This Filipina Designer Makes Tops From Tea Towels

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Creating new pieces from tea towels, U.S.-based Filipina designer Selina Sanders talks about her brand, finding inspiration, and more.

Related: There’s Nowhere to Go but Up for Watsons and Their Sustainable Vision

With a mom who was a famous designer in the 1970s, Selina Sanders has always been a lover of everything fashion. Sanders was driven to finally make her own label after being rendered jobless in 2020 due to the pandemic. Being in the industry as a designer for over 15 years, she has seen the dark side of the fast fashion industry—sweat shops, poor working conditions, and environmental damage. “This is why I only use existing and vintage materials to create clothing”, says Sanders. 

Sanders also uses environmental friendly fabrics to make her clothes just like her mom did in the 70s. Her mom, Luthgarda, who was a well-known designer, also used unconventional fabrics like abel and katsa when making her pieces. When asked about her inspiration, Sanders says it’s “a melting pot of my immigrant experience.” Having moved to the U.S. in her teens, she considers her work as an ode to her homeland, the Philippines. The tea towel being her fabric of choice, it’s amazing to see how she brings life back to these otherwise mundane pieces of fabrics. She transforms these towels to dresses and puff-sleeve tops, inspired by the Philippine Terno.

Everything Sanders makes is one of a kind and made-to-order. With her unique aesthetic and unconventional fabrics, her creations certainly deserve a spot in any fashionista’s wardrobe. For something truly one-of-a-kind, clients can also give Sanders family heirloom clothing, which she then remakes into a completely new piece, as she expands her brand’s custom services.

With sustainability in mind, Sanders hopes to inspire her followers to become conscious consumers. She aims to encourage them to support local and small businesses, as well as invest in clothes that are timeless and one of a kind. With her pieces always selling out, Sanders wants to grow her team and become a fashion house in the future. “I am lucky to find the newfound spotlight on my work and there is a clear demand for it, so my hope is that we can at least meet that demand but through practices that will always align with our values.”

Currently, Philippines is not on the list of countries she ships to (but she’s working on it!). But, you can contact her at [email protected] for inquiries or visit her website for more details.