NEW YORK - It was simply called “Piña Couture New York.” The Philippines’ signature hand-woven pineapple fabric was the main feature at a fashion show held at the New York Philippine Consulate last Friday.
Designer Anthony Legarda, an alumnus of the New York Fashion Institute of Technology had an idea about merging cultures in high fashion.
“In order to have the mainstream understand what piña is about and other indigenous Philippines textiles, we have to redesign it so it would be more present, more now. That’s the reason why I’m doing this to find a bigger client definitely for our weavers in the Philippines,” Legarda said.
As a textile technologist, Legarda has ventured into using other Philippine fibers such as the ubiquitous water hyacinth or water lily and a Pinoy-favorite vegetable, saluyot, not the leaf, but the fibers from its stem.
“This is pure pineapple. But we have new fibers now, the saluyot, it’s a jute fabric, you can embroider these new fibers from the Philippines, I try to use all Philippines fibers as well, we’re now developing water hyacinth and saluyot,” he said.
Filipino-American model Barbara Frez said, “Absolutely I would wear one, I would wear each and every one of these outfits, they’re very comfortable, not itchy, nothing. I would definitely wear it.”
Legarda says his goal is to spread the message that Philippine Piña and other indigenous textiles can compete in the world of high fashion couture.
“The presentation is an eye-opener to most attendees and I’m very proud as a Filipino that we have entered that global stage where everyone is practically opening the doors for the Filipino fabric, to be internationally accepted,” Pinoy fashionista Ron Regenit said.
These Filipino fabrics are hand-woven, embellished, and dyed with natural pigments by indigenous master weavers from the Philippines.
Legarda’s runway works of art not only push for the Philippine organic fibers to become the next “world-renowned fabric but it also shows that high fashion clothing can be earth-friendly at the same time.