Lush landscapes of an ecological dream, of flowers upon flowers, of foliage basking in sunlight – a Romantic image of the unmatched diversity of natural forms in our country’s natural habitats. Our KALIKASAN Collection weaves from the abundance of Philippine biodiversity in an ode to Mother Nature.
Our country’s endlessly unique flora and fauna is a pillar of Filipino identity. It’s one that we as a people grow to embrace after years of seeing it in a textbook. But our Textile and Apparel Designer Jessica Ouano’s experience with it is a little more authentic, having come face-to-face with Nature’s glorious forms in a visit to an Abaca weaving community at Negros Oriental. She came to discover this endemic plant known to be one of the strongest fibres in the world. What she saw overcame her with beauty and the moral imperative to protect it. Thus came her inspiration for the collection.
She weaves this waking dream of abundance and connection, of weaver communities and their Nature-inspired textiles sending ripples through Philippine fashion, into every inch and layer of the collection – from its materials to its silhouettes and patterns.
For one, the Azucena Abaca Blouse is our proudest piece of kalikasan (“nature” in Filipino), being our first use of a 100% natural textile. It’s a dainty and powerful top in Abaca Silk, a blend of abaca fibers and silk strands that marks the start of our partnership with the weavers at Malabor, Antique and another milestone in our ever-growing ecosystem of artisan communities. Accented with coconut shell buttons, it’s also our most biodegradable piece yet. We can take pride in knowing that this piece of Nature will one day long from now rejoin the whole.
Top: Endiba Zero Waste Dress. Bottom: Adelfa Blouse.
Green gets even greener in our kalikasan, and our tribute to it trails closely behind. We weave on with our Zero Waste fabrics this time with the use of discarded hotel towels and linens transformed into the Zamia Cover Wear and Duranta Mini Skirt. Cue in the Endiba Dress, a strapped tube minidress lovingly named after the luxuriant fern. The piece catches the eye and holds it in its grasp with an intricate floral pattern – the first application of the Zerowaste Buwak (“flower” in Bisaya). Its abstract rendition of flowers blooming as a field across the face of the dress is the result of an Advanced Loom Weaving Workshop with the mother-weavers at Argao, Cebu that equipped them with the skill and know-how to work the complex four-pedal loom this weave is heartwoven on. Nature blossoms as diversely throughout the rest of the collection as it does in the countryside – our manner of subtle commentary and amplifying the discourse surrounding the protection of our country’s endemic species. The plump grace of the abaca “flower’ gave way to softer silhouettes and puff sleeves as in the Landrina Blousa. The pitcher plant is reimagined as ruching on the Ruellia Dress, a sultry drawstring dress in the staple Kantarines Striped weave, and Arnica Skirt. Other garments like the Zinnia Dress mimic the strokes of the Sea Poison Tree with fringe applications of the Binakol weave.
The collection is a co-creative expedition from the greenest depths of our kalikasan into the hands of our weavers and hearts of Proud Weave Wearers. For this, we weave a lyrical narrative of innovation, circularity, and interconnectedness sung to the origin of the fibers that connect and clothe us. This year, we weave to and from Mother Nature – our kalikasan.