Shop These Stylish Local Goods At The Filipino Flavors And Fabrics Festival
Great Women (GW) and the Shangri-la Plaza Mall have an ongoing pop-up, Filipino Flavors & Fabrics, that will run at their Level 2, Grand Atrium until the 9th of June. With a vision that has embraced the countless women in the provinces all over the country who are producing our local handwoven fabrics, Great Women has turned these fabrics and textiles into viable options for local fashion. No longer set aside or categorized as quaint, indigenous local industries; the hope is to have these fabrics become part of the scenario when creating sustainable Philippine fashion and retail apparel.
Besides the various booths of apparel, accessories, bags, footwear, and the food merchants of specialty items, there were also booths that featured Heritage merchants - where the unique Yakan cloth, embroidery, barongs, and traditional Ladies’ formal wear, were all on display. And to bring home this message of relevance and compatibility, a Fashion Show that featured these distinctly Filipino fabrics, and where such name designers as Rhett Eala participated, was held on the afternoon of June 5.
Designer Rhett Eala, with Ayen Florendo of Shangri-la Plaza Mall’s Marketing Team
Curated & organized by Luis Espiritu, I loved how when I dropped by on the 5th, the entire Board of the ArteFino Fair were in attendance, ready to show their support for this endeavor, as the communities of women producing these fabrics are precisely part of the ArteFino advocacy, and why they hold their big event annually.
Admittedly, this Shang initiative is of a smaller scale; but it was interesting to note the high quality of the vendors’ merchandise. I especially loved the hand-made, embroidered slip-on’s - slippers with attitude! And the swirling colors and inventive designs of LARA were a wonderful sight to behold.
Rhett Eala himself was there that afternoon; in part to look over his creations that would be part of the Fashion Show. My precious takeaway from the show was how it really is a crying shame that we don’t integrate more of these Filipino fabrics in our everyday apparel. It may seem tribal, look indigenous, and if we insist of perceiving them as a fringe, niche market; then they’ll stay in that category. But as the show vibrantly displayed, it just takes imagination and innovation to find ways to incorporate these fabrics into something contemporary and truly wearable on an everyday basis.
Kudos to all those behind Great Women, and how they’re finding their own way of looking after these communities who are keeping age-old livelihood traditions alive. At a time when all the younger ones in the provinces seek to find their fortunes by migrating to the big cities; it’s important that we find ways to keep these keepers of the tradition of sewing, fabric-making, and embroidery sustainable and in survivor mode.