A social enterprise driven by the belief the Filipino craftsmanship is world class, AKABA Ltd. Design Co. is a collective of designers, professionals, and volunteers from all over the world. Originating in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, AKABA has been tapping disadvantaged weaving communities all over the country since 2014.
“Each creation highlights the beauty of cultural heritage while addressing the needs of today’s fashion-forward urbanite,” says Yusof Marohombsar.
Provinces and tribes have developed traditional weaves throughout centuries and the secret to each weave passed down from generation to generation. “We really make sure to understand the meaning, the culture, and the stories behind the textiles. Many have religious, cultural, and historic backgrounds and what we do is work around the designs that they make, rather than dictating which designs they should weave for us. In this way, the weavers are very much able to join in the creative process, and contribute to the designs of our bags.”
Whether you are interested in the colorful Hablon weave from Iloilo that combines jusi or banana with piña or pineapple fibers, or the lesser known but equally enchanting Pis Syabit weave from Sulu with one-of-a-kind ornate designs that take months to finish, there is surely a stylish bag to complement any mood and any outfit while lending a helping hand to a local community. Preserving traditions and respecting local artistry never looked so stylish.
This article was first published in Explore Philippines Magazine Issue 15