Jessica Ouano is a designer, entrepreneur, researcher and consultant with 8 years of international experience in the textile and fashion industry, having worked with businesses based in the Philippines, Germany, Japan, India and the United Kingdom. She provides support in terms of developing sustainable and innovative business models, systems, processes and products for the textile and fashion industry.
From 2016 - 2019, Jessica was the textile and apparel designer of the cultural and social enterprise, ANTHILL Fabric Gallery, where she designed and contributed to the creation of contemporary handwoven textiles and products for ANTHILL and other local and international brands. During this time, she introduced textile and product designs that involved the use of waste as an input material and supported handloom weavers and sewers in developing these products. Through ANTHILL’s Community Enterprise and Development Program, she conducted design workshops to encourage creativity within ANTHILL’s partner artisan communities.
Jessica with an Abaca farmer in Negros
In 2020, Jessica completed her Masters in Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation at London College of Fashion supported by a fully-funded scholarship from Chevening, the UK government’s global scholarship programme. Her masters project explored how Philippine businesses could help address the gaps in creating textiles made with Philippine natural fibres such as Abaca. She turned her research into a journal article entitled ‘Design-Driven Approaches to Enable Sustainable Entrepreneurship – Two Case Studies of Regional Textile Communities From the Philippines and the UK’, that was published in the Design Journal Special Issue on the Value of Design-driven Entrepreneurship. In 2020, she also worked on sustainability focused research projects for circular.fashion, a sustainable change agency in Berlin creating product and system innovation for a circular economy in fashion and textiles, and Sabinna, a conscious lifestyle brand for women based in London and Vienna that explores sustainability beyond the product.
From 2020 - 2022, she worked as the Chief Sustainability and Innovation Officer of ANTHILL Fabric Gallery. During this time, she supported the development of new business models and ANTHILL’s online textile marketplace. She also developed a set of tools, systems and processes to improve efficiency within the ANTHILL design and production team. She has a CMI Level 5 Award in Management Coaching and Mentoring, and has conducted leadership coaching for members of ANTHILL’s core team.
In 2021, Jessica founded Damgo to encourage the creation and use of innovative and ethically made Philippine textiles. Jessica was chosen as one of the winners of the First Fashion Values Challenge, a competition created by Sustainability education programme Fashion Values, that challenged applicants to develop new fashion products, systems and services that prioritise restoring nature.
She is currently exploring and working on projects that involve the preservation of traditional crafts through contemporary design as well as creating regenerative textiles for fashion and interiors.