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Musa, DTI bring more Philippine fabrics to New York

Monica Galozo | TFC News New York

Posted at Feb 23 2023 09:24 AM

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Over the last three years, Filipino fashion designer Joy Soo has been making waves in the global fashion scene with her Musa fabrics.

Her fashion shows at the New York Fashion Week have been a hit as she showcases fabrics woven by inmates and indigenous people in the Philippines' Davao region. For the 2023 New York Fashion Week, Soo went the extra mile as she collaborated with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in featuring 11 Filipino fabrics.

"Everybody was so excited to participate in this showcasing of the different fabrics together with the Musa. This is also a platform where we can promote the other fabrics of the Philippines, which are very rich from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao," DTI undersecretary Blesila Lantayona noted.

 Among the featured fabrics are pinya, aruga, banaka, and hablon.

Soo shared how this collaboration between Musa and DTI was a learning experience for her. She said she realized how rich and intricately woven are the fabrics made by the cultural communities in the Philippines, something Filipinos can be proud of.

"The other fabrics, I have not seen before. A lot of Filipinos do not know that these fabrics exist. I said to myself that I also have to promote the other fabrics because it is not only Musa, we have a lot of Philippine fabrics," Soo said.

The fabrics were showcased in the runway as Filipiniana with a modern twist, through the creations of nine Filipino designers, from the US, Japan, and from the Davao region.

For House of MUSA USA CEO and director Cindy Mac, this collaboration is so far the biggest Musa fashion show in New York.

"We have so many supporters who wanted to be in the New York Fashion week without not having to be on the runway. This is our third season and I think it's very, very huge," Mac said.

Soo said since their debut in 2020, the weavers creating the Musa fabric has grown to 300 from just 20. The Davao del Norte provincial government also provided them with more looms to cater to the growing demand while DTI has continued to provide training for the beneficiaries.

Soo said the "ultimate dream for Musa is for jail institutions to become a weaving industry. Gusto ko silang lahat makapag-weave."

Soo also shared that they were able to construct a livelihood center for Ata Manobo tribe in Talaingod, Davao del Norte using the proceeds from the 2022 New York Fashion Week.

Following the success of their recent show at the New York Fashion Week, Soo and Musa are set to conquer the world's fashion capital, Paris, in September this year.

"This is our pilot collaboration and there will be more fabric that will be featured in the Paris fashion show," Lantayona said.

Soo hopes that with Musa's collaboration with DTI, more people will appreciate Philippine textiles.