December 7, 2023

The Benguet fashion fusion showcase set at the Benguet Sports Compex on Nov. 18, which aims to highlight the loom weaving industry in the province, will be one of the newest activities for the month-long Adivay Festival, according to the organizers.

Board Member Marie Rose Kepes, chair of the committee on trade and industry, said the activity will feature local designers and their designs championing the Benguet looms.

During the pandemic, the provincial government has distributed loom weaving devices to the different municipalities to support local weavers.

The traditional loom weaving industry in the province is threatened due to the rising cost of production that even weavers are hard up in producing a full dress out of pure woven looms.

With this, the provincial government has encouraged local designers to incorporate traditional looms to their modern designs to keep the industry afloat.

“We are inculcating and teaching the designers to incorporate the traditional native wear with the fashion now,” Kepes said.

Through the fashion show, the designs of creative designers and loom weavers will be seen and appreciated as wearable everyday pieces.The designs come not only in formal wear also in sportswear.

Kepes said in making the traditional loom designs wearable, it encourages more use from people.

“So, this Adivay you will surely see the different Benguet colors such as those Ibaloy and Kankana-ey inspired native attires,” she said.

In previous years, the province conducted a series of training on traditional loom weaving through the National Commission on Culture and the Arts.

Benguet weavers, especially the younger ones, participated in the activity, where master weavers passed down their knowledge, in order to preserve loom weaving in the province.

Heather Gate-Dizon of the Provincial Tourism Office said the training is also a means to combat the machine-fabricated cloth, especially those coming from China, which mimicked the ethnic designs of the indigenous peoples. 

She said the locals should not patronize these clothes, instead the local loom weavers and designers that use the traditional cloth of the province.

In this way, the traditional loom weaving industry will be kept alive, along with the province’s cultural identity through the woven cloth. – Ofelia C. Empian