Long before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines to see natives in the most arresting fabrics worn in a tribal manner, Chinese traders exchanged silk for these durable wovens. Here are the 8 top indigenous weaves that may someday go global. Say hello to our national fabrications and their exotic names, they are durable and weather friendly colorful fabrics which was practical yet strikingly beautiful. It can happen, already local designer Patis Tesoro, for instance, has met with Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino and Giorgio Armani who are interested in piña, known internationally as pineapple organza.
It is worn by wrapping the cloth around one’s waist and holding the ends together with the use of a tightly tied sash. It generally reaches down to knee length, and the weaving pattern of describes the culture and temperament of the wearer’s tribe.
Abel Iloco can be made into structured fashion forward garments because it has a strong weave and it can be cut on the bias and has a good drape. It is known throughout the country and overseas for their durability. As a whole, products from Ilocos handlooms are utilitarian: for that matter, traditional crafts of the Ilocanos are meant for day-to-day rugged wear.
Dr. Antonio Morga, A Spanish chronicler, wrote in 1610 in his “Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas” that the American Plain Indians heavily favored the thick and coarse type of cotton blankets coming from the Ilocos, presumably shipped to Mexico via the galleon trade.
Pineapple fibers are an ivory-white color and naturally glossy. This delicate and dreamy cloth is translucent, soft and fine with a high luster.
The traditional decoration for this fabric is a style of hand embroidery called calado. An embroidered piña garment is called piña calado. These handwoven fabrics are colored with vegetable dyes originating from leaves, and bark of different trees.
Pina fiber is often blended with cotton, abaca, and silk to create wonderful light, breezy fabrics. When woven with silk, it’s called piña seda or piña-silk. Piña jusi is blended with jusi (abaca or silk) for strength and sheerness and is less expensive than 100% piña.
A pioneer in the local eco-fashion movement, designer Fernandina “Dita” Sandico Ong sustainably produced her signature fabric from the exotic plant musa textilis. She christened it “banaca,” because abaca belongs to the banana family called Musaceae.
“I’m leveling up the look by adding more embellishments and coming up with bigger wraps,” she says. Sandico Ong is underscoring her forte as the “Wrap Artiste.”
Our indigenous fabrics really become world class when our young designers mix all elements, infusing pina, hablon, abel iloco in modern fashion. Our fashion editorials using all of the above. Also fashion shows in US and Europe where media, buyers and audience were stunned by our local textiles and wovens, the colors, embroidery that they have never seen before.
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