The Unbearable Lightness of EAIRTH

  • Aug
  • 8
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The designer and her muse were photographed in the EAIRTH workshop in Subic, Zambales. Photographs by Sonny Thakur.

If you’ve ever laid your eyes on, let alone worn, anything made by EAIRTH, you’ll understand its unbearable lightness. Perhaps it’s the delicate texture; soft and smooth to the touch, made with the gentlest of silk and cotton that glides on the body like a second layer of skin. Maybe it’s the process and philosophy from which the brand was conceived; every single top and bottom is handcrafted with care, dyed with pigments made from indigo flowers, cacao, almond leaves. Or maybe it’s really all about the person who wears Eairth: someone who is at ease with their body, who is attuned to their surroundings and thrives with a deep connection with nature.

Part One of Three

In GRID Magazine Volume 06, we meet with three local brands that are working against the endless tide of insatiable wants and waste, showing us that dressing up and looking good doesn’t have to hurt anyone or the environment.

EAIRTH BY VIVIEN RAMSAY

LIFE BEFORE EAIRTH

I’ve been working in fashion forever. I was based in New York City, for my first job in the late ’80s. After that I became a director at Theory for Andrew Rosen, then later I also worked for Victoria’s Secret for five years. Then I moved to San Francisco and my last job was as a design director for Levi’s. When I left the United States 10 years ago, I thought I’d never touch fashion ever again in my life. I had such an aversion, because of the whole world around it. It was toxic. So I moved back here and decided to go back to basics.

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ON THE BIRTH OF EAIRTH

One day, I was hiking in Mindoro and I met a Mangyan community, the local residents of the island. I had lost track of time; it was already dusk and I couldn’t get back until the following morning. I vividly remember this beautiful Mangyan girl wearing a cut-up ACDC t-shirt that fit like a muscle tee, which was originally white but it was this patina of terracotta. She wore it with a traditional skirt and had a rope around her waist like a belt but it functioned to carry her bolo. I thought, wow, that’s it. The community was so kind and helpful, they welcomed me and let me stay with them until the morning.

We ate kamote—that’s all they had. They boiled the kamote in this large vat and would recycle the water that the kamote was boiled in because water’s really scarce up where they live. The whole family would wash their clothes in this water, which then explained why all their clothes had this patina of the kamote. It was so inspiring, so I started researching and got deep into natural pigments. I thought, okay, I would like to develop a pallete for the world, [which I’d call EAIRTH,] with clothes dyed the way pigments are created in the natural world. As far as the style and shape of the clothes go, it’s really all about comfort. I really believe that you can wear the same article of clothing from the moment you go to bed until you roll out, to work, to dinner.

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ON LIVING AND WORKING OUTSIDE THE CITY

When I left the United States, I wanted to go back home to my tropical country. See, I really loved to surf—and still do—and wanted to be able to surf as much and as often as I possibly could, as well as hike and spend a lot of time outside in nature, but still be able to run a business, create, and raise a kid. So when we looked in Subic, the place was perfect for what we needed. It’s in a jungle, it’s close to water, as well as an industrial zone, and just a drive away from the city. It’s not like I don’t have a city in my life; I go back and forth to Manila, New York City, LA, and Paris. What I needed most in my life is a home, you know? And a place to create. And peace. And we found it; it was a collective decision and it works for the whole family.

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ON USING MATERIALS SOURCED FROM NATURE

We use mostly silk, cotton, linen, leather. Each piece of clothing is handmade and hand-dyed. From talisay (Indian almond) leaves, we get the most beautiful blacks and charcoal gray. We use aluminum as a mordant to fix yellow and gold shades, for the pigment to grab on to the fabric. For the blacks and grays, we use iron and rust. For tan or skin-tone colors, we dye the fabrics in cacao husks that we get from Chocolate de Batirol in Baguio. The whole place ends up smelling like hot chocolate!

The designer and her muse were photographed in the EAIRTH workshop in Subic, Zambales. Photographs by Sonny Thakur.

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As featured in

The Good Life
GRID Volume 06

As featured in
The Good Life
GRID Volume 06

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