Woven by and for the Powerful Filipina
Kandama, Weaving communities of women together
In the native Tuwali language, Kandama means power, which encapsulates what we see in the communities of women we weave together.
Kandama was founded on empowering the women of Julongan by providing economic opportunities for them, helping them preserve the tradition of handloom weaving, and allowing them to keep nurturing the environment that sustains them. We believe that these weaves can also empower women everywhere by fusing heritage and style into modern, contemporary pieces.
Kandama is a social enterprise incubated in 2016 by the Singapore International Foundation with the support of McKinsey & Company under the Young Social Entrepreneurs Program. Under the said program, we carved our social mission, and to this day, we apply commercial strategies to make its social impact sustainable.
Miss Universe Philippines @gazinii is wearing a fully handwoven red Kandama trench coat! The entire coat was handwoven by weavers from Julongan village in Kiangan, Ifugao. The pattern on the lapel of the coat depicts two women helping each other in the pounding of rice kernels to remove its husk while the rest of the garment carries symbols of a shield or “happiyo” in the Tuwali language, which is used by ancient Ifugao men when they go for tribal wars.
Gazini’s trench coat is unlike any garment, it is a garment that tells a story through an ancient weaving tradition.
Ifugao traditional arts and crafts which include fabric weaving usually expresses elements of the immediate physical and cultural (material and immaterial) landscape as well as cosmic images in woven textiles for traditional wears.
Kandama organized women of Julongan village in Kiangan, Ifugao to start their organization of weavers. Since our inception, we have established two temporary weaving centers, four weaving workshops, one of which is in partnership with the Philippine Textile and Research Institute, and a Vision-Mission Goal Workshop using Appreciative Inquiry. Under this center, the women of Julongan continue their craft and help provide for the needs of their families.
In 2017, Kandama was restructured and incorporated by its founder Victor Baguilat Jr. while he was undergoing the Leadership Excellence Achievement Program (LEAP) of the Organizational Change Consultants International Inc. (OCCI). During the said program, we collaborated with various designers to make woven products more appealing to the modern market and expanded our products to include shoes and bags.
To this day, Kandama continues to celebrate the art of weaving and wishes to bring weaves into modern fashion. Since our inception, we have conducted and participated in premiere fashion events here and abroad such as Likhang Pamana in Hong Kong, Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, and Paris Indigenous Fashion Week.
Kandama is a social enterprise inspiring creative synergy among master weavers, modern designers, and indigenous artisans to create a lighthouse of living traditions that empower women. Its mission is to provide economic opportunities to women, to preserve the tradition of handloom weaving, and to help the community protect the environment. As a social enterprise, Kandama applies commercial strategies to make its social impact possible.