Piña and abaca take fashion's center stage
THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee () - December 11, 2009 - 12:00am

A much deserved spotlight was focused on Philippine fibers when the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) staged a fashion show titled Indigenous featuring creations by some of the country’s top designers.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said: “This fashion show is part of the Department of Agriculture’s campaign to heighten awareness on the importance of our indigenous fabrics. We also want everyone to see that Philippine fabric is not only designed for traditional or ‘cultural’ ensemble but can also be made into fashionable outfits that are appealing even to the younger generation.”

Yap also paid tribute to the 100,000 Filipino farmers and top weavers of piña and abaca spread across 51 provinces nationwide, some of whom attended the event. An area was even set up for the weavers to display their skills, which allowed guests to appreciate how natural fabrics are created.

He added: “This event is a fitting tribute to their painstaking efforts for producing the fibers required by the weaving community, which then transforms the fibers into fabrics that are unique, exquisite and a source of pride of every Filipino.”

Yap’s message was warmly welcomed by top weavers Merlyn Madridano from ABAI of Misamis Oriental, Salvacion Alemania from AWC of Albay, Ana Clavel Cordova from OWP of Iloilo, India Legaspi from HAC of Aklan and Arlyn Tumbokon of La Hermania Piña Weaving Industry from Muntinlupa. They were joined by abaca producers and farmers Willie Jonsay, Antonio del Pilar, Jesus Portillo and Mario Espeso from LPMPC of Camarines Norte.

Yap also mentioned the other uses of Philippine fiber, particularly abaca, which the Philippines supplies 86 percent of the world’s demand. Aside from fashion, abaca is also used to make peso and yen bills, tea bags, cardboards and sausage casings. “The production and promotion of these eco-friendly materials is the Philippines’ contribution to the care and preservation of the environment.”

The affair was held during the opening of Philippine Fashion Week Spring Summer 2010 at the SMX Convention Center in Manila and was graced by top level government executives, members of the diplomatic community, representatives of fiber organizations and fashion luminaries who were all treated to exquisite creations of some of the country’s most respected and most promising designers who showcased the use of natural fibers in their designs.    

Runway Productions president Joey Espino said: “Top designers all over the world are well aware of how beautiful and versatile Philippine fabrics are. I hope that the consistent participation of FIDA in Philippine Fashion Week will further focus the spotlight on our indigenous fabrics so that the international fashion community will have the opportunity to appreciate Philippine fabric and Filipino creativity.”  

Also gracing the affair were Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., Trade Secretary Peter Favila and South Korean Ambassador Choi Joong-Kyung. A highlight of the affair was when all five gentlemen took to the ramp garbed in barongs created by Edwin Tan.

A tale of three brands

Known for its local retail fashion brands — Bench, HerBench, Human and Kashieca — Suyen Corp. also brought in foreign names like The Face Shop from Korea, Celio from France, Charles & Keith and Pedro from Singapore, La Senza and Aldo from Canada and Fox from Israel.

In celebration of its new partnership with the Jaspal Group of Companies, one of the top fashion companies of Thailand, the company organized a Thai-inspired cocktail party at Whitespace to introduce three new brands — CC Double O, CPS Chaps and Lyn Shoes and Accessories.

Suitable for young men and women with an active and exciting lifestyle, CC Double O is a classic, casual and stylish American-inspired apparel brand characterized by retro-looking sportswear and tops that offer a slim fit. It also offers a full line of clothes, bags and accessories. CPS Chaps is geared towards a fashion-forward generation that puts a premium on individuality; it projects cutting-edge design and attention to detail with its various range of clothing items and collections. LYN Shoes and Accessories range has casual flats to party heels. The brand also carries bags, small leather goods and jewelry. The three brands were introduced to guests by Suyen Corp. VP for business development Bryan Lim.

Thai Ambassador Kulkumut Singhara Na Ayudhaya graced the event and commented on the role of fashion in strengthening the bond between Thailand and the Philippines. Also present was Thai Airways GM Nivat Chantarachoti who raffled off a roundtrip ticket to Bangkok. The Jaspal Group was represented by deputy managing director Charan Singhsachathet, CPS Chaps sales and marketing manager Chanchira Hongladarom, CC Double O senior brand manager Kovitri Sereemontrikul and LYN sales and marketing manager Nisarat Jaratsunthornpak.

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