Why choose between being comfy and stylish when you can be both?
Admit it. We’ve all had days when we’d wish we could go out in our pambahay clothes. And you know what, who says we can’t? If there’s anything we’ve learned from this pandemic, it’s that we shouldn’t take the small things in life for granted, even if — especially if — it’s the cozy fit of our pajamas.
Luckily for us, staying at home for the majority of the last few years has led to the rapid rise of loungewear. No one’s going to judge you now for wearing sando-like tanks and jogging pants to the mall. If anything, it’s cute. It’s aesthetic. That’s why it’s not surprising at all for local fashion designers like Renice Uy to discover that this new version of at-home wear is more than just a hot trend. It’s a new way of living. And it’s the reason Renice founded For Keeps the Label, a quarantine-born fashion brand that provides everyday pieces with easy access to function, style, and quality.
“For Keeps is a collection of everywhere and everyday apparel for everybody. We produce a range of seasonless essentials that are fuss-free. We hope to provide quality yet affordable pieces that are for keeps — we only like things that last!” states the For Keeps the Label website.
For Keeps the Label (@forkeepsthelabel) has gained nearly 15k Instagram followers since it launched in August 2020. Here with CHiNOY TV, Renice divulges the story of her dive into the interconnected worlds of business and fashion, as well as her role as a Chinoy designer in the modern world.
How did you come up with For Keeps, and when did the idea for this come to be?
Way before I started For Keeps [the Label], I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and tap into the fashion industry. However, I did not know where to start. So for my internship, I worked for a retail company, and when I graduated in October 2019, I started to work there full time as a manager. This experience allowed me to know the ins and outs of running a small apparel business and later gave me that nudge to start my own. I left my job in April 2020, so I could be home with my family during the peak of COVID. That was when I started to conceptualize For Keeps [the Label] and find ways to bring my ideas into fruition.
Loungewear has become especially trendy recently. What’s the inspiration behind the brand?
For Keeps [the Label] was launched during the quarantine. I was home a lot, and all I wanted to wear was comfortable clothes. I thought that a couple of people could relate to that as well. I, too, found myself doing quick errands like groceries or a coffee run, so I decided to create my own line of loungewear that could easily be transitioned into stylish yet comfy outside clothes.
In the last year, we have expanded to more basics such as tank tops, trousers, and more. There are a lot of stores selling basics, but most of them were ill-fitting. I found myself constantly getting rid of them or found them getting ruined after a few uses and washes. Sometimes, I resorted to shopping from international stores, but that can get expensive and is not accessible to everybody. [This] was why I wanted to create a collection of essential wear that is easy to slip on, durable, and versatile yet flattering. We created our pieces around a “made-to-last” ethos. We value quality, versatility, and accessibility.
What do you love most about managing your own business and fashion brand?
It was and still is so crazy to me when ideas become sketches and sketches become real products. And people pay for and love these products. When I try to put an outfit together, I end up picking the outfit that makes me feel best. When I feel good, then I feel I look good. It is a mood booster, in my opinion. This is what For Keeps [the Label] wants their customers to feel.
How does the design process work?
Admittedly, I am not great at drawing, but I do know my stuff when it comes to silhouettes, textiles, and other details. I send in rough sketches and measurements to my amazing garment technicians and factories, and they help turn these into patterns then into samples. Once we have the samples ready, we do a washer-drier test to see how durable the fabrics are and have fittings on different body types so that we can modify the pieces to work for most. In making our pieces, we considered both form and function which is why sampling can take months. We only put out pieces we are confident with. Finally, once the samples are approved, our factory starts production.
What are your favorite pieces from For Keeps the Label?
This is really difficult because I put a lot of thought and heart into each product I put out. But if I had to choose, it would probably be a close tie between the Women’s Trousers and Split Flare Pants, which I wear on rotation — they are so comfortable and go with everything, and I can dress them up and down to fit almost any occasion.
How did your interest in fashion come to be?
I’ve always been passionate about fashion since I can remember. I would play dress up in my mom’s and grandmother’s clothes as a kid. It was how I expressed myself even at a young age. I loved fashion, but I did not like how wasteful it was. Additionally, I was also interested in the creation of something more than the actual pieces. Both thoughts were what really nudged me to create my own collection of basics that encouraged repetition. And now I’m happy to be able to share this with the community I’ve built with For Keeps [the Label].
What advice do you have for aspiring Chinoy fashion entrepreneurs?
Invest in your ideas, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and act on your thoughts. It won’t be easy, but great things take time.
Want to add your next OOTD to the cart? Head over to For Keeps the Label’s website right now!