As we face economic challenges head on, it’s just about time to support our very own local industries, especially those that promote our heritage. This is what all-around designer Maco Custodio has in mind as he continues to champion the preservation of Philippine fashion.
Last year, even the strict lockdown didn’t stop Maco from bringing local communities together as he pursued to incorporate cultural identity and artwork into his designs. And this time, he introduced not his usual offerings of bags and shoes as he’s known for, but with headgear.
Maco’s first piece, labeled as Kalo (a Visayan word meaning cap), is a collaboration with the Blaan indigenous community of Mindanao. This ball-type cap made of wool material has three varieties of embroidery named after its local terms: nsif (cross-stitched), takmon (mother of pearl or shell discs) and sanlah (glass beads).
The embroidered patterns are not plainly for decorations, but they also represent something, which he shared in full detail on an Instagram post. See the meanings below:
The skull cap is the second type of hat Maco had worked on. For the season, the designer offers the headpiece in three styles.
For the first one, he partnered with weavers from Buhi, Camarines Sur, where he selects stitched handwoven Yakan fabric scrap that goes from abstract hues to monotone. Since they’re patchworks, each cap is unique from each other.
Next is the kusikus pattern Maco sources from the Rugrugan sa Tubod Foundation based in Palawan. It is said that the optical illusion can disperse evil spirits. But Maco further explained details about kusikus in this post:
Maco highlights Tboli embroidery of Mindanao for the third style. Its next batch of production will feature Tboli buttons, which could serve as an earsaver when wearing a face mask.
The designer’s advocacy is loving local and promoting the rich history and heritage of the Philippines. “For this collection, I want to create something that tells stories about how our communities, especially the indigenous ones, can be part of modern contemporary design. And beyond that, I want us to be bearers of our culture” says Maco.