The golden age of Philippine textile has indeed come.

For the past 50 years, the Philippine Textile Research Industry (PTRI), an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), has taken the lead in weaving the threads of change in the textile industry through the infusion of science and technology to innovate on the use of tropical fibers, natural dyes, and  modified traditional handlooms, among others.

As DOST-PTRI celebrates its 50th anniversary on January 27, 2016 at the Philippine International Convention Center, the textile institute introduces more innovations that will push the local textile industry to be competitive in the global market.

The DOST-PTRI anniversary coincides with the observance of the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Month this January under Proclamation No. 313 issued on January 12, 2012.

Headed by Director Celia B. Elumba, the Institute will kick off the whole year celebration with the holding of the Annual Textiles Stakeholders Conference, a gathering of luminaries in the textile industry. This year’s celebration carries the theme Fabulous @50,TELA Pilipinas: Beyond Gold.

Expected to attend the opening ceremonies are DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña and Senator Loren B. Legarda, a strong supporter of neo-ethnic fabrics and handloom weaving. Legarda will convey a special message to the conference attendees and textile sector giants.

There will be a forum on the emerging trend in the international fashion scene with Dr. Carmen Hijosa, founder and CEO of AnanasAnam Ltd., discussing innovative textiles as new materials for the new world. According to PTRI, the textiles use fibers from Philippine pineapple leaf.

Lucia Catanes, general manager for research and design of the world-renowned Narda’s Handwoven Arts and Crafts, will talk about the legacy of Narda Capuyan. The latter has been known for her thrust on the natural line of woven elegance using local fabrics for scarves, shawls, clutch bags, and home decorations. Narda’s has been in the business for around 44 years, breaking barriers by weaving through the fashion capitals of New York, Tokyo and Paris.

The contrast in the use of centuries-old art of silk weaving, tropical fibers, and eco-friendly fabrics against the use of synthetic materials will be discussed by Chris Torrance, general manager of Ambension Silk Enterprise, a social enterprise initiative of US-based Filipinos.

Simultaneously, there will be a mini trade exhibit that will feature hundreds of unique and creatively-designed products from partner-weavers representing eight Regional Handloom Weaving Innovation Centers from the Cordilleras and Regions I, III, IV-B, VI, VII, X, and XII. Different fabrics will be on display that include, among others, the abel of Ilocos, piña of Aklan, sinamay of Cebu, hablon of Iloilo, and the T’nalak of South Cotabato.

To further promote local fabrics, PTRI will hold a business matching exercise through a Market Encounter event that will allow sellers and buyers to interact and explore trade possibilities. This exercise will give new players as well as seasoned weavers the opportunity to show their products and eventually sell them to local and international buyers.

The celebration will be capped by a red carpet event in the evening dubbed Fabulous @50: Alum Night. This will be a nostalgic night for the past and present PTRI officials and employees who have made their own mark in the industry for the past 50 years. There will be special presentations, games, and awards to celebrate their golden anniversary.

For more details on the specific forums and activities, please contact the Philippine Textile Research Institute through the Technology Transfer, Information and Promotions Staff at 837-1338 and 837-2071 local 2361 or visit PTRI website (Rodolfo P. de Guzman, S&T Media Service)

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