Down With Fast Fashion! - Courtney Cady
What inspired the name, Bagtazo?
Bagtazo is my maternal grandmother's maiden name. My grandma Tess was born in The Philippines and came to the US in the early 60s. Being half Filipino has greatly shaped my identity, so I named my company to honor my roots.
What does being an environmentalist mean to you?
I have been an environmentalist for as long as I can remember. There was a really bad oil spill in Alaska when I was a kid (the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989). I was 5 years old. I saw images of sea animals covered in oil in a National Geographic magazine and then all over the television. Seeing these images made me so upset.
For me, being an environmentalist requires a great deal of compassion. I don't think enough people think of the Earth as a living thing. They just think living things live on Earth. Environmentalism requires a sense of justice for living things. It also requires one to accept their own hypocrisies and life's inherent paradoxes; to allow oneself to help on a micro-scale, rather than thinking that because their actions in one place help the environment but in another place add to the problem (accepting the inconsistency of recycling at home but still driving a car for example).
At Bagtazo, we strongly stand behind using natural materials whenever possible. People like to call something vegan leather - but really it's just plastic. But until I read a compelling scientific article that proves creating plastic fabric has less of a carbon footprint than raising and slaughtering cattle does, I've decided that I prefer leather, since it lasts longer and biodegrades. But at the end of the day, I've mapped out what I can and can't do to help the environment based on my world view, and I know that's different from others. I think that's the crux of it. Caring enough to decide where you stand.
What are your greatest influences as a designer?
1930s - 1970s European fine art. As well as early feminist works & American performance art.
What’s the inspiration behind the Advent SS 18 collection?
Advent is Bagtazo's coming of age collection. For the first time ever, we have introduced colored hats to the line. Being a small business, having the ability to make colored hats (meeting dye minimums with factories) was something we couldn't do until now.
Also, in the US, we seem to be coming of age as well. People are finally standing up to archaic baby-boomer mentality and patriarchally dominated perspectives.
To me, given the climate, both professionally and socially, it feels like a ceremonial rights of passage of sorts. As if a new life is just about to start.
Advent means coming into place, view or being. It can also mean arrival. Bagtazo, in line with mentality shifts of society are slowly coming into place.
Describe the typical Bagtazo wearer
Bagtazo's customer ranges in age, gender and social groups. Women above 50 love Bagtazo hats, but so do young queer men in their 20s. The common thread has more to do with self-confidence and perspective. Today, a lot of people tell me they feel "crazy" wearing a hat, or that they're hard to wear. But every person I've met who buys a Bagtazo piece, sees it, puts it on, and immediately the piece looks like it was already in their wardrobe. The Bagtazo wearer has a certain taste that transcends 'demographics.'