Earth at the end of their life for our products. To achieve this, we incorporate the use of local non-toxic plant dyes in a number of our handwoven textiles.
WHO WE WORK WITH
We work with Hablonan ni Lauriana, a community of handloom weavers in Argao, Cebu to create our original handwoven textiles, which are woven on traditional Visayan looms. We design our contemporary textiles in collaboration with the weavers in this community while also taking inspiration from traditional Philippine textile patterns. The tradition of handloom weaving has been passed on to them by their ancestors and it has become an important source of livelihood for a number of the women in this community. To weave our textiles, no electricity is needed as it is completely handmade, which reduces our carbon footprint. The weavers are not employed by Kinabuhi since they work as an independent community enterprise. We pay the weavers above the government mandated minimum wage for the time that they spend weaving our textiles.
We currently work with Eliseo Lapeceroas and Belen Rosales, sewers who are based in Cebu city, to create all of our products. Similar to our partner weavers, they work as independent makers. We pay them above the government mandated minimum wage for the time they spend sewing our garments.
Interested to learn more about how much we pay for our materials and the work of our makers? You can see the price transparency section under each of our product pages.
We intend to donate 10% of our net profits to Centre for Sustainability Philippines (CS). CS is a women-led, youth, environmental non-profit organisation based in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, working towards conserving land and protecting the Philippines’ last remaining forest through the legal establishment of protected areas. They achieve this through frontline community organising with indigenous and local communities, leading scientific research with national and international scientists, and then with the support of local communities and the proof of science, conducting political lobbying directly to decision-makers.
HEAYI TRADING CO., LTD
We source Abaca paper yarn from Heayi Trading Co., Ltd. an eco-conscious yarn manufacturer in Taiwan. This yarn is undyed, durable, breathable, anti-bacterial, odour resistant, UV resistant and certified compostable. Unlike in the harmful viscose process, abaca paper yarn is produced without harmful chemicals such as carbon disulphide, sodium hydroxide and sulphuric acid. The raw abaca fibre is turned into abaca pulp and eventually paper. The paper is then slit into a fine paper tape and twisted into thinner and stronger paper yarn.
We source our 100% Philippine Cotton yarn and 70% Philippine Cotton 30% Abaca yarn from Panublix, a sourcing platform connecting creatives with sustainable tropical textiles and artisan craft. The yarn we source from them is manufactured in the Regional Yarn Production and Innovation Centre in Miagao, Iloilo. This is the first micro-scale yarn spinning facility in the Philippines to produce natural fibre-blended yarns using abaca and pineapple fibres. The yarn we source from them is also naturally dyed using local materials by dye artist, Carlo Eliserio, in Aklan which is within 200 km from where the yarn is manufactured.
We don’t claim to be a perfectly sustainable brand but we aim to positively impact people and the planet through our work. We have a variety of initiatives that help us achieve our goals.
WASTE AS AN INPUT
Our main input material for our ready-to-wear collection is damaged or unwanted second-hand garments, deadstock fabrics and scrap fabrics that we bring back to life through combining them with our original handwoven textiles. We aim to keep products and existing materials in use for as long as possible so we can reduce the need to extract new resources from the planet.
WORKING TOWARDS BEING NATURE POSITIVE
We aim to be regenerative or nature positive, which means that instead of releasing more carbon into the atmosphere we help sequester it while also adopting initiatives that help regenerate our planet. We aim to do this by committing to donate 10% of our net profits to Center for Sustainability PH, an NGO working to preserve and regenerate the Philippines’ last 3% of remaining forests.
Our clothes are made of natural fibres, grown tirelessly by farmers that steward the Earth, and in a way, our clothes are our connection to the Earth. We also acknowledge that regenerative agriculture can potentially be a solution to the climate crisis and help us protect our planet's biodiversity. We need to support farmers to achieve this. Therefore, we are also working with partners to set targets and identify gaps that need to be addressed so local farmers and fibre producers can shift from conventional farming to adopting regenerative practices. Once this has been identified, we aim to divert a % of our profits to supporting farmers and ultimately creating regenerative natural fibre yarn for our textiles.
Beyond addressing the climate crisis and protecting biodiversity, we believe that we need to ensure a just transition for all. This means that we must secure workers’ rights and livelihoods while shifting to more sustainable and regenerative production. Because of an influx of low-cost goods, weavers and sewers in the Philippines have struggled to find sustainable livelihood opportunities. To address this, we are committed to working with local makers to produce all of our products. We also consult with the makers regarding what a fair wage means to them and are committed to treating and paying all our partner makers fairly. We are also committed to transparency and provide information on who our makers are and how much we pay them for their work. Beyond this, we aim to empower and celebrate the makers by giving them a voice and actively involving them in our design process. They don’t just produce our products. They co-create with us and help us bring our vision to life.