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Philippines firm innovates abaca denim fabric
Jan '12
In its search for alternative sources of raw material for making fabrics, a Philippines company has found the indigenous abaca fibre to best fit the bill.

The Manila-based Asia Textile Mills Inc. has found abaca fibre, which finds usage in making ropes and cordage, can be used for weaving abaca denim fabric due to its versatility, durability and other features.

Speaking to fibre2fashion, Mr. Mathew Lazaro, President & CEO of Asia Textile Mills Inc., said, “Abaca is a home grown fibre in the Philippines. In the olden days, abaca, which is a very strong and durable fibre, was used as a rope for anchoring ships. Abaca is also known for its very porous property making it very breathable and hence it is very comfortable to use.”

Revealing about the origin of the idea of making abaca fabric, he says, “We met officials from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) who were helping Filipino farmers to grow abaca. Later, when we were studying the abaca fibre, we felt that the best way to add value to the abaca fibre, instead of exporting the fibre alone, was to turn it into a fabric, so that the consumption will be more and it can then be sold as clothing.”

Taking the story forward, he continues, “With the help of the Japanese, we were able to transform the abaca fibre into a very comfortable yarn which we are already weaving now in the Philippine textile mills.”

Briefing about the current status of abaca denim fabric production, he says, “The production is still at a very primary stage and we plan to add more comfort to it by putting in it Lycra or spandex material to add stretch to it. Besides denim, we will be able to produce other woven materials that may be used for making shirts, skirts, blouses, trousers, etc.”

“The newly developed abaca denim fabric is still under study for its properties and how it is better than the conventional denim fabric, but it definitely has many useful properties like durability and comfort. Of course, it will be expensive for now, but when it goes for mass production it will become economical,” he mentions.

Briefing about the impact of the new fabric on Philippines textile industry, he says, “With the help of JICA, we will be able to support the textile mills as well as the hand weaving industry in Philippines. We will able to supply good quality yarns to the weavers who currently use yarns made from pineapples, etc., where the process takes longer and the durability is not high.”

Sharing his vision, Mr. Lazaro says, “One of the definitions of luxury product is that it can be used over and over again for several years. Hence, the abaca material or the abaca denim, when given a good design or put to good use for making clothing items or when marketed well, could be considered a luxury item. It may be one of the high-end products like Chanel, Ferragamo, etc.”

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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