By JOHN LEGASPI
It’s no longer a trend. The rave for anything local is here to stay. Thanks to our modern warriors of Filipino fashion, from innovative designers and stylish icons to social entrepreneurs who shed light on Filipino artistry, more and more are contributing to bringing Filipino style to the forefront of fashion.
This season of giving, let’s continue to celebrate everything Filipino by supporting these local artisans. Each purchased product brings with them the rich history of the Philippines. Each tribe showcases unique stories through its intricate weaves. And in contrast to those who think these pieces are too expensive, you’re in for a surprise. Here are some picks that are less than ₱1,000.
Madrid Big Leaf Macrame Shopper Bag, ₱699, @shopstylecat
The Madrid is the perfect companion for weekend markets. Look chic with a double shoulder strap in tan leatherette material so it can take you from city to beach and vice versa. It is handwoven so there may be slight imperfections, which means each one is unique and one-of-a-kind. Style Cat ensures that its production process has minimum environmental impact by using local raw materials and eco-friendly dyes.
Kalinga choker, ₱200, @kinwaetnikahandicrafts
A perfect accessory comes with a sense of pride. The multi-colored bead chokers from the mountains of Kalinga bear meanings and symbolism in its color—yellow for prosperity, red for bravery, blue for clean water, black for earth, brown for dirty water, and green for growing rice fields.
Tie-dye shirts, ₱300-₱500 @bungisngistiedyesatbp
Add a dash of psychedelic fashion to your holiday ensemble, Bungisngis tie-dyes, atbp. brings fun shades and a dose of happiness all in one shirt. Perfect for the wanderlust, these rasta shirts are a definite must-pack for every journey.
Head wraps, ₱850-₱1,000, @shopstylecat
The chicest way to look put together is through these wired head wraps made with Binakol and Katarines fabrics. Take your pick from these three-inch and eight-inch wide wraps.
Toni organizer, ₱994, @rags2riches
Stay fashionable with this a multi-purpose organizer perfect to carry all your work and electronic essentials. It’s composed of multiple interior compartments and garterized cord and pen holders. Made from nylon trims, nylon pockets, and zip closure, it features the signature Rags to Riches (R2R) basket weave handwoven by the R2R urban artisans.
Filu ring, ₱990, @goldenmonstera
It is in sunny Siargao where Golden Monstera was born. This jewelry brand was started by Daniel and Jenn, a couple of paradise seekers who have traveled the world in search of adventures, which led them to an island paradise in southern Philippines. Add a touch of edginess with Filu rings that are inspired by a serpent’s ability to be stealth and agile, to the point of almost being weightless, yet still stunningly powerful.
Raffia Belt Bag in Black, ₱999.75, @kulturapilipino
Kultura highlights Filipino artistry and craftsmanship by offering an expansive range of products made from indigenous materials that best reflect Philippine heritage and its contemporary culture. This fringed, beaded, and woven black raffia bag is a sophisticated Filipino spin on the belt bag that carries all your daily essentials in style.
Saraw Bag, ₱999, @yakoreyes
The Saraw bag by designer Yako Reyes is made from locally weaved inabel fabric from the Ilocos region with colorful German leather for fringes. It is the perfect eclectic piece to gift your most artsy tita or your über fashionista sister.
Respecting Traditional Craft
While wearing modern Filipiniana can make one feel part of the movement toward nationalism, it is still important to seek knowledge about the stories, values, and disciplines woven into the indigenous textiles. These artisanal fabrics are rooted in rituals and traditions and must be used ethically and with proper respect. Get to know the products more with these tips.
1. Know the context
In today’s modern technology, information regarding indigenous textile and how to wear them appropriately can be acquired by a push of a button. Educating oneself is part of the process of wearing these artisanal works with pride. Books such as Sinaunang Habi: Philippine Ancestral Weave by Marian Pastor-Roces and Journey of a Thousand Shuttles: The Philippine Weave by Norma A. Respicio (these books can be perfect gifts as well) can give one a proper introduction on the weaving heritage of the country.
2. Give proper credits
Stories of the past are threaded in the discipline of weaving. Ethnic tribes have different interpretations, rituals, and processes in creating their local fabrics. And each textile requires long hours of labor to produce. So apart from studying them, it is also appropriate to give them the recognition they deserve.
3. Go for collaborations
The best way to elevate the Philippine weave textiles and the people behind them is to establish a good working partnership with them. Organizations such as the GREAT Women and the Habi: Philippine Textile Council help entrepreneurs and designers by building bridges with the ethnic communities. These are trusted producers that are dedicated to uplifting weaving tribes and promoting the responsible use of the textiles. This way, consents are given by the tribes and they are compensated for their work.