MANILA, Philippines --- Do you know that abaca jeans goes to New York? Recently, on May 21 to 25, 2012, the abaca fabric for jeans was displayed in the Philippine Consulate in Fifth Avenue, New York. This is historic indeed. Both for our textile and export industry.
The credit for coming out with the first abaca fabric (blend of 43% abaca and 57% polyester) for jeans goes to Asia Textile Mills, Inc. (Asiatex), a manufacturing firm with weaving and dyeing facilities in Calamba, Laguna. Asiatex has been around since 1984 exporting other textile products since 1989 to Europe, Asia and some parts in Asia.
Says Matthew "Chuck" Lazaro, President and Chief Operating Officer of Asiatex: "We have come up with a material that looks like the 100% cotton denim. Except that the abaca-based jeans is so uniquely "Pinoy" considering that abaca is a Filipino fiber that gives durability to the fabric due to the fiber's high tensile strength. The porosity (breathability) of abaca fiber is also incredible because, the fiber strengthens more when it is wet and heat is actually emitted out of the material instantly. In other words, durability and utmost comfort is attained when using the abaca fiber for clothing. The whole supply chain from farmers to textile producers, designers, garment/home textile makers are also benefited. This is the best way we can generate more jobs."
Asiatex has a stable domestic market. Having a certificate of compliance with Republic Act No. 9242. Enacted last February 10, 2004, R.A No. 9242 is an act prescribing the use of the Philippine tropical fabrics for uniforms of public officials and employees and for other purposes.
Sections 3 and 4 of Republic Act No. 9242 provide:
"Sec. 3. Usage of Philippine Tropical Fabrics. - the use of Philippine tropical fabrics is hereby prescribed for official uniforms of government officials and employees and for the purposes which require the use of fabrics in government offices and functions.
"Sec. 4. Purchase of Tropical Fabrics. - Philippine tropical fabrics used for the uniforms of government officials and employees, and for other government purposes shall be purchased from local sources in accordance with law."
Not many know that Asiatex manufactures the fabrics for the uniforms of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officials and employees as well as the personnel of other government offices. Even private banks patronize the tropical fabrics manufactured by Asiatex for the uniforms of the bank personnel.
Going back to the display of abaca-based products (and other Philippine fiber-based products) in the Philippine Consulate Office in Fifth Avenue, New York - there are other fiber-based products including abaca wallpaper, abaca carpets, abaca draperies, abaca crunch, and raffia-based products on display, as well.
The display of Philippine-fiber based products in the Philippine Consulate in New York is a project of Eugenio "Buster" C. Elevado, Jr., a DTI Trade Service Officer based in New York and formerly based in Israel and Tokyo. Buster, a fellow Bicolano is the same DTI Official who encouraged me many years ago to write about the business culture of Israel in this same column. Buster is so knowledgeable with business practices in Israel because he was DTI's Trade Service Officer in Israel for many years. Congratulations Buster for introducing the abaca blend fabric for jeans in New York! Yes, we will soon be seeing Americans wearing the abaca jeans.
Have a joyful day!