This 21-year-old entrep speaks for me and many others who want to break away from society standards of ideal body
Online shopping has become a dangerous hobby I have picked up during the quarantine. I like to tell myself that I deserve a treat, especially because of the emotional turmoil the lockdown inflicted on the majority of us. In reality, I know in the back of my mind that I window shop because it distracts me from my thoughts—from the guilt I feel while doing nothing in my room. As I click “add to cart”, I feel a sense of excitement. The thought of me in my new outfit gives me something to look forward to.
But have you ever felt that sort of high only to have it shot down by the disappointment of unflattering clothing? More often than not, I find myself experiencing this feeling of discouragement and I am left wondering whether it is my fault I am not satisfied with my appearance, or whether it is society’s?
In today’s generation, there is a recurring debate that surrounds the body positivity movement. Some may argue it is a toxic mindset to possess when people begin normalizing obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. Fourth year, entrepreneurial management student at the University of Asia and the Pacific, Alliyah Hortaleza, counters these claims by creating her own body inclusive brand, Kalosawear.
Kalosawear, a start-up lounge and beachwear line, was created by the 21-year-old entrepreneur this quarantine. I had the privilege of having a conversation with her about the story behind the brand and how it came to be.
“Growing up, I was always compared to my mother. She falls under a model-like frame while I fall into a slightly larger one”
Alliyah’s mother, like many of us, was her fashion inspiration, among other things, throughout her life. It was undeniable how challenging it was to idolize someone with a different body type from yours, having to receive criticism from other people about how unflattering certain clothes looked on her.
“People would tell me to watch my weight because I did not have a pretty face.”
The frustration began to build in our conversation as she explained how she hindered herself from wearing what she wanted. From there, she developed an epitome – a realization of how cruel society was to impose unrealistic standards of beauty on young impressionable people. Her rebellion against this toxicity is illustrated in her clothing line, a brand whose objective is to reject exclusivity and promote body positivity.
“My target market includes 16 to late 40s in order to include all ages and sizes that come with age. We even have grandmas who are liberated enough to wear the beachwear, and mothers too!”
Curating and designing the line herself, Alliyah adds how “the selling point of Kalosawear is that it is one of the first Filipino brands catered to all shapes and sizes. You do not need to have a certain look or size to confidently wear your clothes.”
Kalosawear’s goal is reflected in its name—Kalosa, a word derived from ancient Greek, meaning no level of beauty. Unlike many brands today, we see Hortaleza prioritizing the confidence and inclusivity of her market rather than bending to society’s unrealistic standards.
“There is an indirect group of how Filipino society portrays how women should look. Growing up I always saw sizes 1,2 and 3 models and wanted to look like them because that’s always what I saw. I would starve myself just to fit in. The expectations are just so unrealistic.”
What frustrates the young entrepreneur the most is when she sees the younger generation influenced by false advertisements of how you can achieve a societally ideal body. In reality, all these celebrities, more often than not, have the luxury of spending the money and time to be able to look the way they do. The many claims that their bodies are achieved effortlessly, disappoint her.
“I want to showcase how curves, stretch marks, and folds, are beautiful and natural.”
On top of her evident desire to change these toxic habits, her creative process shows a side of her that complements her entrepreneurial nature. After researching on current trends and delving into the intricacies of the fashion industry, she customizes each piece in her clothing line to express her own style and preferences.
“My creative process involves researching the new trends to keep up with current fashion nowadays, and then sketching and drawing my interpretations of them. I tweak each piece to fit the brand”
It is a breath of fresh air to see the bravery of someone from my own generation breaking a toxic cycle that has been drawn out for far too long. Hearing Alliyah’s experiences felt like I was listening to my younger self, a more insecure and confused version of me, attempting to comprehend why I was bigger than everyone around me. A wave of comfort engulfed me as I listened to how Alliyah experienced the same thing. The refreshing atmosphere of our conversation reassured me that there were people like her igniting change—change that is long overdue and change that will begin blurring the lines of cruelty society has imposed over multiple generations.
Kalosawear is only the first of many steps to fixing the damage done by society but is a definite step in the right direction. Her courage and pioneering character is a force to be reckoned with, and it shows in her journey to revolutionize the fashion industry.
Visit Kalosawear on Instagram . Their silk wear range from P920 to P980. Swimwear, P1,600.