Filipino textiles and fabrics shine at Likhang HABI

THE artisan and craft product movement boom in the last few years has started to revitalize the lagging Filipino textile industry. Today, more and more Filipinos are beginning to appreciate indigenous textiles, not just from a fashion perspective, but also from a cultural perspective.

The Philippine Textile Council Inc. (HABI) has been instrumental in keeping the Filipino textile industry alive and thanks to the Likhang HABI Market Fair, Filipino textiles, both used in modern products and traditional attires, can be had by the general public.

For this year’s Likhang HABI Market Fair, the focus shifts not just to products which use Filipino textiles, but to the harvesters, weavers, and communities that keep their cultural traditions alive despite the pressures of modernity.

“We want to pay homage to the very makers of the indigenous Filipino textile who are responsible for the development and growth of our locally woven products. With their innate creativity and love of the craft, they empower local Filipino tradition, culture, and customs to thrive in the modern market,” HABI Chair Maribel Ongpin said.

“We will have a total of 60 booths during the Likhang HABI Market Fair. Some 30 weavers, from all around the country will be participating. They will be able to showcase the different indigenous textiles, designs, and fabrics that have become part of their cultural indentity,” HABI President Adelaida Lim explained.

Among the master weavers that will be participating in the 7th HABI Market Fair is Raquel Eliserio of Kalibo Aklan. She works with pineapple fiber, silk, and natural dyes, primarily producing high-quality piña-seda textiles. Raquel’s Piña Cloth in Balete, Aklan, is in the advocacy of reviving the hand-woven culture through school youth and self-earning individuals from communities in the province.

But more than a platform to sell their goods, the Likhang HABI Market Fair aims to highlight the cultural significance of indigenous textiles and patterns to their respective cultures. This is to educate both the buying public and designers and avoid the improper cultural appropriation.

“We have seen some of our sacred patterns being misused by people who do not see the importance of these said patterns in our culture. I have seen gowns being made from textiles which were meant for the dead. Or even sofa covers made from our sacred patterns,” he shared.

By highlighting the cultural significance of these textiles, HABI hopes that present-day designers would be more sensitive to the use of these patterns and textiles and give it the proper reverence and respect it deserves.

Other activities during the market fair would be lecture series that would help local and global consumers understand the importance of supporting the revival of the local weaving industry.

“More than presenting our unique and varied indigenous fabrics, we also aim to educate the public on the importance of supporting our traditional textile industry. We hope to prove to our fellow Filipinos and the global community that indigenous textiles fit very well with the modern lifestyle,” Lim said.

Designer Lulu Tan-Gan will impart some notes on fashion for traditional weavers. Recently, Lulu introduced the continuation of her design evolution with an extended hand-woven line called “Indigenous Couture”, merging the old-world sophistication of Philippine artisan craft with contemporary design.

“The Likhang HABI market experience allows weavers and designers to innovate and keep up with modern trends. Through this, we hope that the Philippine indigenous fabric industry will get the revival it deserves,” Ongpin said.


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