These student-owned clothing brands will steal your heart (and the space in your closet)
Imagine this: you attend a full day of classes, come home to a pile of assignments, do some org work or internship tasks, then try to get enough sleep. This is on top of any attempt at balancing your social life and personal time. Seems like a lot of effort, right? Now, imagine running a clothing brand, too.
We compiled a list of four of our favorite student-run clothing brands and got a peek into what their brands are all about! Did we mention? They’re all sustainable.
Alaka’i, run by an all-female team, was started in 2020 during the early pandemic. The creative minds behind the brand are Lianna Bautista (21) from Ateneo de Manila University, Miguela Acuzar (21) from De La Salle University and Maria Isabel Del Rosario (20) from De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde. The three are currently taking up different courses: BS Management, Early Childhood Education and BS Interior Design, respectively. Bautista, Acuzar and Del Rosario started Alaka’i when they were 19-years-old—young entrepreneurs in the industry who worked hard to plan their business and immerse themselves in all things fashion.
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Alaka’i has everything you could want—from pieces with fun, vibrant colors to cooler, more neutral tones. Their pieces are unique, too, as a made-to-order clothing brand.
Alaka’i is vocal about their stance regarding sustainability. In an exclusive interview with Wonder, the brand owners share, “We wanted to avoid fast fashion, so we decided to open our own clothing brand we believe individuals like us will appreciate and gravitate towards. We give importance to supporting locally made and sourced materials and also local workers, specifically women.”
These women have grown alongside their brand, and there’s nowhere to go but up. In the near future, they hope to start a men’s collection, as well as to open a website. Both new and old Alaka’i followers can definitely expect more from the brand as they are “brainstorming ideas for new collections as well as ways to expand the brand.” We’re sure that more people will fall in love with their thoughtfully created clothing!
If you’re looking for flattering pieces to add to your collection, their Kristine midi skirt, Olivia top and Alana dress are just some of the things you’ll fall in love with.
Apogée de Taj
Apogée de Taj, also known as Apogée, is run by Sofia Adrienne V. Tajanlangit, a 21-year-old BS Entrepreneurial Management student at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P). At a glance, Apogée’s look is distinct and classy. As a versatile fashion brand, Apogée caters to all types of cultures, personalities and individuals. The idea was to establish a middle ground, making both quality and affordability possible. At the same time, it bridges modern tastes and timelessness.
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“The brand aims to bring the right amount of balance between comfort, style and functionality through a touch of class and perspicacious taste in daily wear and occasion wear,” shares Sofia. Starting with small operations in Iloilo City, Apogée started with a single seamstress, with Sofia overseeing everything. Having grown over the pandemic, the brand has expanded and now has a total of 10 members in the production team, as well as two full-time employees—all of whom Sofia is grateful for.
The young fashion brand started off by selling ready-to-wear pieces and has since broadened their range, accepting custom orders, even for weddings. They also recently launched Apogée Petit—a collection of designs made for children. The sky’s the limit for Apogée as they look towards creating a men’s line.
Sofia goes on to say, “I created Apogée with a mission to give clients and customers as many options and as much flexibility as we are able to, with the goal to be a brand that actually listens and gives our consumers everything they want—like your very own fairy godmother.” With Apogée, you don’t have to sacrifice one aspect for another. You get everything you’ve ever wished for—and more.
Making sure that you get everything you want in an outfit, Sofia and her team ensure that sustainability isn’t compromised. They are mindful of the materials that they procure and the rate at which they produce their pieces. “I have always made myself aware and conscious of the carbon footprint the fashion industry contributes and have consciously made the brand a slow fashion brand. I’ve always found the world fascinating and beautiful. I believe that the preservation of what is given to us, especially those that are of beauty, must be given utmost importance,” she shares.
If you’ve been looking for a set to add to your wardrobe essentials, Apogée has just what you’re looking for. Perfect for day-to-night—and if you’re always on the go—the elegant Sahar set will likely be your new go-to. It’s stylish as much as it is comfortable. What more could you want in a fit?
You can find more information on Apogée and their versatile pieces through their website: apogee.com.co. You can also learn more about them through their social media pages on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest and Twitter.
DeNada the Label
DeNada the Label is a Filipino clothing brand founded by Victoria Therese Mathay and Celine Noelle Lacson, both 21-year-old college seniors studying at the Ateneo de Manila University taking up AB Interdisciplinary Studies and BS Management, respectively.
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DeNada has collections filled with timeless pieces made for Filipinas to feel confident, comfortable and beautiful in. The brand stands for uplifting women in business and the workforce. They also advocate for size inclusivity, elimination of body standards, ethical production of clothing, slow fashion and empowerment of local small to medium enterprises.
Mathay and Lacson share, “We hope that being vocal about what we stand for will inspire those in the fashion industry to become more conscious of their actions.” What more could you want from a brand that designs stunning pieces and lives out their social and environmental advocacies at the same time?
DeNada makes it a point to consciously design each of their releases and carefully think about how their customers can use each piece. “We pride ourselves in being a slow fashion brand that does not mass produce clothing. The quality of each piece is prioritized rather than the quantity produced. We ensure that micro trends would not consist in any of our collections, allowing our customers to incorporate our versatile products in their wardrobe from everyday wear to formal wear. This [is] important to us because we aim to provide consumers with products that are not easily disposable,” they say.
If there’s one “forever piece” that we’re taking with us from DeNada, it definitely has to be their Jennifer Top. A classic fitted tube top that hugs you in all the right places and pairs well with all your wardrobe staples—jeans, bell bottoms and its matching Jennifer skirt.
Made by Maia
Maia (21), who also goes by Bea to her friends, is the one-woman powerhouse behind Made by Maia. She’s a senior taking up BS Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila University who has always loved wearing pretty pieces. She mentions, “I’ve always loved fashion and dressing up. I’ve also grown up to be a bit business-minded so naturally, I decided to open a small clothing business! Apart from this, I also wanted to train my mind by learning something new, as well as hone my craftsmanship as a result of quarantine.”
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Maia handles everything about the business—from planning to administrative work. When time permits, she makes the garments herself, but she also found a way to support Filipino artisans and merchants. She says, “I've decided to get extra help from local and trusted seamstresses to give them the opportunity to showcase their craftsmanship!”
Made by Maia makes it a point to reduce waste through implementing a pre-order basis, as well as limiting the orders to one to two batches per month. The brand also makes use of eco-friendly packaging and prioritizes the well-being of the team.
We can’t wait to see the heights Made by Maia will reach, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the brand’s future releases. “In the next few years, I hope to see MBM grow even more! I definitely plan on releasing more garments, colors and fabrics! I also plan to continue creating size-inclusive pieces so that anyone and everyone can wear clothes they feel comfortable in,” says Maia.
We definitely think that you have to get your hands on the simple but stylish Simeona top—a twist-tube top that can be dressed up and down.
If you want to check out more from Made by Maia, you can visit their Instagram page.
Alaka’i, Apogée, Denada the Label and Made by Maia create pieces you'd want to live in. They mindfully curate each of their releases, and we can’t wait to cop their timeless pieces made for any occasion. We’re sure you’ll find your next wardrobe staples from them, too!
Words Julia Makalintal
Art Macky Arquilla