Stitched in time: Likhang Habi Market Fair returns to weave through cultures

Designer Len Cabili, a strong advocate for traditional textiles and the woman behind Filip+Inna, praised HABI’s efforts in ‘pushing weaving into the forefront of Philippine culture’

The 13th edition of the annual Likhang HABI Market Fair, organized by HABI: The Philippine Textile Council, is set to take place from 13 to 15 October at the Glorietta and Palm Drive Activity Center. This celebration, themed “Web of Woven Wonders,” promotes the Philippines’ rich textile legacy while embracing technology.

A MASTER weaver from the Tagolwanen Women Weavers Association Inc.


Tradition and innovation

“Web of Woven Wonders” pays homage to the World Wide Web, symbolizing the interconnectedness of people, places and textiles. The community is brought together via traditional fabrics and inventive weaves, Adelaida Lim, the former president of HABI, stressed, demonstrating their diversity and expert craftsmanship.

“The way textiles tie and bind us to each other,” Lim said. “The country’s traditional textiles and the innovative weaves various groups of Filipinos have come up with are truly wonderful,” she added.

“The diversity and beauty of finished products, and the consummate skill it took to make them are something we can all be proud of!”

Designer Len Cabili, a strong advocate for traditional textiles and the woman behind Filip+Inna, praised HABI’s efforts in “pushing weaving into the forefront of Philippine culture.”

Cabili highlighted how these textiles are a profound expression of the country’s culture and a testament to the “true value of handcrafted textiles and the unique processes” of its artisans.

Following the challenges posed by the pandemic, the fair will host an impressive 72 vendors, including Creative Definitions, Ditta Sandico, Gifts and Graces and Ruyag PH, who represent numerous regional and cultural groups around the Philippines.

The vendors will display a wide array of hand-woven products, including textiles, ready-to-wear clothes, bags, shoes, home accessories and furniture made from materials like piña, abaca and cotton.

This year’s fair will occupy a bigger area, extending from the Glorietta Activity Center to the area in front of Palm Drive, to accommodate the expanding number of attendees. The current president of HABI, Mia Villanueva, emphasized the growth in participants and the association with local government organizations to promote their goods.


Embracing global threads

As the nation’s de facto textile council, HABI encourages cooperation not only within the Philippines but also the ASEAN neighborhood.

Since ASEAN nations are seen as vital sources of inspiration and ideas rather than rivals, the exhibition encourages exhibitors from their nations. Local designers have more options to this collaborative approach, which also allows them to absorb international best practices and experiences.

Likhang HABI Market Fair is the climax of the year-round work that HABI has been doing since its founding in 2009. The show, which is sponsored by Ayala Land and the Ayala Foundation, gathers the finest handcrafted textiles, generating respectable employment possibilities and boosting sales for weavers across the Philippines.

The fair is more than just a place to sell things; it’s also an opportunity to learn. HABI’s efforts include making documentaries called “The Threaded Traditions Series” about textiles from Panay Island, the Cordillera’s ikat and the Bagobo Tagabawa’s inabal.

They’ve also published a book called Piña Futures: Weaving Memories and Innovations by Dr. Randy M. Madrid, edited by Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, which celebrates and explains the Philippines’ rich hand-weaving tradition.

Paul Jatayna, an artist, will present a textile display this year that will focus on fresh and imaginative uses of textiles in an effort to draw in a younger audience.


Weaving a sustainable future

For the purpose of recognizing and developing the craft of hand-weaving, the fair also holds two weaving competitions: the second Eloisa Hizon Gomez Abaca Weaving Competition and the sixth annual Lourdes Montinola Pia Weaving Competition.

Such events not only honor the best weavings but also promote creativity and the return of lost styles and techniques.

HABI sets its sights on sustaining and advancing heritage fabrics made of locally grown natural fibers. As the 13th Likhang HABI Market Fair draws near, it stands as a celebration of history and creativity and ensures that hand-weaving and its place in the Philippines’ cultural fabric have a bright future.


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