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Taste.Company | Style Isle: Keeping Filipino Traditions Alive

Style Isle: Keeping Filipino Traditions Alive

March 26, 2017 7:00 pm by Bettina Bacani

In our previous articles, we have featured different brands that make use of indigenous materials in their products – brands like Shoes by Kai, Anthill Fabric Gallery, Vela Manila, and Habi Batangan. They help keep our Filipino traditions by using weaves to create accessories and ready-to-wear pieces that are functional for daily use. Personally, I think it is one thing to support local brands you find in malls, but to purchase from smaller brands, ones that you often only find online and in bazaars, is more important.

Style Isle, for one, was created to highlight and showcase what the different indigenous communities from around the Philippines can do. “Considering cultural appropriation, respecting and understanding their tradition and rituals in creating these pieces, we carefully work with them in integrating their pieces into new pieces. Through the various travels we’ve done around the Philippine Islands, we discovered how each tribe / group has their own style and look and we want to be able to showcase these. Knowing that they’re inspired by their surroundings and environment — we aim to give these products, pieces, designs and stories a platform by showcasing them. We aim to keep the integrity of the pieces and stories when we create designs.”Trends_StyleIsle_Indigenous_04

Knitted Pineapple Swimwear & Handwoven T’boli Malong

The Philippines is an archipelago with over 7,000 islands – 7,641, to be exact, according to the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (source). Just imagine how diverse our country is and how rich it is in tradition and stories that’s just waiting to be discovered and shown to the world.

“At Style Isle, we aim to reveal these treasures to the world. Our collective features both curated and created products that transcend the boundaries between art and fashion. These pieces celebrate the proud heritage of the artisans who created them. Incorporating natural and indigenous materials with their meticulous handiwork, these artisans celebrate the techniques of their ancestors in their one-of-a-kind creations.”Trends_StyleIsle_Indigenous_05

CocoLoco necklaces and Ilocos woven scarf

Style Isle commissions pieces from artisans in different tribes all over the Philippines and brings them to New York City where they can foster worldwide awareness and appreciation for these endangered art forms. They believe in creating a sustainable “eco-system” where everyone benefits – the producers, designers, consumers, as well as the impact they make on the environment. It is really one of their key objectives to support local and tribal artisans in their livelihoods, especially those living in war-torn parts of the Philippines.

The brand’s current collection features pieces from the Tausug tribe of Sulu – hand-woven pieces that are colorful and mostly geometric patterned in design. They also have pieces integrating weaves from the T’boli tribe, known as the Dream Weavers.

The Red One-Shoulder Kaftan features the geometric and colorful patterns from the Tausug tribe

This Summer Lounge Dress with a T’nalak strap detail features the traditional hand-woven textile of the T’boli tribe. Each pattern comes to them in dreams and can take 5-6 months to weave 5-6 meters of the fabric.

Style Isle also carries an accessories line which is comprised of necklaces embellished with abaca twines, coco-beads, and bamboo beads; belts made with hand-casted brass buckles paired with hand-beaded details on a hand-woven fabric; and shawls made of pineapple-silk.Trends_StyleIsle_Indigenous_010

Weave Warrior Belt and T’boli brass banglesTrends_StyleIsle_Indigenous_011

Vinta Malong by the Tausug tribe

When you buy something from Style Isle, know that you are also helping provide for our local tribes. Follow Style Isle on Instagram and Facebook for updates on their next pop-ups and events. For US buyers, Style Isle is available thru www.jewelandlotus.com. To view pieces, buy / choose weaves and book appointments at their showroom, you can email them at styleisle.ph@gmail.com

*All photos courtesy of Style Isle


  • Congratulations, Twinkle Ferraren! Please visit the DOST-PTRI soon, Taste Company. Visit the Philippines … the Textile Nation we love!

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