My friend LM invited me to the launch of Borneo Chic in Kemang a few days ago. I loved seeing how a group of people turned age old traditions and transformed it into relevant, modern, and fashionable pieces. It wasn’t just a fashion launch but also one that benefitted the indigenous people of Kalimantan…. Fashion with a passion.
The collection of handbags merging elements of indigenous weaving traditions weaving traditions with modern designs.
The Venue: Ke’kun Cafe
The favors: Borneo Chic notebook and bamboo pen (which I loved!) plus a 10% discount voucher
The different weaves
…mats and basket
My two favorite bag designs + cellphone holder
The master of ceremonies. Crissy Guerrero on the left translating everything in English for our benefit.
It was great learning about the people of Kalimantan. I especially loved the skirt of the young weaver.
I found it so touching that they had two of the weavers tell their own stories.
The designer of the bags who emphasized that Borneo Chic is a long term project of developing an Indonesian fashion legacy.
The weavers also performed a scaled-down dance (these are usually performed in many numbers).
This lady was telling us that she was doing this (weaving for Borneo Chic) to support not only her children but also here grand children. And I could see from the way that she spoke, how much the opportunity and livelihood meant to her. Borneo Chic pays the weavers of Kalimantan fair prices for their efforts. More than they were making before.
This graceful young lady with the amazing garb is one of the 7 young weavers from her village who refused to become laborers like her parents, make money out of their traditional craft and live a sustainable healthy lifestyle. I saw such strengh and determination from her. While she was speaking she faltered at times out of shyness. It was her first time to go to Jakarta. She came a long way – 19 hours to be exact. From Kalimantan you needed 2 hours to get to the boat, a 6 hour boatride, 10 hour busride and 1 hour plane ride. WOW. It gave me new respect for this young girl!
After the remarks and cultural presentation, there was a weaving demonstration.
Crissy told us that the young lady was one of the few who could weave so fine almost perfectly. Not such an easy feat!
Then it was time to browse the bags. Too bad those baskets A is holding is not for sale. I really wanted one!
Borneo Chic was given the INACRAFT AWARD 2010 for the Merit Prize in Category Natural Fibers. It also won the UNESCO seal of excellence award for Handicrafts in 2006 for the southeast asian program.
The idea of elevating indigenous crafts to high fashion and art is not a new one (Aranaz comes to mind) however the way this group is doing it (not for profit but to encourage indigenous to continue their craft/art by supporting them and paying them fair prices for their work is something that we can aslo learn from in the Philippines. If you love local crafts and artisans then make sure to visit their store!
More info on Borneo Chic here.
DID YOU KNOW?
One of the people involved in helping preserve the Kalimantan culture and livelihood by giving fair prices for their goods (to produce Borneo Chic bags) is Filipino? It is none other than Crissy Guerrero. She makes me proud to be pinoy!