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Philippine fibers using cutting-edge innovations featured at ASEAN COSTI tech-fashion

CORTES, Bohol  (PIA) -- Philippine fibers with a twist: who would have thought that bringing science and technological innovation to textiles would bring about eco-friendly solutions in the form of piña, abaca, banana, silk, and bamboo?

According to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Bohol Provincial Science and Technology Center Director Vina Antopina, these eco-friendly solutions to the sustainable textile industry were the side event of the ASEAN Techno-Fashion Exposition on October 19, 2023 hosted by the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) in Bohol. 

Speaking during the recent Kapihan sa PIA Bohol interview, Antopina said innovation, arts, and the rich indigenous fiber culture and design intertwine into a single spool as the Philippines, through DOST welcomed and hosted the 84th ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation (COSTI). 

“The ASEAN Techno-Fashion event not only promotes cross-border collaborations, but also serves as a catalyst for exploring the potential of textiles in shaping the future of fashion and history,” Antopina said.  

She said Bohol used to have a thriving fiber industry that traces back to the pre-Hispanic period, but the introduction of the modern fibers and their technologies has put the local fibers on the sidelines.

As the DOST showcased various research and development output collections of textile materials, weaves, traditional wears, and innovative textiles from the ASEAN delegation, this should be a good re-entry for the revived fibers and using new technologies other than hand-looms, said Antopina. 

She added that the introduction of cutting-edge science and technology to the grassroots as a common science is what the DOST has been committing to bring in a bid to create smart communities.

The international event, which was held in Panglao from October 16-20, 2023, was attended by DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr., DOST Undersecretary Leah J. Buendia, ASEAN COSTI Chair Mohammad Nazri Mohammad Yusof of Brunei, National COSTI Chairs of other ASEAN Member States, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to ASEAN, Ambassador Hayceelyn M. Quintana, and UK Ambassador to ASEAN, Ambassador Sarah Tiffin. 

Textiles from ASEAN countries, including Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand, were also featured. 

For the Philippines, the techno fashion show highlighted DOST's commitment to promoting innovation in the Philippines and fostering creative collaborations with the textile industry, designers and market leaders to create new innovative products from indigenous fibers.

Philippine textiles featured eco-friendly fashion solutions that use sustainable materials and production methods such as fibers from pineapple, banana, abaca, silk, and bamboo that align the country with global sustainability goals and promote responsible fashion practices.

Among the featured Philippine brands that adopted DOST-PTRI technologies were, namely: BAYO Dyes, a homegrown brand that adopted DOST-PTRI’s natural dye technology; AIRE, a brand that adopted technologies that convert natural fibers into wearable yarns and is now available in the online retail market; BAYO x SEDA Pilipinas, a collection of wearable pieces made of Philippine silk; and the KatHABI Haute Culture Collection of handloom woven textile products made by Philippine indigenous communities.

Other ASEAN member states that also showcased their traditional clothes were Brunei Darussalam with Baju Melayu bergulambir, Indonesia for its batik and sarung, Malaysian Indian men’s Kurta, Malaysian Chinese men’s Samfoo, Thailand men’s Chong Kraben, and Myanmar’s Longyi, which can be worn by both men and women.

For female traditional clothes, Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia featured Kebaya, while Thailand featured Chut Thai.

"The ASEAN Techno-Fashion Expo is a testament to the boundless creativity and potential that emerges when science, technology, innovation and the arts converge. It is a celebration of innovation, sustainability, and the limitless possibilities that exist in the intersection of these industries," Solidum said. (RAHC/PIA7 Bohol with reports from DOST)

DOST Secretary Renato Solidum (front rown, extreme right) brought international attention to the indigenous fibers and cutting edge technologies in the textile industry. (PIA Bohol)

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Rey Anthony Chiu

Regional Editor

Region 7

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