By Christine Lyn Viajante

MARAWI CITY, Jan. 23 (PIA-ICCC) – Handwoven fabrics made by the Maranao Collectibles Cooperative (MCC) of Barangay Amito Marangtao here will be showcased in a fashion show at San Francisco, California, USA on Aug. 7-11 together with four other ethnic tribal weavers from the Philippines.

MCC founder and proprietor, Salika M. Samad, said that Maranao women are making their tribal ancestry even more proud by participating in this event outside the country.

“It isn’t our first time to participate in an international expo, but, this is the first time that our langkit is going to be used in a fashion show as accents for American-designed clothing,” Salika stressed.

Aside from garments, the five-day event would display ready-made crafts for interested buyers.

The show would also feature a nine-foot tapestrythat Salika and her team are currently working on.

Different handwoven ‘langkit’ displayed at the Maranao Collectibles Cooperative shop. (PIA ICCC)

All items will showcase complex langkit textile patterns that are painstakingly hand-woven by Maranao women, some of whom are internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were given assistance by the government.

“Sana magugustuhan nila ang aming mga produkto para makatulong naman tayo sa paglago ng hanapbuhay ng ating mga kapatid na Maranao,” shared Jardin Samad, MCC production manager.

(I hope that our target market would like our products to help our fellow Maranaos in their livelihood.)

Moreover, organizer and artistic director Anthony Legarda from the “Hinabi” Expo Project of the Philippine-American Artists and Writers Association (PAWA) gave meticulous attention to these complex works for over five years.

Legarda advocates in what he calls “haute culture,” which is a takeoff from the French term “haute couture” that literally means “elegant/high sewing.”

Haute Culture means that you treat the masterworks of the indigenous people as high culture. And if the workmanship of the master is exemplary then it deserves to be part of Haute Culture,” said Legarda.

To add more color to the show, he ordered a set of special langkit marked “premium,” which a bit costly.

‘Landap’ modelled by the handweavers themselves. (PIA ICCC)

“Market outside the country will pay for the quality without hesitation. If you would do quality work, you would be paid quality price, you shouldn’t be bargained down,” he continued.

Legarda strongly emphasized that through this exposure, the fashion industry would learn to innovate designs and give appropriate market value to authentic Maranao fabric and honor Filipino tribal ancestry.

“Bangon Marawi, that’s what I would like to do – not to diminish their work, but actually uplift it. What a beautiful story to tell,” Legarda concluded. (CLViajante/PIA-ICCC)