Wearing nation’s pride is currently on-trend. And womenswear brand Ziya is wearing its Maranao pride with its latest collection, dubbed Ziya Artisan, emblazoned with Maranao motifs.
Known for its tunics, wraparound pants, loose tops, and easy-fitting jackets, the label’s latest collection features inaul, a traditional woven fabric known for colors and patterns that symbolize virtues.
Other garments are infused with 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 collaborated with weaving groups Sinagtala and Maranao Collectibles to help in the rehabilitation of Lanao del Sur’s war-ravaged capital.
Sinagtala was formed by journalist Jamela Alindogan during the Marawi siege. In an evacuation center, she met a weaver who needed to continue earning. Initially wanted to help, 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 Sinagtala weavers produced the inaul for Ziya Artisan which has been made into chic, loose jackets.
Meanwhile, entrepreneurs Salika and Jardin Samad established Maranao Collectibles to preserve Maranao culture, particularly its weaving tradition. It specializes in langkit used on medals and graduation sashes. During the five-month armed conflict, 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,” said Pacasum.
The inaul blazers are affordably priced at P5,900, while the cotton blouses accented with langkit starts at P1,500, and the denim and linen pants cost P3,000.
“Ziya Artisan is a premium collection because of the fabrics and the hand-woven elements,” explained Pacasum.
The brand also features 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 drums,” shared Pacasum.
A graduate from the University of the Philippines, Pacasum ventured into Ziya out of her love for fashion. She opened her first store at a mall in Taguig in 2004. Ziya then moved to Mall of Asia and has since opened seven branches and an online store www.shopziya.com.
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, a consultant for Robredo, 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.”
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