LOOK: Ilonggo designer transforms Barong Tagalog into streetwear | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Image: Instagram/@jorel.espina
Image: Instagram/@jorel.espina

These days, traditional Filipino prints and weaves are trendier than ever, making their way to urban fashion through clothes, bags and shoes, among others.

One designer’s unique bomber jackets—known as “bomberongs”—have stood out as a fashion statement, recently adorning personalities from politicians to DJs.

Both elegant and modern, fashion designer Jor-El Espina’s creations went viral on Facebook when Rep. Sharon Garin featured him and his works in a Facebook post last June.

Garin said she tracked down Espina after seeing model-entrepreneur Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez sporting one of his carefully crafted bomber jackets at an event.

“The designer is an Ilonggo, who values his roots, who gives opportunities to the hardworking weavers of our province and who creates beautiful and unique pieces from our local hablon,” she wrote.

With his eye-catching and exquisite designs, Espina indeed has paid tribute to the heritage industry of hablon or weaving.

The designer celebrates the local traditions from Luzon to Mindanao, finding fabrics in Ifugao in northern Luzon down to Basilan in Mindanao, as reported in Metro Style. Along the way, he learns more about their culture, he told Cosmopolitan.

Besides the bomber jackets, he has made the barong into streetwear for women and men, transforming them into chic blouses and jumpers.

For those interested in copping their own contemporary artisan weaves, his atelier is in Iloilo City. His pieces will also be in Manila at the ArteFino fair from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 at 8 Rockwell in Makati.  /ra



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