Thursday, July 14, 2016
Weaving Iloilo for the Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair
Loom weaving is popular home-based tradition in the rural area in the Philippines, especially in the Visayas. It has graduated into a firm level production in some parts of the island. The provinces of Aklan, Antique and Iloilo were known for it.
History would tell us that even before Iloilo became known as the “Textile Capital of the Philippines” in the 18th century, women had been weaving using materials that were bartered with the Chinese. It was said that the Chinese had traded amicably along the Philippine coasts for several centuries before the coming of the Spaniards. Popular products bartered by the locals were pearls, shells, medicinal nuts in exchange for porcelain, fine crystals, glass beads, silk threads and iron needles.
Our local weavers had been providing the world with world-class hand-woven textiles such as Pina (pineapple fiber), Sinamay (pineapple and silk fibers) and Jusi (Banana fiber). In fact, Iloilo had been ranked as the top producer of hand-loomed textiles of the country and hand-loomed textiles had been the top export in the 18th century. Looms were said to have scattered by the thousands in the towns of Miagao, Tigbauan, Sta. Barbara and Janiuay.
Weaving these textiles is a slow and tedious process mostly done by hand. It starts with harvesting crops where the fiber to be used for weaving will be stripped, knotted and tied. For coloring, natural dyeing method is applied using leaves, barks and roots from trees. Months are consumed before producing the fabric.
Our loom-weaving industry had failed to pick up in the 1980’s with the introduction machine=woven textiles that were less labor-intensive. And because of that, the numbers of weavers declined. Many opted for better opportunities outside of their communities, and the younger generation lack interest to the trade.
However, effort had made to revive the interests in loom-weaving. The Department of Trade and Industry with the town of Miagao advocated for the craft not only for domestic consumption but as an important household entrepreneurial activity, particularly in the barangays of Indag-an and Valencia where a cooperative and several groups of women had been engaged in weaving for quite sometime now.
Presently, the towns of Miagao, Badiangan, Oton, Igbaras and Duenas in Iloilo considered its loom-weaving industry as a major contributor to their economy and had become a major provider of family income.
Hablon is a Hiligaynon word for habol or the weaving process itself. But it is now popularly identified as a textile. In the past, abaca fibers were popularly used as materials in weaving Hablon and Patadyong. But due to the decline in the supply of its natural fiber along with its long production time, Hablon is woven using polyester thread, a much cheaper and readily available thread with a small percentage of cotton fiber. It takes approximately 4-5 meters of patadyong or hablon fabrics a day to finish.
Patadyong and Hablon are popular Ilonggo fabrics. Both also boast of a rich, ancient craft. As a textile used in garments, people wear it with pride and dignity. Surely, one is wearing a legacy. How it has become Iloilo’s pride and how it evolved from the simple wrap around dress or as table runners to an elaborate handicraft that it is now is what had been annually featured during the Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair help every August at the Event Center of SM City Iloilo.
Among the key players of this annual event is the Provincial Tourism Office of Iloilo along with the Regional Office of the Department of Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry which had been donating wooden looms and threads to weaving communities.
The Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair (IFFF) a trade fair, demonstration and fashion show in one will be celebrating its 9th year on August 3-7, 2016. August 3 (Wednesday) at 5 p.m. will feature LGU-DUENAS with HABOL DUENASANON and 6 p.m. will have DARYL AMAR for HABLON MODA; August 4 (Thursday) at 5 p.m. will showcase LGU-OTON on Spotlight and 6 p.m. will feature MARGRET ESTELLE BLAS for ANYAG; August 5 (Friday) at 5 p.m. will make way for the graduating students of the Fashion Design and Merchandising Department of ISAT University featuring JEFFY TICAO, JO NINO DAMASCO, ELON DELGADO, JOHN EDWARD SALES, JOHN ASDOLO, MELVIN ARANGA, MARIA ERICKA CELIZ, CLOE ANN SERUE and JOHN LARLAR and 6 p.m. will feature LEXTER BADANA for PRECIOSA; August 6 (Saturday) at 5 p.m. will spotlight LGU-MIAGAO on Centerstage and 6 p.m. will have International Lifestyle Designer PJ ARANADOR for PATADYONG ACCESORIOS; August 7 (Sunday) at 5 p.m. will present the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association, Inc. on the Ramp and 6 p.m. will be highlighted by the ILOILO FASHION DESIGNERS COUNCIL featuring JOHN MONTINOLA, IAN JORDA, HELLO HELLO, JUN-G CANDELARIO, PAUL CONTE, LEXTER BADANA, BINKY PITOGO and AUDREY ROSE ALBASON.
The event is organized the Provincial Tourism Office of the Iloilo Provincial Government and SM City Iloilo in partnership with the Department or Trade and Industry, the Department of Tourism Regional Office, LGU-Miagao, LGU-Oton, LGU-Duenas, LGU-Badiangan, Tinukib and the Daily Guardian.
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