Maghahabi: Weaving Every Dream into Reality
Even though the Philippines is known for its production of textile and local fabrics through Abaca, Pina, and other plant fibers, the Philippines' textile industry still comes across several challenges to surmount - be it in production, preservation, and commercialization.
The rapid technological advancement and continuously changing economy have also contributed to the people's hasty shifts of clothing preferences and fashion business industries' immense production demands. However, sustainability is still one of the main challenges the industry is facing, be it in the modern or traditional process.
Through her Filipino enthusiasm, commitment, and persistence, Ms. Ronalin Adolfo, a visionary Overseas Filipino Worker in the emirates of Dubai has decided to start her journey to finally weave her dreams into reality and bring the Philippine fashion industry on spotlight.
Inclined in the adaptation and promotion of Philippine fabric-made clothing, OWeavers Mill successfully spread its wings in the market in 2022. As a social enterprise, Oweavers Mill's agenda is not just to earn income, but to also bring local fabrics to a higher level of recognition, whilst promoting Filipino culture and couture, and employing local community weavers. It only started as a dream business plan developed under the Phase 1 of DOST's Innovations for Filipinos Working Distantly from the Philippines or iFWD PH Program in 2021.
According to Ms. Ronalin, the business' objective is to help fellow returned OFWs in their local area in Taguig City by providing them with science and technology-based livelihood through authentic Filipino-made handicrafts. She also envisions to uplift the weaving industry of the country by turning every fiber strand into spectacular and revolutionary clothes.
OWeavers Mill values weaving or "paghahabi" as one of the expressive forms of Filipino identity, culture, and heritage. As a clothing also reflects someone's emotion and vibe, the company creates an innovative fusion of textiles and garments by using indigenous, locally sourced fibers, and recycled yarns and fibers. When it comes to quality against price, OWeavers Mill definitely ensures that the products' excellence corresponds to its value for money.
Taking steps toward expansion, the company already acquired four (4) units of the Philippine Textile Research Institute-developed handloom machine. In connection with this, Ms. Ronalin has collaborated with DOST-PTRI for intensive capacity training as part of elevating the skills and knowledge of the diligent handloom weavers to continuously create remarkable fabric designs and patterns for every wearable.
While temporarily living in the Middle East together with her supportive husband, away from their family, Ms. Ronalin became even more motivated to explore the world of fashion and hope to inflict pride in the country's local fabric industry.
Artistic and passionate she really is, Ms. Ronalin organized the "Wear Your Culture Pilipinas" the first local fashion show featuring her products which was held at Al Ghurair Centre, Dubai in October 2022. Fortunately, this became a breakthrough of her business to be known overseas as the event was featured in the Global Filipino Magazine, a community magazine that is being published in Dubai.
As of December 2022, a total of 40 differently stunning colorways of plain weaves achieving a 100% on their target woven fabrics are already out in the market, wrapping up to 900 meters of fabrics- about the height of the iconic Burj Khalifa, and generate a total of Php 285,000 sales payment and Php 200,000 worth of products in consignment from various shops. It has also increased its workforce in which 80% of its employees are ex-migrant women.
This year, OWeavers Mill has recorded a satisfying increase in production volume by 100% and has continually developed more unique loom weaving products and sets of designs. Doors of opportunities have also opened as it continues to export its products anywhere in the Middle East and reaches more prevailing businesses and acquired new competent partnerships.
Moreover, the company has sealed contracts for upcoming series of fashion shows, beauty pageants, and themed exhibits in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for 2023. Hence, these notable accomplishments cater another way of promoting the art of weaving and its significance to the fashion industry not only in the country but around the world.
Just as how dedicated the founder of this company is, her daughters, who are currently in the Philippines, are already taking the lead of the business in crafting beautiful pieces of clothing for everyone using ecological friendly materials that are readily available in our homeland.
OWeavers Mill, indeed, is not just a mere business. It is a women-led enterprise which believes in the power of turning old-aged crafting ways into wonderful, unique, and sustainable artworks. The art of weaving may seem to be limited for many but for a woman like Ms. Ronalin, who lives with purpose, determination, and dream - the art of weaving entails massive opportunities to be known, to succeed, to share, and to take pride of what we naturally have. All you must do is believe in yourself, take courage, and have enough faith.