MISS Universe candidates will be wearing the colors of the Cordillera.

Natural dyed weaves will be donned by international beauties when they visit the city next week with poncho’s, skirts and shawls handcrafted by Narda’s.

Narda’s general manager for research and design Lucia Capuyan-Catanes said the beauties will be gifted ponchos to wear during the parade while shawls and skirts will be provided for the contingent during the gala dinner at the Baguio Country Club.

Catanes said all designs and weaves are made of natural dyes and locally sourced cotton which Narda’s has been using.

As a child, Lucia was forced to learn to weave, a task which she did not immediately fall in love with unlike her mother who was known to become the face of the industry all over the world.

Lucia delved into the culinary business and set up Ebai’s, a coffee shop beside Narda’s.

When world class weaver and entrepreneur, Narda Capuyan passed on, Lucia took the reins of the business and is infusing her own style to it.

Reluctant at first, Lucia found herself in the middle of the Habi Market Fair last year with her new designs, fervently praying for a sign that she should be there.

Habi, a Philippine Textile Council formed in 2009, aims at supporting a return to various indigenous fabrics such as pure cotton in weaving. It encourages the planting of cotton in order to provide weavers the material to create masterpieces in this and many other natural fibers to help bring Philippine textiles into global view.

In last year’s fair, sales tripled for Narda’s which astounded her, assuring a passion for the industry was in her.

“I want to bring back weaving as an art and skill, to make weavers be proud of their skill,” added Capuyan – Catanes.

Lucia is continually educating herself, attending workshops and seminars on natural dyes and weaving in and out of the country as well as working closely with the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) and the Fashion Institute of Design and Arts (FIDA).

“Weavers in other countries are so respected, we want that to happen here,” quipped Lucia.

Lucia is backed by a workforce which her mother created comprising of master dyers , weavers and designers who have been with the company for decades, now following the lead of Lucia, whom they have seen grow up.

Narda, who was a family planning nurse, started the industry in 1972 in La Trinidad weaving blankets from recycled acrylic yarns whose hand knitting hobby attracted the mothers, encouraged them to weave to keep them busy from making more babies.

She revived the Cordillera Ikat tradition designing and dying threads in vibrant colors to suit contemporary taste. Ikat is a old tradition of tying and dyeing segments of threads before actual weaving.

Lucia now has been given the go signal by the PTRI to use runo and lobster claw plants as fiber and sunflower as natural dye.

Plans to make Winaca as a hub for weaving, natural dye and crafts is also underway.