Filipino fashion designers are totally inventive. Imagine creating new forms and shapes in mind-boggling renditions of mythical creatures, creating pieces using plastic bottles, recycled glass, and bottle caps, using indigenous materials such as banana fibre and pineapple silk, experimenting with nuts and bolts and metal sheets and a host of many others.
Now Filipino fashion has taken on an even fiercer look. By incorporating what’s endemic to the country, designs have never been so chic, fabulous and with much Filipino flair. Here are some designs that mix culture, traditions identity and a fashionable piece.
Bahag-turned street wear
Climb up to the Cordilleras or the Sierra Mountain regions and you’ll see men wearing bahag, or a loincloth wrapped around their trousers area and worn by some of the indigenous tribes of the Philippines today. During some rituals, usually dancing, men donning bahag would parade in this attire which are used to conceal their private parts.
Interestingly some designers have taken on the extreme by combining tradition with an urban lifestyle. Pretend wearing such garment down the street in a casual meeting, in a rendezvous with a friend or even partying out all night. Yes your average pants, jacket, shirt or shorts are new given a new makeover by incorporating the technical fabrics of a bahag into your get-up. Casual and modern and yet with a traditional flair, this streetwear can become the talk of the town.
Trench coat using Igorot garment
Thinking of what to wear during the rainy season? Try this trench coat made out of Igorot garments – tough, color-ladened which has a rustic flair. Instead of the usual sophisticated and debonair look (made out of a classic khaki) worn by historical greats, these trench coats are made out of a loin cloth similar to the bahag worn by men. Add in the yellows and the red by the native costume, then you’d have a one sleek trench coat that you can wear during the rainy season.
Using barong embroidery and crochet
Gone is the idea that barong embroideries are used only during formal affairs such as weddings, anniversaries, oath-takings and presidential meetings. Nowadays embroidered and crocheted fabrics can be used in modern and ready-to-wear pieces such as white shirts, jeans and your normal and average blouse and trousers. With these barong embroideries, the classic pieces make it more appealing, attractive, with a touch of cultural ethnicity, since it is truly hand-woven straight from the heart. Indeed what makes Pinoy a Pinoy, these are one ensemble you can’t afford to miss.
The Basi Revolt of 1807
Inspired by the painting of the Basi Revolt of 1807 of which several towns of Ilocos Norte and others up North fought for both their freedom and basi or sugarcane wine, some collection pieces incorporate the colors of blue and red which signify freedom into their designs. The clothes are minimalist in nature given that the lack of intricacies and complexities make a simple and yet extraordinary creations with a deep sense of meaning for the Philippine history.
Ramie, abaca and tulle
Filipino fashion wouldn’t be where it is now without using some of the best fabrics found in the Philippines. Ramie, a vegetable noted for its toughness and strength which is also native to some parts in Asia, the tulle or a soft, fine silk, cotton, or nylon material like a net that is used for making dresses and veils, and of course the abaca plant, which is native to the Philippines, are some of the materials used to create ensemble pieces. Your normal outfit and your formal wear would never be the same with these fabrics tucked lightly, loosely or heavily into your clothing.
For those who’d like to be fashionable, chic and glamorous and for men, suave and elegant in nature, wearing street clothes, jeans, shirts or shorts made out of the Filipino culture and couture are the designs to beat. These and so much more are what make traditions quite interesting, attractive and appealing – with an identity that’s uniquely our own.