Weaving our roots into today’s lifestyle
Happening on October 20 to 22, 2017, at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City, the 7th Likhang HABI Market Fair this year puts the spotlight on traditional Filipino weavers to celebrate these unsung heroes who keep the indigenous textile industry alive. The Likhang HABI Market Fair, the pioneer in market fairs with its advocacy for communities in the Filipino artisan trade, is an annual event organized by HABI: The Philippine Textile Council to promote the preservation and creative enhancement of the indigenous textile industry through entrepreneurship and synergy.
“This year, 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 for the craft, they empower the local Filipino tradition, culture, and customs to thrive in the modern market,” said Maribel Ongpin, HABI chairperson.
Among the master weavers that will participate in this year’s fair is Raquel Eliserio of Kalibo, Aklan. Raquel, who works with pineapple, silk, and natural dyes, primarily produces high-quality piña-seda textiles. Raquel’s Piña Cloth in Balete, Aklan, is a textile company aimed at reviving the culture of handweaving by engaging students and self-earning individuals from the different communities in the province.
In 2016, the top seller in the fair was Kalinga Weaving, an enterprise founded by Irene Bawer-Bimuyag. Since joining the market fair in 2013, Kalinga Weaving has created pieces that have evolved from those having simple designs to those with a more sophisticated elegance.
This year, with hopes of replicating the success of Kalinga Weaving, HABI has teamed up with Marlon Martin and his Ifugao heritage school to produce high-quality, pure cotton textiles with patterns depicting Ifugao ancient symbols. Their works will be featured at the fair together with products from many more community groups.
Hablon and patadyong in modern Philippine lifestyle
The 7th Likhang HABI Market Fair is also looking to increase and nurture awareness of the traditional hablon and patadyong through a fashion show on opening night.
Hablon, which means weaving or woven in Ilonggo, refers to textiles in piña and other gossamer fibers. Patadyong, on the other hand, is the typical tubular skirt of checkered patterns commonly worn all over Southeast Asia.
Through the market fair, HABI aims to show the modern Filipino consumers how to incorporate the traditional hablon and patadyong in their present-day lifestyles.
A learning opportunity for weavers, consumers, and traders
The 7th Likhang HABI Market Fair will also conduct a series of lectures that will 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,” said Adelaida Lim, HABI president. “We hope to prove to our fellow Filipinos and the global community that indigenous textiles fit very well with the modern lifestyle,” Lim added.
To this end, designer and “Queen of Knitwear” Lulu Tan-Gan will share some notes on fashion for traditional weavers. Recently, Lulu also showcased her design evolution through her new handwoven line. Called “Indigenous Couture,” the clothing line merges the old-world sophistication of Philippine artisan craft with contemporary design.
The fair will also feature a talk on cultural appropriation by Marlon Martin of Save the Ifugao Rice Terraces Movement.
Furthermore, in keeping with HABI’s long-term commitment and advocacy of reviving the use of pure cotton, there will also be a lecture on cultivating and growing cotton, a fiber that is endemic in the Philippines and is very much a part of native Filipino rituals and lore and of indigenous culture.
Since 2009, HABI has been helping weavers and vendors further enhance their skills in creative design and update their knowledge on current marketing strategies by providing an avenue through which they can exchange ideas with consumers, designers, and traders.
“The Likhang HABI Market Fair experience allows weavers and designers to innovate and to level up to modern trends. Through this, we hope that the Philippine indigenous fabrics industry will get the revival it deserves,” Ongpin explained.