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Traditional Textile Revival: Demonstrating the Potential of Pina Fabric for Apparel

Montgomery, Marcy
Piña fabric, which is made of pineapple fibers, has been a part of the history of the Philippine Islands for over four-hundred years. Historically, garments made of piña were mostly designed in the same way: light beige in color, use of embroidery and standardized styling. Today in the Philippines garments made from piña are used primarily for Filipino political and formal occasions. The traditional styling of piña garments does not attract attention from the Western market, therefore piña receives minimal exposure outside of the Philippines. This gap in piña fabric exposure framed the purpose of this design thesis: to demonstrate the potential of piña fabric for apparel in the Western market. The intent of this project was to help preserve the piña weaving craft and the production of piña fabrics in the Philippines because piña fabric has been found to be at risk of extinction.Two frameworks drove the product development process: Ruppert-Stroescu & Hawley’s (2014) A Typology of Creativity in Fashion Design and Development and Karl Aspelund’s (2014) The Creative Process. Five ensembles were created using piña-seda (a piña and silk blend) fabric which was transformed by dyeing, draping, and cutting the fabric on the bias, then creating silhouettes including women’s dresses, gowns, pants, and separates. It was discovered that piña-seda fabric can be machine washed and machine dried; however, hand washing and line drying is recommended. The fabric accepted fiber reactive dyes, however, dark colors were difficult to achieve. Fiber reactive dyes were discharged and overdyed without destroying the fabric. The piña-seda accepted iron-pressing on the silk setting. Irregularities in the fabric weave were discovered. The result was a capsule collection for women targeted at a designer-level Western audience. An outside design expert evaluated the collection for its leadership design qualities and deemed the collection was appropriate for the Western market. The piña fabric surface finish and drape substantiated that piña-seda can be used to create garments that differ from traditional piña fabric garments of the Philippines. Further studies investigating the piña weaving and dyeing process and consumer perception of piña in the Western market are recommended.