Good Stuff from the Philippines

Our newly-released Good Stuff collection is one that is close to our hearts–and we’re excited to tell you why! Material is always an important consideration when designing our pieces, and we thought it would be a great opportunity to share some local culture with our international audience… in the form of textiles from our home in the Philippines. We partnered with Filipino artisans to bring you beautiful, handwoven beachwear. It is our hope that you come to love, appreciate and respect this woven material as much as we do.

In curating this collection, we worked closely with Maryjo Campila and her Abel Iloco (@abel_iloco) team, a weaving community from a northern Philippine province called Ilocos Sur. They specialize in creating a native fabric called inabel, which literally translates to woven. This textile has been around as early as the 16th century and continues to be used today. 

Maryjo Campila learned to weave at a young age by watching her mother and her neighbors, most of whom have looms in their own homes. In 2014, when Maryjo noticed that her mother’s weaving business had an oversupply of fabrics and a lack of demand, she had the idea to start an Instagram where they were able to reach more clients–us included!

Together, we created modern beachwear using traditional textiles. While Blackbough designed the products by selecting the specific colors and types of inabel patterns to use, the Abel Iloco team handled production by weaving each and every piece by hand. This art form requires loads of patience, as each strand of thread is intricately woven into the cloth. 

In addition to its vibrant and colorful designs, the inabel’s sturdiness and practical function makes it the perfect material for bags, hats and clothing. Though traditionally used for blankets, polos and conical skirts, this material is starting to be applied on more contemporary items. This is a great development in ensuring the survival of this artisanal craft, and we’re happy to contribute.

Recognizing our platform, we wanted to give the local weaving community a bigger audience to share their creative tradition. In our partnership, we were sure to compensate the Abel Iloco artisans well above average, and adjusted our order quantities so as not to overwork or rush them. Throughout our collaboration, Maryjo expressed deep gratitude for both past and present clients, showing just how much impact each client has had on her team. We at Blackbough hope that we were able to make a significant contribution to their livelihood as well.

For Abel Iloco, weaving is an integral part of their community as it is their main source of income. It’s a tradition that is passed down to children, from one generation to another, and they are happy to teach whoever shows interest in learning how to weave.

This project has been a truly heartwarming experience for us, and we wish to do more like this soon. If you are interested in working with Abel Iloco, reach out and we’ll connect you! 

1. Our Janica bucket hat and Teresita beach bags use a plain linitson weave in bulalayaw pattern, a series of stripes with two or three colors.

2. Our Althea bucket hat and MaryJo tote bag use a binakol weave in the famous kusikus pattern, which resembles the movement of waves with its dizzying concentric circles.

3. Our Ofelia halter top in Orchid (left) uses a combination of the binakol weave in kusikus pattern with a linitston weave in a kinukuros plaid pattern.

4. The Ofelia halter top in Starburst (right) utilizes a brocade weaving technique or pinilian, with a dalluyun pattern. The weave sits atop on the surface of the cloth, and is mostly inspired by leaves, stars and other forms of nature.

Sources:
(2015). INABEL Philippine Textile from the Ilocos Region. Air Post Asia.
(2013). HABI A Journey through Philippine Handwoven Textiles (R. Guatlo, Ed). Vibal Publishing House, Inc.

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