Dexter Alazas shows that art can also be fashionable in ready-to-wear hablon fashion line

Tootsy Angara (middle) and Maritess Allen (right) model the creations of Cebuano fashion designer Dexter Alazas (left). | CDN Digital photo

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — Cebuano fashion designer Dexter Alazas is giving the hablon of Argao, Cebu a chic look.

Alazas said he would be targeting local and foreign tourists who would be looking for souvenirs with the latest addition to his ready-to-wear creations. Later on, he intends to also introduce these to the foreign market.

While doing this, Alazas said that he also wanted to ‘inculcate’ that art could at the same time be fashionable by featuring hand painted designs by local artists on handwoven fabrics.

“That is what we want to do with Cebuano artisans,” he said.

Moreoever, he said that he was also collaborating with Maritess Allen, the Philippine Feng Shui Queen, to incorporate Feng Shui symbols into some of his creations.

“We are gonna make fashion for Ms. Maritess and she is gonna put Feng Shui elements on it also through embroidery and through hand painting,” he said.

Alazas gave a glimpse of his latest creations in a gathering on March 3 that was attended by Senator Sonny Angara, the chairperson of the Committee on Finance in the 19th Congress, and his wife, Tootsy.

Maritess Allen wears the convertible skirt by Dexter Alazas. | CDN Digital photo

During the gathering, Alazas made Allen try his convertible hablon skirt.

Tootsy Angara tries the convertible long pants. |CDN Digital photo

He also requested Tootsy to wear his convertible long pants.

Alazas said that his inclusion of the hablon in his fashion line was also his contribution to initiatives to save what used to be a dying industry of Argao town in southern Cebu.

Lengthy Production Process

Alazas admits that his hablon ready-to-wear line is somewhat expensive because of the materials used and the lengthy production process.

For the design, they are using acrylic and textile paint.  It is also for this reason that he recommends dry cleaning for his hablon clothes.

“But we tried hand washing it, it won’t trip off because its already textile paint but dry cleaning would preserve the integrity of the material and also the… because [it is] hand woven you can’t do machine wash on it. Because once one stitch will be removed, the whole thing will be removed,” he said.

The process of weaving the hablon is also costly.  Weavers in Argao are able to complete at least a meter long fabric after a day’s work.

In all, weaving and hand painting takes about a month to complete, Alazas said.

Foreign market

For now, Alazas said that his hablon ready-to-wear line would be available to “everyone who wants to use local, support local, from local to foreign.”

Alazas said that as of the moment, his creations would only be able to reach a niche market while his displays would only be limited at the airport and some of the hotels in Cebu.

Soon, he intends to introduce his creations to the international market.

And while he prepares for this, he is asking the government to help local designers like him promote their products abroad and to find means to make their creation accessible to a broader market.

“For an industry to be called an industry, there should be manufacturing . For the fashion industry to really prosper, it has to have local materials for manufacturing. What happened with designers in Cebu, is basically we have to buy fabrics lang but when its really made here, locally made ang fabric and made by designers, local artisans, its the whole industry. Everything will be sustainable,” he said.

Senator Angara for his part said that there were existing laws that were crafted to help those in the creative industry.

“We have a law. The creative industries law. It’s newly passed so, there’s all sorts of assistance that should be provided by government: financial, incentives and capability building,” he said.

“Under the creative law, the creative industries are part of the possible recipients. But yon nga (that’s just it), sometimes there is an information disconnect. Hindi alam ng gobyerno na may magagaling pala dito (the government does not know that there are a lot of talented people here),” he said.

Angara said, “we need people to be active and tell the government that we are here and we need help.”


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TAGS: Argao, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, Dexter Alazas, fashion, hablon
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