Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Piña Barong - You can Wear your Pineapple Too

I love pineapples. While visiting some museums in the Philippines, I came across a very sheer blouse that is woven from pineapple fibers. From the description: "The piña fabric for this Barong Tagalog (upper garment) is made in Kalibo, Aklan (one of the centers for piña production in the Visayas). Piña fabrics are woven from fibers processed from the pineapple of the 'Red Spanish' variety. The fabric is then embroidered in Luzon, either in Taal, Bantangas, or Lumban, Languna, hence the term 'Barong Tagalog' to refer to the type of embellishment that completes the fabric for wear (traditionally for men."
The Barong is considered the national dress of the Philippines. It is worn untucked and with an undershirt. Fewer places are weaving the variety made from pineapple fibers, which has made the lustrous cloth very expensive and highly prized. The embroidery style is known as calado. 

After watching a video on the delicate production process, I have even more appreciation for the final product.  It takes over an entire day to make just 1/4 of a yard. While a pure piña barong fabric costs well over $35 per yard, one that is blended with silk or other fibers will bring down the cost. Repackaging the piña cloth as high-end eco fashion has brought about a resurgence. The cloth is also being used for other purposes, such as tablecloths, fans, paper, handkerchiefs, and novelty items.

No comments: