Fashion for the Greater Good

3:22 PM

Only in history books (early Marcos regime if I remember it correctly) that I've known Philippines as once-a-great country. It is such an unfortunate fate for us to have fallen as one of the lowest third world nations from being one of the leading developing economies in Asia. Ever since this collapse, poverty has remained a central issue in the Philippines, from which other national problems branch out like illiteracy and miseducation, unemployment, hunger, crime, injustice and even corruption.

Issues like these are out of our control. I, myself, get frustrated just thinking about it and for most of you who are interested to help out, you may not know where and how to start (how to get involved with charity, where to donate, who to get in touch with etc).

Maybe you can begin with fashion. For the skeptical, yeah you read it right, fashion can be your first step to helping out. Most of us wear t-shirts everyday. It's any person's (male or female) closet basic. It's one of the easiest item to put on, the comfiest to wear plus the most versatile too (something you can wear to work [for those who don't have formal dress codes], to running errands, to going out with friends, to simple everyday tasks, etc.).

There are already a lot of brands selling tees; most of you have established your trusted favorites. However, you may want to skip on the usual and try out graphic shirts from a recently launched line called Greater Good Apparel.

Store opening of Greater Good Mall of Asia branch (Photo from Aisa)

The brand
Greater Good wants you to "wear humanity" through designs that address various issues from animal rights, environmental causes, patriotism, to poverty and hunger with the aim to cultivate social awareness towards a deeper involvement and a shift in lifestyle - "a movement towards the greater good".

L-R: Aisa, Ava, Ana and Me. (Photo from Aisa)

Their designs are in collaboration with artists and celebrities like Arjie Salango, Carlo Tolentino, Louie Paul Jalbuena, Manny Librodo, Kneil Melicano, Kristy Anne Ligones and GMA 7 host Raymond Gutierrez. Want to be one of them? Go ahead and submit your own design/s. All entries will undergo a screening process handled by their team. Everyone (amateur and professional) is encouraged to join and chosen designs will be credited properly and carried in their line.

Maybe you're wondering, where does all the "helping out the country" falls in? For your purchase, a certain percentage of their sales goes to Gawad Kalinga. As I said earlier, that's a good start.

It runs in the family
I had the chance to interview cousins and founders of
Greater Good, Michael and Christian Concepcion. Coming from a family of businessmen, it is no wonder that the two were heavily influenced to delve in business as well. Christian is the son of the famous Go Negosyo entrepreneurship advocate Joey Concepcion who was one of those who funded the two young Concepcions' pursuit of their passion.

Me interviewing Greater Good founders Christian and Mike (out of frame) Concepcion. (Photo by Aisa)

L-R: Aisa, Me, Christian Concepcion, Michael Concepcion, Ava and Ana. (Photo from Ava)

The two shared that the road to launching the brand and eventually putting up its first branch in Mall of Asia (ground floor, entertainment area) was tough. They previously had a t-shirt venture that didn't end up quite well and so, they did a lot of thinking, and of course reworking, to eventually come up with a business model (social dimension) and were able to develop a stronger retail brand.

Michael assures that aside from their advocacy, the brand stands out because of its well-thought store interior. With its posh yet eco-friendly vibe, the Greater Good store has a flat screen above each design rack flashing an informative description of each advocacy being supported by the design itself for buyers to get to know more about concept of the work. I also had the chance to check out the fitting room which has a faux grass carpet which looked like the real one.

Photo courtesy of Greater Good from Monday Magazine (source:

1) Look at the grass carpet! 2) Saw Vern at the event too. (Photo from Aisa)

Mike and Chris also revealed that their future plans include opening more branches, organizing social-awareness events and collaboration with Stylebreak by Laureen Uy.

The cost
Their shirts are averagely-priced at P550. The usual P300-shirts in the market are either made of a cheaper fabric or has a simpler design, example are the statement tees w/c only has letters on it or an uncomplicated illustration. The price you'll pay is equivalent to the quality of the material, the effort and hard work per design, and the proceed that goes to charity.

My choice of Greater Good shirt. (Photo from Aisa)
Nude Blazer Thrifted | Long cardigan Thrifted | Floral pleated skirt Thrifted

You'll also receive a messenger reuseable bag instead of plastic bags. Bring it the next time you shop and you'll be rewarded with a 5% discount.

Style and Soul says
Their mission and vision is noble and impressive. But with such strong advocacy comes certain expectations. In the future, I hope to see the brand surface from fashion and actually translate their cause to tangible results. It would be great if they can blog annually, quarterly or monthly about how the proceeds are able to literally help Gawad Kalinga's various nation-building projects. And it's great to look years later what difference have they made, who have they helped and how have they made this country a better place.

It is a challenge worth accepting, a question worth answering.

And for the rest of us who can't afford to create an enterprise just to help the poor, our way of helping indeed starts BUT doesn't and shouldn't end with buying a shirt. Don't just buy, make sure you really know the cause, or else it would truly be superficial on your part.
Read the daily newspapers, and keep yourselves aware of social and political issues. Also, there are a lot of other charities out there to donate to and a lot of little acts of kindness to do.

"Before we can change the world, we always have to begin with ourselves. Cliche but true.
So let's start with us!" - Style and Soul (Photo from Ava)

(c) Melai Entuna, December 2010

P.S. Thank you to Ana and her friend Mel for inviting us!
Photos courtesy of: Ana, Aisa, Ava and Greater Good website

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  1. hey
    very interesting post
    i like the quotation in the end

  2. the designs are really very intriguing.
    merry christmas. *hugs!

  3. looks like a really great brand. thanks for introducing it to us. hope you had a merry christmas!

    xx raez


I appreciate anything you have to say. Thanks for dropping by. It means so much to me. Love, Melai

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