Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair Presenting Iloilo’s Hand-loom Potential

Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin

ILOILO has the potential to emerge as a major regional destination for handloom and hand-woven textiles and apparels as well as other niche products.  Iloilo produces some of the country’s finest Hablon and Patadyong with well-established and professional clusters and a longstanding tradition of handloom weaving.

The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair organized by the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism, the Department of Tourism Regional Office and SM City Iloilo has brought unique opportunities to explore hand-loom weaving by sourcing in a new and innovative way.

The organizers see this program as potentially an incubator for re-introducing and re-educating the Ilonggos of our local fabrics, finding mainstream consumers that purchase our local fabrics and would like to see that interest extend after the event.

Slowly, Iloilo has emerged favorite domestic and regional destination for handloom and hand-woven textiles and apparels. Homes and innovative weaving centers shelter a work force that has been producing highly sought-after fabrics.

Though the handloom sector is relatively smaller in terms of organization and scale, many weaving groups are still challenged by the lack of product design and marketing skills and the lack of access to domestic, regional and international markets. Limited institutional support is also a challenge for some of the groups.

There is a need for our governments to allocate more funds to support existing handloom clusters to enhance their productivity, product quality and design. There is also a need for collaboration with relevant partners, as well as with leading institutions to help weaving provinces and their communities to venture into new markets.

While Iloilo has a strong base of embroidery and beading artisans and painters, boasting of an innovative range of craft and textile-based products with embroidered or beaded surface ornamentation or fabric painting present an opportunity for the development of niche high value products. Enabling value addition would help them to transform Iloilo’s hablon and patadyong into a high-value premium product.

With a renewed emphasis on ethnic chic, the passion and interest nowadays is actually visiting and buying directly from the weavers. Many designers and hand-loom fabric advocates are going to Miagao, Oton, Badiangan, Duenas and Igbaras to interact and see weavers at work and have the chance to browse the shelves piled high with colorful neatly folded fabrics that will be turned into fashionable dresses, shawls, table cloths, bed covers and curtains.

The Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is not just a place to market our hand-loomed products, but also a platform to celebrate weaving history in a unique way by showcasing the works of ordinary and extraordinary weavers of Iloilo, promoting the exploration of knowledge and ideas on weaving and providing an avenue for viewing and appreciation.

The 11th Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair will open on August 24 (Friday) and features MARC ARNEL GACHO for PRECIOSA at 5:30 p.m.

ANYAG at 6:30 p.m. will feature FRIETZ VON PAMPLONA.

August 25 (Saturday) with HABOL MIAGAOWANON featuring the candidates of Little Miss Hablon and the ladies of Lin-ay sang Hablon of the municipality of Miagao at 5:00 p.m. and KEVIN HIBALLES for HABLON MODA at 6:30 p.m.

August 26 (Sunday) will feature the top student designers from the BS Fashion Design and Merchandising of Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U) for HABOL ANINIPAY with Fritz Caancan, JohnreyCayanan, RheuvienPalmes, MigzSaracho, Matt Yeu, Annie Canonaso, Lorlor Aguilar, Paul Encio and Jay Elabra at 5:00 p.m. and closing the event is DARYL AMAR for PRIMA at 6:30 p.m.

The annual Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair is organized by the Iloilo Provincial Tourism Office, Department of Tourism and SM City Iloilo and also brought to you by the municipalities of Miagao, Oton, Badiangan, Igbaras and Duenas with the Fashion and Design Merchandising Department of ISAT-University, the Local Economic Development and Investment Promotions Office, John Montinola, Iloilo Models Guild (IMG), RCLS, and The Daily Guardian.

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