Friday, August 14, 2015

John Montinola: Embracing Culture in Fashion By Bombette G. Marin

Fashion Designer John Montinola
Historically handloom has got its predominance and heritages in the southern district of Iloilo. The tradition of weaving cloth by hand constitutes one of the richest aspects of Ilonggo culture and heritage. The level of artistry achieved in handloom fabrics is unique. The handloom can meet every need from exquisite fabrics of daily use.

John Montinola is one of the most successful local designers. His work includes accessories and garments for fashion and furnishings. His work reflects a contemporary perspective on the natural environment. He wants to help weavers and many of his collections include the use of handlooms like hablon and polyabaca.

Both fabrics had been his favourite that he is currently working on a collection for his second exposure as a featured designer for Habol Ilonggo for the 8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair on August 27, 5 p.m. at the Event Center of SM City Iloilo. He will be using the textiles in a very contemporary and modern manner. It is juxtaposing the beauty of the craft and the possibility of a fresh approach.

photo by JS Ravena
In 2004 Montinola launched his first hablon and patadyong pieces in Tumandok Fashion Show to much enthusiasm and acclaim. The all-female collection reflected his uncompromising dedication to creating innovative designs using the paintings of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo as his inspiration.

His other collections focused on the importance of the craftsmanship of beautiful and simple contemporary designs where he experimented with other textiles as well as creating intricate, precious hand-made accessories to match the clothes.

The designer hoped to be an ambassador for this art and textile.  And what influenced this designer are the weavers of traditional Ilonggo fabrics and the art they had been practising for centuries.

photo by Patrick Nacionales
Montinola believes that there has been a return to the importance of handloom fabrics and its production due to its global appeal. The art of loom weaving represents a tradition that is passed down from mother to daughter, aunt to niece. The complexity of the weave, the color, and the type of thread used, determined the value of the fabric. With its local origin and exotic feel, the use of our handloom textiles links us to our past where our local fabrics were considered luxury goods signifying wealth and social status.

Nowadays, Ilonggos have learned to embrace these fabrics, using and assimilating them into societies as a part of culture and self-expression and still carrying an enormous amount of prestige.

Aside from being a fashion designer, Montinola is also one of the most sought-after freelance hair and make-up artists in the industry where alongside his creations he has the satisfaction of making his vision for fashion a reality.

photo by Paul Chiongson
The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair will turn 8 this year and celebrated on August 24-28 at the Event Center of SM City Iloilo. Beginning August 24 (Monday) the event will showcase Miagao LGU on the ramp at 4 p.m. and ANYAG with featured designer Ram Silva at 5p.m.; August 25 (Tuesday) will showcase HABOL ANINIPAY with designer Jose Marcial Luigi Escullar at 5 p.m.; August 26 (Wednesday) opens with HABLON MODA with designer Francis Ian Chua at 5 p.m.; August 27 (Thursday) will feature the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association as they take centerstage at 4 p.m. with highlight at 5p.m featuring designer John Montinola for HABOL ILONGGO at 5 p.m.; August 28 (Friday) will showcase the designs of the students for the Textile and Apparel Technology Department of the Iloilo Science and Technology University at 4 p.m. and ends with a bang with PRECIOSA for featured designer Sidney Eculla at 5 p.m.

The 8th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is brought to you by the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism of the Iloilo Provincial Government and SM City Iloilo. It is also brought to you by Iloilo Science and Technology University, Department of Trade and Industry, Iloilo Models Guild (IMG), John Montinola and The Daily Guardian.

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