Fil-Am’s zero-waste designs make it to NYFW runway
NEW YORK—Ia’s Threads debuted fossilized cacao leaves on the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) runway last Sunday, Sept. 12, bringing Filipino colors on its third outing in the international fashion circuit.
Founded by sustainability advocate Ia Faraoni, Ia’s Threads has been showcasing Filipino craftsmanship since its founding in 2017 while at the same time, promoting zero-waste fashion.
Faraoni had debuted her Zero-Waste Fashion Dress Collection in 2018, combining t’nalak woven cloth from South Cotabato with upcycled textile made of waste trimmings and waste fabric gathered from local businesses in Warwick, New York, to come up with her version of ecowear.
This time around, at the NYFW, fossilized cacao leaves adorned her creations to the delight of Filipino Americans who turned out at the Edison Ballroom to catch the hiTechMODA fashion show.
“I can say as usual, Ia never failed to produce and at the same time, do a fantastic show,” fashion choreographer turned property consultant Erno Hormillosa, told INQUIRER.net after viewing the fashion show.
“I loved the incorporation of the gown with the cacao leaves, together with the bag. It makes sense to bring not only our culture but at the same time, our products from the Philippines, which is the most important thing. So I’m proud of her that she’s doing that.”
Faraoni was ecstatic at the end of her segment, taking pride in the workmanship of village women from San Isidro, Davao del Norte in the Philippines. Ia’s Threads partnered with the Cacao Leaves of San Isidro Association to accentuate the collection Faraoni previewed at NYFW.
“With the zero-waste fashion dresses, I incorporated the t’nalak fabrics that are handwoven by artisans in Lake Sebu in Mindanao,”Faraoni told INQUIRER.net as her NYFW segment concluded. ”Also something new this year are the fossilized cacao leaves. They are crafted by artisans in San Isidro, Davao del Norte, the village where I grew up so that’s really close to my heart. It takes them about six hours to finish the whole process of fossilizing the cacao leaves.”
The designer from Mindanao grew up with a love for fashion. Her family owned a fashion store back in the Philippines and she went around frequently with her father to market fairs.
Immigrating to America as a grown-up was initially challenging because “I went to school in the Philippines and it’s different, the culture is different, everything is different so I had to learn and study how to manage a business here,” but nevertheless led to her awakening as a sustainability advocate. She decided to create an international platform for Filipino artisans not only to break the cycle of poverty in the Philippines but also to show the world the beauty and elegance of Filipino craftsmanship.
“My inspiration is our culture, the colorful Filipino culture. Ia’s Threads has always been committed to the sustainable development goals. And this collection, the SS22 Collection, is the depiction of that, how sustainable fashion and cultural fashion made in the Philippines, handwoven with the natural fibers, can also be shown off in the global market,”Faraoni said.
Ia’s Threads also sells handbags and clutches made of natural buri fibers. The bags are hand-made, taking artisans three to five days to finish just one piece and even longer, a full week, for the big bags. Marketed as sustainable luxury handbags, the native bags along with the zero-waste fashion dresses have attracted celebrities and international fashion coverage.
Offering a fresh take to sustainability fashion with the introduction of fossilized cacao leaves, Faraoni is confident about the future of Filipino design.
“It’s going to be in the mainstream market. We’re already trying to bring it into the global market,”she said.
Ia’s Threads collections have been made accessible online since the Covid-19 pandemic changed the world. Within five years, the company aims to bring its collections to more luxury department stores around New York.
“We want to show that sustainability really can look great,”Faraoni said.