Meet the Fil-Am-owned brand popularizing Indigenous weaves in New York

from: Inquirer Manila / 04:01 AM September 23, 2023

Natibo ATBP by Hatzumomo incorporates weaves from various parts of the Philippines into contemporary designs that are a hit to Filipinos in the US

Weaving is an integral part of Philippine culture that dates back to the 13th century. Using local cotton, fibers, abaca, and pineapple, as many as 450 weaving groups across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao create distinct fabric patterns that they use in their traditions and customs as well as in daily life.

It has since grown from a niche interest steeped in tradition to a Filipino trademark that’s even sometimes referred to as a hallmark of a Filipino brand.

It’s even made its way into the US integrated into contemporary fashion items, thanks to designer and Natibo ATBP by Hatzumomo founder Paulo Manaid. He’s fused basics like T-shirts and baseball caps with swatches of indigenous handwoven fabric and made Japanese-inspired jackets using them, too—a bestseller among the brand’s patrons. He also creates tote bags, pillowcases, pouches, robes, and other accessories using weaves from Sagada, Cordillera, and Zamboanga, to name a few.

Manaid was born in the Philippines and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Today, he operates from New York City, making everything in his home in Astoria, Queens, New York.

“I work closely with different native weavers and collectives from all over the Philippines, as we have the same goal: keep these traditions and the art of our ancestors alive,” he said.

Natibo ATBP began in 2016 after he returned from a balikbayan trip where he rediscovered Filipino weaves. After learning more about how they are made and what they represent, he decided to create his first batch of tote bags and smaller accessories. He then sold it at local pop-up markets in the city. 

“I realized that when I went around, and saw that most of the skillful weavers are elderly women,” he said in an interview. “Tapos parang walang appreciation from Filipinos there. ‘Yong mga Fil-Ams na lumaki dito looking for their identities, yes, may appreciation from them.”

Together with other Filipino-American small business owners, Manaid is also one of the organizers behind the Philippine Fest, the first Filipino street food fair in the US that started in New York. Aside from food vendors, Natibo ATBP joins a small group of fashion entrepreneurs that offer a variety of Filipino-inspired wares.

Earlier this year, Manaid joined New York City-based creative collective Underground Advocatez’s event “Fashion Forward: The New York Fashion Week Experience,” where he presented a selection from Natibo ATBP in a runway show.

He considers helping create better livelihoods for his fellow countrymen through his business as one of his biggest accomplishments. “At the same time sharing these gems to not only the diaspora here in the United States, but to the rest of the world, whom many, for the very first time, have only heard of and seen these beautiful textiles through me.”

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