The DAVAO region’s own banana fiber, along with 10 other Philippine fabrics, is expected to steal the spotlight at two international fashion events in 2023.
Musa Fabric, a fashion and social enterprise based in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, will once again expand its product line by incorporating other textiles into its own designs. These include tinalak, inaul, yakan, piña, hablon, abel Apayao, abel Iloco, pinukpuk, binakul and ikat.
Along with the inclusion of other fabrics in House of Musa’s upcoming designs, the country’s three islands – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – will be represented as they represent different regions.
Gleizl Joy Soo, owner and founder of Musa Fabric, said her dream was to highlight the country’s various textile products on an international platform where they can be promoted and advocated. Furthermore, she revealed that it is also her dream to transform prison facilities into a Musa weaving industry. Therefore, more products would mean more textiles to weave.
“Every time I visit the provincial prison, not everyone has something to weave. It’s a painful sight for me. They would watch those weaving, and they look like they want to be a part of the project. However, with limited orders, not everyone is given a chance,” said Soo.
The fashion designer-entrepreneur from Tagum City was enthusiastic when she shared the impact of Musa’s latest venture on the lives of these PDLs. According to her, with the integration of other Filipino fabrics into kits made from banana fiber, more will benefit from it. Likewise, more designs are expected to amaze the international fashion market.
Aside from the benefits this latest development can give its intended users, Soo lamented that it is also seen as highlighting the fabrics more than the designers and creatives behind each creation.
“I noticed that at fashion shows, the name of the fabric is not shown, but only the name of the designer. But, in my case, I will really promote the fabrics. If I were to advertise, I will flash the name of the fabric on the LED wall while the model shows the design,” she explained.
She added another observation she had on one of her trips to another country where the Filipino community is not familiar with the different Filipino textiles.
“The Filipino community abroad was not well oriented to our fabrics. In fact, there are even those who have asked me if Musa is the same as T’nalak. I think even we Filipinos here, not only abroad, should be familiar with the different types of fabrics in our country,” she said.
Soo also expressed her excitement to share the colorful and interesting story behind each of the 10 fabrics she will show at the fashion event in New York, USA, in February. This is the first launch of the upcoming line. Meanwhile, another will be in Paris, France in September. Both are sought-after and world-famous meeting places for the biggest names and personalities of the international fashion scene.
As a reminder, several fashion pieces made from banana fiber from the region were part of New York Fashion Week 2022. This time, the entrepreneur is already looking at the European market.
“This is a big project. There is still plenty of time to prepare. This is our opportunity to promote our fabrics in Europe,” she said. “This could also be our opportunity to establish links with other European countries and maintain the popularity of our fabrics as well as the project as a whole.”
Soo revealed that she has partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in this venture and is glad that the agency is as optimistic as she is about promoting 10 other textiles alongside Musa’s banana fiber.