Brand Spotlight: AIRE's Premiere Collection Launches at ArteFino 2022
Brought to life by founders Mike and Banj Claparols, this sustainable fashion brand endeavors to revolutionize local menswear by blending tradition and technology
There is always a reason (or several, actually) to visit ArteFino each week! And new sustainable fashion brand, AIRE, is just one of them.
AIRE is the newest sustainable fashion brand under Creative Definitions. Brought to life by founders, Mike and Banj Claparols, the brand endeavors to revolutionize local menswear by blending tradition and technology. Pieces from AIRE utilize local textiles extracted from discarded pineapple leaves. This, says the founders, provide additional income for farmers. It also opens the conversation for exploring the design possibilities where Philippine tropical fabrics are concerned.
The Quintessential Gentleman Farmer
The brand's first collection pays tribute to the airiness of tropical dressing. It is breathable, comfortable, crisp, and functional—breathing in its own identity to the word "air". Images of the quintessential gentleman farmer come to mind, who would likely insist that “hacienda dressing should be fresco.”
“The idea is [that you can wear it] from city to resort. AIRE is all about form and function with less fuss,” says Luis Espiritu, Creative Director for Aire. Garments defined by elegant lines and light natural fabrics in soothing hues, that today’s elegant gentleman can wear on any occasion. Many of the silhouettes recall the laid back style of European summers, but with a distinctive Filipino twist.
An Homage to The Father of Sugarcane Farming
Ultimately, the brand also pays tribute to Eduardo “Ed” Claparols—Mike’s father—who was avisionary in the sugar industry. Known as “The Father of Mechanized Sugarcane Farming,” Ed was instrumental in setting up the First Farmers Sugar Central to serve the sugarcane planters of Talisay, Negros Occidental.
Clapraols was also a firm believer in regenerative farm practices, which ensured healthy plant growth by incorporating significant amounts of organic matter into the soil. He did this by converting sugarcane leaves and mud press into compost, and then mixing it with the soil.
Beyond his work and philanthropy, the distinguished gentleman was known for his “air of presence” whenever he entered a room. His confidence and charm was infectious, making him the life of the party anywhere he went. The family patriarch was a truly sophisticated dresser. His wardrobe was filled with elegant menswear pieces such as blazers, bush jackets, and pocketed shirts. Using that as an anchor of inspiration, AIRE hopes to bring the spirit of Claparols’ classic style into the modern age.
Fashion Through Farmers
As a progressive, sustainable brand, AIRE is guided by three pillars. First, the brand uses only natural fibers, all of which are ethically sourced via pineapple and cotton farmers from Don Salvador Benedicto and Bayawan in Negros Occidental. Community plays an integral role in the development of the menswear label. As such, the team has dedicated itself to supporting local farmers by giving them opportunities at making extra income. Fair trade practices are employed as the team works with local farms and IP communities at the Negros Occidental.
AIRE also works closely with the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) in adopting technologies to convert the natural fibers into wearable yarns. Here, the pre-treatment, spinning, and blending facilities are put to good use in creating what we now know as pineapple tropical fabrics. Mike notes that, “like linens, our pineapple tropical fabrics are light, airy, and ideal for creating tropical-inspired garments.”
Pineapple Tropical Fabrics at the Forefront
As a result of the efforts and processes undertaken by the team, AIRE has emerged as a 100% Philippine-made, sustainable brand. It brings pineapple tropical fabric to the forefront of fashion. Founders Mike and Banj add that through the brand, they hope to create a high demand for the all-natural, sustainable material.
In doing so, AIRE also aims to bring more livelihood for Negros-based artisans and farmers. The founders note how the Philippines is gifted with many natural fibers that can be converted into something beautiful and wearable. The possibilities are limitless, and the future will see it come to fruition. However, it begins with AIRE.
The premiere collection of AIRE will be available at ArteFino Festival on September 8, 2022. For more information, please visit @aire_mnl on Instagram.