Clothes made of woven indigenous fabrics

We’re all looking forward to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in the meantime, we can shop for clothes to wear for when we can finally leave our houses. Most of us have taken to shopping safely at home on Instagram thrift shops and our favorite store’s websites.

However, aside from thrifted crop tops and jeans or witty tees, we can also add locally made pieces to our carts and wardrobes. Balik Batik is a local store that celebrates our culture by creating clothes such as bomber jackets and kimonos made from woven indigenous fabrics of Philippine tribes. There’s nothing that says Pinoy pride like literally wearing it on your sleeve.

Balik Batik clothes made of indigenous fabrics

clothes from indigenous fabrics - barong blazer
Itneg Filipiniana Blazer in deep blue
Image credit: Balik Batik

Once upon a time, woven indigenous fabrics would only be used for malongs, table runners, and house decor. But times have changed since then. We can now see these fabrics used to make ready-to-wear clothes such as shirts or skirts.

Local store Balik Batik specifically takes these woven fabrics and turns them into beautiful clothes, such as bomber jackets, kimonos, barongs, and blazers. You can definitely throw on these pieces during a video call for work or when you have to turn on your camera for your online classes.

Giving back to indigenous people

clothes from indigenous fabrics - yakan fabrics
Image credit:
Junior Weaver Yakan products

Balik Batik was built on appreciating the woven indigenous fabrics of indigenous Filipino communities. The brand wanted to prove that we could use these fabrics for more than just malongs and table runners, and wanted to normalize wearing these fabrics daily through RTW clothes. If we go by the amount of customers who look forward to their releases, they’re well on their way to achieving their goal.

However, appreciating these fabrics isn’t the only way they’re helping indigenous people. For each piece of clothing they put on their page, they partner with local weavers all over the country to make the fabrics by hand. This way, despite the COVID-19 pandemic putting many businesses at a standstill, weavers and seamstresses still have jobs and incomes.

Get your own jackets, blazers, and kimonos made of woven fabric

clothes from indigenous fabrics - blazerImage credit: Balik Batik

Because each cloth and fabric is woven by hand, all of the pieces that Balik Batik comes out with are unique – there’s no need to worry about running into someone who’s wearing the same thing as you. However, this also means that you need fast fingers when the store drops a new line on their page since the clothes run out real quick.

You can also check out their album Balik Batik Available Pieces for clothes that are on hand. Their pieces range from P1,600 to P6,000 (~USD30.88-USD123.53) depending on the fabric.

Support local businesses that support indigenous people

Retail therapy is fun and all, but what makes it meaningful is when the things you buy are crafted with care. Products are made even special when they’re handmade by our indigenous countrymen. 

If you can, do look out for ways to support our indigenous communities and craftspeople, such as by buying from stores that give back to them.

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Cover image adapted from: Balik Batik, Balik Batik 

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