This local sustainable brand is bringing flour sacks back in style

Published September 2, 2020, 6:33 AM

by John Legaspi

We’ve got to admit, the pieces are looking pretty chic.

Before sustainability became a movement in many industries, Filipina mothers had been practicing it. Back in the day, thanks to the flour sacks or katsa, mothers saved money and reduced waste by using the textile as diapers for their babies and even for food preparation.

But as we advance technologically, the use of katsa, just like other Filipino traditions, is being forgotten. For many, the katsa is just a material used in their Home Economics class.

Aiming to bring the nostalgia of flour sacks back, local brand AraPilak produced a clothing line using the humble material for a more stylish and ethical purpose.

“The use of flour sacks to make clothing is nothing new. In the Philippines, resourceful women, especially in the barrios who had limited resources, used flour sacks or katsa to make everything from bibs, cloth diapers, and handkerchiefs to skirts, blouses, and curtains. Sadly, this ingenious practice is no longer as widespread as it was just a few decades ago,” the brand says. “This is what prompted us to launch Ba’law (Cuyonon word for ‘awareness’) Clothing by AraPilak.”

Arapilak, a Cuyonon compound term which means “no waste,” has been advocating an eco-friendly lifestyle by creating products with minimal carbon footprint. The Palawan-based brand started producing bamboo straws and toothbrushes. In three years, it has also produced wooden cutlery, menstrual cups, and handwoven accessories.

While the flour sack fashion may look new for the brand, this is not the first time Arapilak dabbled into garment-making. Early this year, the brand designed a line of linen tops that could be worn in many ways. With Ba’law, the brand wants to give greener choices for today’s fashion consumers.

“We want to bring back this beautiful Filipino custom that makes wise use of whatever is available to us,” it says. “After all, perhaps this is one of the most valuable lessons we can learn from this pandemic.”