DAVAO Region’s very own banana fiber, along with 10 other Philippine fabrics, are expected to steal the show in two international fashion events in 2023.
Musa Fabric, a fashion and social enterprise based in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, will expand its product line anew by incorporating other textiles into its own designs. These include tinalak, inaul, yakan, piña, hablon, abel Apayao, abel Iloco, pinukpuk, binakul, and ikat.
With the inclusion of the other fabrics in the House of Musa’s upcoming designs, the three islands of the country – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao – will be represented since these represent the different regions.
Gleizl Joy Soo, the Musa Fabric owner and founder, shared that it has been her dream to highlight the different textiles of the country on an international platform where they can be promoted and advocated for. Further, she revealed that it is also her dream to transform the jail institutions into a Musa weaving industry. Hence, more products would mean more textiles to weave.
“Every time I visit the provincial jail, not everyone is given something to weave. It’s a painful sight for me. They would observe those who are weaving, and they look like they want to be part of the project. However, with the limited orders, not all of them are given the chance,” Soo said.
The Tagum City-based fashion designer-entrepreneur was ecstatic when she shared the impact of Musa’s newest endeavor on the lives of these PDLs. According to her, with the integration of other Philippine fabrics into the banana fiber-made ensembles, more will benefit from it. Likewise, more designs are anticipated to awe the international fashion market.
Apart from the advantages that this latest development can give to its intended beneficiaries, Soo lamented that this is also seen to highlight the fabrics more than the designers and creatives behind each creation.
“I have observed that in fashion shows, the name of the fabric is not shown but only that of the designer. But, in my case, I will really promote the fabrics. If I were to promote, I will flash the name of the fabric on the LED wall while the model is showcasing the design,” she explained.
She added another observation she had in one of her trips to another country wherein the Filipino community is not familiar with the different Philippine textiles.
“The Filipino community abroad wasn’t oriented well about our own fabrics. In fact, there are even those who asked me if Musa is the same as T’nalak. I think, even we, Filipinos here, not only abroad, should be acquainted with the different kinds of fabric in our country,” she said.
Soo also expressed her excitement to share the colorful and interesting story behind each of the 10 fabrics she is set to showcase at a fashion event in New York City, USA in February. This is the first launch of the upcoming line. In the meantime, the second one will be in Paris, France in September. Both of these are sought-after and world-renowned gatherings of the biggest names and personalities in the international fashion scene.
It can be recalled that several fashion pieces made from the region’s banana fiber were part of the New York Fashion Week in 2022. This time, the entrepreneur is already looking at the European market.
“This is a big project. There’s still enough time to prepare. This is our chance to promote our fabrics in Europe,” she said. “This could be our chance, too, to establish ties with other European countries and sustain the popularity of our fabrics as well as the project as a whole.”
Soo revealed that it has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in this endeavor, and she is glad that the agency is as optimistic as her in terms of promoting the 10 other textiles along with Musa’s banana fiber.