Bayo Clothing Line From creating PPEs for frontliners to steadily pursuing its #JourneytoZero
Previously, we pondered and discussed what fashion might look like after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Another crucial thing to consider, it turns out, is when will this “after COVID-19” actually happen? In 2022, we’re ridding ourselves of the notion that there’s a clear demarcation between pre-pandemic and post-pandemic (newsflash: there isn’t). Here's an interview with the CEO of Bayo Foundation a Clothing Line that creates PPE for front liners and their #JourneytoZero Fabric Waste.
As COVID-19 continues to weave through our days, months, and years, we instead look to how major players in the industry are adapting with the now in mind while rerouting plans for their long-term goals. Ahead, we chat with Bayo CEO Anna Lagon about the brand’s impactful move during the pandemic and how its sights are still set on sustainability.
Wonder: How have the long-term effects of the pandemic affected your business on the side of operations?
Anna Lagon: The decision to create personal protective gear was what helped Bayo bounce back. It was our way to address something urgent.
With the support that we’ve gotten from the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) and the Office of the Vice President (OVP), we were able to produce medically-reviewed, high-quality PPEs and face masks, and distribute them to frontliners at the peak of the pandemic.
W: What about on the side of people?
AL: To support Bayo clothing line employees, we provided them an option to work onsite or work from home. What struck us was our employees’ eagerness to help others. When we announced that we’d start operations even during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), most of them preferred to work onsite with the motivation of supporting medical frontliners more than generating their income. That said, we had to make sure that the basic needs of our employees were taken care of, so medical health benefits were sustained aside from those legally mandated by law.
W: Tackling your pledge to sustainability: What made you decide to take on reviving the local cotton industry?
AL: When we celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2017, we launched our Journey to Zero campaign. We set out to lessen carbon emissions in our business and create a circular economy where nothing goes to waste. As a participant-member of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), it’s also now part of our commitment to abide by certain sustainable development goals.
From the raw materials, production, distribution and selling of our products, a third-party company monitors our carbon footprint to process our carbon offsetting to at least start with carbon-neutral products. The results become our baseline as we work toward science-based targets. With a solid plan ready, we then focused on using better materials that come from the soil. This led us to the revival of organic cotton farming. The fibers here are be turned into threads that now make Bayo clothing line—a goal we intend to pursue continuously.
W: Now, let’s talk about starting 2022 strong. What Bayo highlight from 2021 is fueling your 2022?
AL: That would be working with different organizations and government offices to help. 2021 made us realize that we are not just a fashion brand that sells clothes; we are a retail company that is capable of protecting frontline workers, so they can provide for their families and enable them to see each other safely.
Our partnerships with the OVP, DOST-PTRI and local government units like Pasig City and Baguio City enabled us to reach a lot of people in need of help during the global health crisis.
W: What are the biggest lessons you and Bayo clothing line had learned in the previous year?
AL: To extend the value of helping others and the importance of sustainability to our business processes. The collaboration with weaving communities is something we plan to accelerate in order to support our objective of preserving our cultural heritage, while at the same time assuring continuous livelihood for our local weavers.
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W: It’s been two years since we got to know Bayo Foundation’s “Journey To Zero.” What’s next in 2022?
AL: Our recycling plant is currently in its final stages and we are targeting to open this year. This initiative will complete the cycle of our journey to zero initiative that started in 2017.
We don't know about you, but we're feeling 2022 might actually still turn things around.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver