Clothing made from tropical fabrics such as piña and banana is usually used during weddings, baptisms, burials and other special occasions. The Philippine Textile Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PTRI), however, is keen on making tropical fabrics more mainstream.
The establishment of PTRI’s P54-million Innovation Center for Yarns and Textiles (ICYT) is a step closer to this goal. Part of the bigger objective of revitalizing the textile industry in the country, it will produce yarns for the needs of both customers and clothing industry.
“We aim to make indigenous yarns accessible to our handloom weaving communities, as well as commercial millers or knitters,” disclosed PTRI Director Celia Elumba during the launch of the Innovation Center at the PTRI Compound, DOST Complex, Bicutan, Taguig City.
Elumba also revealed that PTRI has partnered with Power Fashion, the company behind the local clothing brands Unica Hija, Vise Versa, and Bayo, which has agreed to use locally produced tropical fabrics in one of their capsule collections.
The ICYT is just the first of PTRI’s initiatives geared toward reviving the textile industry. Sen. Loren Legarda, who graced the launching, expressed support for these initiatives.
According to the senator, promoting the use of tropical fabrics will not only preserve our culture and heritage but will also help support the agricultural sector.
Legarda is the author of the Tropical Fabrics Law, which aims to promote Philippine tropical fabrics through the use of such materials for the official uniforms of government officials and employees.
Meanwhile, Science Secretary Mario Montejo noted that the DOST’s efforts in reviving the industry is part of its contribution to the government’s vision of inclusive growth as these are seen to bring economic activity in the countryside.
PTRI will also establish regional handloom innovation centers and work on upscaling the natural dye production in the country to complement the Innovation Center.
Despite the decline of the textile industry in recent years, Montejo maintained his optimism especially with PTRI’s research and development initiatives such as developing less costly ways to process agricultural waste into fabrics, producing bamboo fabrics and smart textiles.