Our Values in Action
It is nice to have your values written down on paper as a vision you follow. However, the more important part is actually living your values, and creating positive impact. Through our team around founder Chona Bacaoco, and the brothers Andreas and Martin Volkmar, and thanks to our great Global Talent community and partners worldwide, MM Milano is able to advance its vision of “Bringing ESG to Fashion”.
In this blog we are happy to share with you how our people, projects and services bring our values to life: INCLUSION, ACCEPTANCE, OPPORTUNITIES, SUSTAINABILIYTY
Creating a global talent community to promote our values on the world's runways
MM Milano around its founder and Chief Designer Chona Bacaoco is proud to have formed a constantly growing community of wonderful Talents from all over the world living the brand's vision and values.
Talents are brought together at MM Milano events, activities and fashion shows worldwide. They enjoy working with and learning from each other, sharing their individual experiences, cultures, and personal struggles.
MM Milano wants to provide their Talents with a safe and trustful environment to talk about what is important to them, to feel integrated and included, and be able to pursue their dreams together. Failure doesn’t exist, only learning from the actions that did not work out as expected. “Being different” by being the person you want to be, is more than appreciated!
Our Talents act as Change Agents
Our Talents are standing for their values and what they belief in. By creating an active community of Talents, and organizing events with them, they are not only able to perform their professional skills on stage, but also do get the opportunity to demonstrate and jointly advocate for more inclusion, acceptance and sustainability in fashion and beyond.
For instance, the MM Milano team organizes ESG Get Together with their Talents to discuss current issues around sustainability and social responsibility. At our events, we further make sure important values are addressed – during HOME of Fashion Week Texas, held at the US-Mexican border, the importance of inclusion and integration was addressed by many participants, incl. the mayor of the city of Hidalgo.
Making sure our voices are heard
Advocacy is successful when it reaches people, and makes them listen and think. The MM Milano team therefore ensures that our change agents, incl. founder Chona Bacaoco, and their messages and actions appear in the world’s media.
From Chona’s heartbreaking experiences throughout her life, to our Talents’s first experiences as a sustainable designer, you’ll find it all here:
Asian Journal: From Farm To Fashion -
Rappler: Filipina designer Chona Bacaoco
turns heads at LAFW
Harpers Bazaar: MM Milano's Spring/Summer Collection
Vogue Italia (from min 1:20)
Elle: MM Milano Pluto Line
Our leading Change Agent Chona Bacaoco
She is our Founder, Chief Designer and a great example for all our Talents. Growing up in the four corners of her family’s humble tailoring shop in rural Philippines, it was Chona’s mom who taught her own personal ideas and techniques that Chona is now using as an inspiration in her everyday designs.
Her personal tragedies when searching for a new life in Europe, and several setbacks as a designer in the fashion industry – because of being “different” - make Chona the perfect change agent.
Despite all these challenges, Chona has made her way of being a successful designer, keeping and spreading her values of inclusion, acceptance and sustainability. Watch these videos and you know there is no way you do not want to be part of our Global Talent community around Chona, trying to change the industry, and having an exceptional time.
We want to start an open dialogue on consequences of exclusion, rejection and discrimination – and theimportance of acceptance and tolerance
This is of highest importance in an industry that, for decades, has been driven by a few ideals of beauty and perfection, putting a lot of pressure on everyone trying to start a career in fashion and entertainment, and leading to massive exclusion and rejection.
Through our program “I AM”, MM Milano and our founder Chona Bacaoco work with our Talents not only on knowing what they want, who they are and want to be, but most importantly, on how to accept, feel comfortable and confident with themselves.
Having Chona as an ally, with her positivity and energy, and own personal experiences and tragedies of having been bullied and rejected, will encourage our Talents to join her when speaking up for their own cases, and creating awareness around the essential importance of acceptance and tolerance, although people might not fit into any kind of pre-defined societal norms and pictures.
From Farm To Fashion – an honest interview with MM Milano Founder Chona Bacaoco in the Asian Journal
By having our Founder, Chief Designer & Talent Consultant Chona Bacaoco talking about her manifold challenges ranging from a happy but difficult childhood to rejections and personal dramas when coming to Italy and entering the fashion industry for the first time.
She has shown the world that determination and passion can bring you through the hardest times in life, and there is never a reason to loose your kindness and trust in people, no matter how hopeless the situation seems to be.
Please join this incredible women who is leading not only her own brand and agency, but a movement for more acceptance and inclusion in fashion, and this world. Read more here.
We want to help provide access to equal opportunities for our Talents
For instance, one of our Talents experienced several setbacks and discrimination in her ambitions of starting a career in fashion due to not fulfilling the “standard criteria”. This had a dramatic impact on her mental well-being and lead to separating herself from her family and environment for a long time.
By including her in our community and giving her the chance to start showing her skills on international runways, her conditions rapidly improved, and she made a lot of new friends, many of them confronted with the same issues she was facing. We have seen her walking and in front of the camera for MM Milano and other big international brands including Celebrity Designer Michael Cinco from Dubai.
Conclusion: How will you know someone doesn’t fit in without even given them a chance?
It is never too late to start your career
You thought being in your 20s is the perfect age for starting a career on global runways? Well, you are wrong.
The 84 year old Frank Lam from New Jersey, USA, gave his runway debut during New York Fashion Week in September 2021, showcasing MM Milano’s new sustainable collection from natural hand-made materials. Frank, a well-known lawyer in his earlier life, made the crowd cheer non-stop, and rewarded them with his unforgettable hand kissed while floating over the runway.
After the show he told us: “This is not yet over – a new career has just started”. Find pictures of his iconic performance on our Instagram @mmmilano.thebrand & @mmmilano.agency.
Collaboration with women-led local weaving communities from Chona’s home country the Philippines
It has always been Chona’s dream to represent and promote her home country and its people on international stages. This has become true as MM Milano is working together with rural weaving communities in the Philippines. Their sustainable hand-woven fabrics made from natural fibers such as Abacá and pineapple, have been transformed into precious dresses and suits which MM Milano Talents showcased in the world’s fashion capitals, incl. Paris, Milan, New York and Dubai.
This collaboration has now been amplified through the production of traditional individualized bags with local weaving communities. Furthermore, MM Milano and the Department of Trade and Industry Philippines have organized a workshop for the local weavers on organic farming practices and is providing support to local families to be able to send their children to school and give them access to education.
Designing with our MM Milano Talents to increase awareness of sustainability aspects in fashion
MM Milano’s founder and Chief Designer Chona Bacaoco is working with young designer talents on their first own collection, thereby introducing them to the world of sustainable fabrics, recycled dresses, and the industry’s footprint on the environment.
The talents themselves start using more sustainable materials in their collections, and become advocates for sustainability on social media and at international fashion weeks where they present their designs.
Using natural and recycled materials in MM Milano dresses
MM Milano is conscious about fashion’s impact on the environment, and tries to contribute to a more sustainable industry through the use of sustainable materials, from its collections over accessories to bags and hangtags it offers.
As advocates for more ESG in fashion, we are active on social media, on our website, as well as through our Global talent community at events and fashion weeks worldwide.