Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair: Meshing History, Culture and Fashion

Clothing and textiles have been enormously important throughout human history–so have their materials, production tools and techniques, cultural influences, and social significance. Methods of textile production have continually evolved, and the choices of textiles available have influenced how people carried their possessions, clothed themselves, and decorated their surroundings.

a weaver from Barangay Salngan, Oton
Weaving textiles is one of the longest continuing traditional arts in the Philippines. Many provinces in the country have a rich history of weaving fabrics were most of them would date back from as early as pre-Hispanic era. And with a diverse culture, the traditions of weaving vary from one place to another.

The Philippines is famous for hand-loomed textiles which differ from the finest and transparent in quality to the textured and geometric design. It is said that of the ten notable Philippine fabrics, six come from the island of Panay, namely piña, sinamay, jusi, abaca, patadyong and hablon.

Our hand-loomed textiles are sought after items both locally and worldwide. High levels of Filipino ingenuity are alive in the textile store rooms of museums in different parts of the world. It was said that in 1862, on the occasion of Queen Alexandria’s marriage to Edward VII, an intricately embroidered piña handkerchief was purchased and presented as a wedding gift to the couple. The replica can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Nineteenth-century tourists and businessmen from Europe and America were fascinated by our local textiles and were popular items for souvenirs from the Philippines. These fabrics are simple but decorative.

Known to be the most popular is the Piña fabric of Aklan. This hand-loomed textile is made from pineapple leaf fibers. It is a delicate cloth and is considered to be one of the most expensive, thus, it is only used for very formal occasions.

The Sinamay and JUSI fabrics of Arevalo in Iloilo are also very popular fabrics. Sinamay may be dyed or stiffened, depending on how a user likes it to be. It could also be either in a loose or tight weaving pattern.  Jusi is basically a translucent fabric woven from a combination of silk yarn and pineapple thread. It is commonly embroidered with intricate designs. It is mechanically woven and stronger than the piña cloth.

ABACA is vegetable leaf fiber derived from the Musa Textilis plant. The fiber is obtained from the outer layer of the leaf. The finer fibers are used for weaving cloth. The outer, coarser fibers are used in the manufacture of matting and durable cordage. It is hand-woven material found in the Province of Aklan and in the municipalities of Janiuay and Igbaras in Iloilo.

coordinated threads are placed to produce Patadyong

patadyong is a cotton fabric in plaid patterns of red, blue, yellow, green and pink with white borders, is considered as the most popular hand-woven textile of Iloilo specifically in the town of Miagao. It is popularly used, especially in rural areas for a variety of purposes: it can be a wraparound, lower-body cover, a drape over the shoulder used to carry babies or objects, and a cover-up when bathing or washing in the river, or a table spread or curtain.

male hablon weaver in Badiangan, Iloilo
HABLON is a hand-woven cloth made of cotton blends in plain or plaid patterns popularly woven in the towns of Miagao, Oton, Badiangan, Duenas and Igbaras.

Established in 2008 the Indigenous Fashion Fiber Fair is set to promote our local weaving industries with the objective of exploring the history and importance of fiber and textile arts in our communities and our lives; fostering inter-generational connections; sharing new techniques and project ideas; providing opportunities for shopping for hand-made, unique gifts and collectibles; and, offering fun, excitement, education, and relaxation for fiber enthusiasts and the general public.

The annual event started highlighting beautiful creations by local designers on good quality indigenous fabrics that featured textile and fiber works in Panay including the versatile hand woven hablon, patadyong, pina, jusi and abaca. The fashion show segment of the fair does not only showcase the creativity of our local weavers but, more importantly, it hopes to generate sustained demand for these local fabrics both here and abroad.

The Indigenous Fashion Fiber Fair puts to fore the art of hand weaving, one of the most important crafts handed down from generation to generation along with the indigenous fabrics admired for their sheer beauty, uniqueness and global appeal. This is an annual event organized by the Iloilo Provincial Government through the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism, SM City Iloilo and the Department of Tourism VI this year is proud to show the textile and fiber work of a number of Ilonggo communities from the municipalities of Miagao, Oton, Duenas, Badiangan, Igbaras and Janiuay on October 17-19, 2012 at the SM City activity center.

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