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Wearing Maranao pride

By Ayunan Gunting

With the current love for nationalism in fashion, Ziya, a womenswear brand, is wearing its Maranao pride.

The latest collection, dubbed Ziya Artisan, is emblazoned with Maranao motifs. Ziya specializes in tunics, wraparound pants, loose tops and easy-fitting jackets.

To help rebuild Marawi, the brand collaborated with weaving groups Sinagtala and Maranao Collectibles.

The collection features inaul, a traditional woven fabric known for colors and patterns that symbolize virtues. Other garments are infused with the langkit, the Maranao decorative strip with okir, traditional curlicues and geometric patterns. It serves as a trim for jackets or straps for denim tops.

Born to parents from Marawi, Ziya founder Nor Pacasum wanted to help in the rehabilitation of Lanao del Sur’s war-ravaged capital by promoting the products made by the weavers.

Sinagtala was formed by journalist Jamela Alindogan during the Marawi Siege. In an evacuation center, she met a weaver who needed to continue earning.

Alindogan devised a grander plan — to teach women how to weave as a means of livelihood. Women who joined the training program not only learned a new skill. Weaving kept their minds off from the bombings.

The Sinangtala weavers produced the inaul for Ziya Artisan which has been made into chic, loose jackets.

Entrepreneurs Salika and Jardin Samad established Maranao Collectibles to preserve Maranao culture, particularly its weaving tradition. It specializes in the langkit which is used for medals and graduation sashes. During the Marawi war, the weavers devised their own looms in evacuation centers.

“We want the weaving tradition to grow by collaborating with these weavers. We’ve asked them to update the colors and patterns. Ziya Artisan shows the contemporary uses of these woven products,” Nor said.

The inaul blazers are affordably priced at P5,900. The cotton blouses, accented with langkit, starts at P1,500 while the denim and linen pants fetch P3,000.

“Ziya Artisan is a premium collection because of the fabrics and the hand-woven elements,” explained Nor.

A business graduate from the University of the Philippines, Nor ventured into Ziya out of her love for fashion. She opened her first store at a mall in Taguig in 2004. To distinguish her brand, she specialized in tunics, wraparound dresses and draped pants in interesting prints.

Ziya moved to the Mall of Asia and has since opened seven branches and an online store www.shopziya.com. It expanded to resort wear which consists of cover-ups, sarongs and wraparound pants.

“Our look is bohemian and fuss-free. The clothes are easy to slip on. Young career women buy our clothes to make them feel confident. Our market doesn’t follow trends. They march to their own drum,” Nor said.

The launch of Ziya Artisan was graced by Vice President Leni Robredo who brought her anti-poverty program to Marawi. In her speech, Nor’s sister, Samira Gutoc explained the importance of the weaving heritage.

“Weaving is the story of women who are survivors. Every thread that is woven by each woman is life that binds a community which has survived for centuries,” Gutoc said.



eZine Insider: Wearing Maranao pride
Wearing Maranao pride
eZine Insider
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