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This year’s HABI fair includes ASEAN weavers and indigenous fabrics

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SHAWL and bag by Dita Sandico

SOME of the finest examples of Philippine-made textile products take center stage at this year’s HABI trade fair. The three-day trade event pays tribute to the country’s traditional weavers who hail from communities supported by HABI. Their unique skills were given tremendous exposure during the previous fairs and this expertise has since become a viable source of income for them. “Woven Voyages: 8th Likhang Habi Textile Fair 2018” will take place at the Activity Area of the Glorietta Mall in Ayala Center, Makati City on Oct. 12 to 14. It is open to the public.

Organized by the nonprofit organization HABI The Philippine Textile Council, the fair is designed to showcase the artistry of the country’s indigenous weavers. More than 80 exhibitors will take part this year, making it HABI’s biggest trade fair to date. And for the first time, the show will include textile exhibitors from the ASEAN region, namely, the weaving communities of Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

HABI is placing special emphasis on products made of natural fabrics and will include merchandise of established brands that use the fabrics made by the weavers.

There will be fashionable bags adorned with the cloth made by the Yakans of Basilan; hand-woven blankets, covers, and napkins from the Ilocos region; and toys and novelty items made by local craftsmen.

Among the exhibitors are established brands and manufacturers such as Rurungan sa Tukod Foundation, Interweave, Yakang Yaka, Manila Collectible, Casa Mercedes, Filip+Inna, Gifts & Graces Foundation, Good Luck, Humans, La Herminia Piña, Liwayway Handicraft, Creative Definitions, Kalinga Weaving, Ayala Foundation, Inc., and items by noted Filipina designer Ditta Sandico.

The fair is held each year to provide a major venue for the local weavers to present their wares. It offers them the opportunity to tap Metro Manila’s consumer market by giving them free space in the show. It also allows them to deal directly with wholesale buyers, foreign buyers, and stores. “This way, the middlemen, who had been buying the products from them at lower rates and selling them at much higher prices, are eliminated,” said Maribel Ongpin, HABI’s founder.




“We also want to attract more fashion designers,” says Adelaida Lim, the Baguio-based businesswoman and a member of HABI. “We want them to discover how these fabrics can be used for contemporary fashion, and not just for traditional costumes.”

The participation of the weavers from the ASEAN communities may also open new doors for their local counterparts, said Ms. Ongpin. “The weavers from each country can learn from each other and they may have the opportunity to tap each other’s markets,” she said.

The fair includes a fashion show highlighting the woven fabrics in designs by Patis Tesoro, Len Cabili of Filip+Inna, LARA Samar, Jor-el Espina, Boy Guino-o of Alfonso Davao, Twinkle Ferraren, Malaysian designer Edric Ong, and Laura Fontan of Vietnam fashion house Chula. There will also be an exhibit featuring the textile art of Filipina-French artist Olivia d’Aboville, and the works of the winners of the Lourdes Montinola Weaving Competition. There will also be workshops and lectures on sustainability, and a tribal food lounge.