Jackson Tailors - tailors suit makati
The Barong Tagalog is distinct due to its embossed embroidery.
The Filipino Ma-I bartered with the Chinese. Exchanging kapok, beeswax and 1349 Daoyi Zhilue lists cloth of various pattern. Zhu Fan Zhi on the other hand states they bartered yuta cloth. In exchange the Filipinos received the "porcelain, trade gold, iron pots, lead, colored glass beads, and iron needles"
Thus began the legacy of the embroiderers of Laguna.
I believe this is when Calado was borne. Not in the House of Balconies in Spain, but in the shores of Laguna. That list up there is what one needs to embroider a calado which is what I think looks exactly like fishing nets, which I assumed was incorporated magically with European embroidery. The Spanish are claiming that it was around 1700s when they invented the Calado.
I used to wonder why Laguna? Why not Cebu, or Panay? And so now we know. But what catapulted this fate is during the Philippine Spanish Era when the Franciscan nuns settled in Laguna, taught European style embroidery to the wives of the fishermen. This in turn gave birth to the most spectacular embroidery of The Barong Tagalog.
The delicate embossed embroidery is what draws the people to this piece of art. Scallops, Flowers, Paisley, Scrolls with the delicate Calado are intricately hand embroidered for its emboss effect.
Nowadays Computerized embroidered barong has captured the hearts of most menswear fashion designers. It gives a more sharper embroidery patterns. But nothing beats Hand embroidery. There is a lot of spirit poured into it that oozes out of every stitch. Though if not an expert you won't find the difference, but if an enthusiast, you would really find the intricacy uniquely beguiling.
Other forms of embroidery used are the Alforza or pinpricking and Lace inserted appliques (mostly for the ladies). And lastly the newly introduced Hand painted barongs. Ultimately it is hand embroidery and Calado that epitomizes the art of the Barong Tagalog.
Embroidery is mostly concentrated on the Pechera or Torso. In the 60's full Calado designs were popularized.
The clean finish at the back is most important because it is done on the sheerest natural fabric fiber. The main ingredient of this piece of art.
The Piña Fabric
Piña is the Spanish word for Pineapple. Borne out of the Island of Panay in a fishing village called Kalibo (popular because it is the gateway to boracay).The Piña Fabric made out of the Pineapple leaf that has been pulled or split away to form fibers called the Bastos. Also used for the hairs of the Saints statues in Catholic Churches. They are long and stiff strands that can also be turned into abaca-like ropes. The Bastos are again are again scraped into a finer filament called the Linawan. They are washed and hung to dry for weaving process. Looms are usually built with coconut timbres, however the weft is wound in bamboo. About a meter a day are woven and braided into a piña cloth.
But it is the most favorite fabric of sewers and embroiderers alike. Because it is all natural, the smell is simply amazing. It is the stiffer version of silk. Looks like silk, but stiffer.
I accept the stiffness of it. The authenticity of it. The natural texture of it. Better than making it softer with polyester and or cotton. Although if you wear it everyday, trending it up with incorporated fibers has had its fair share of demand. But nah, I prefer the original stiffler.
And speaking of stiffness, we move on to the evolution of fabrics used for the Barong Tagalog:
1. Jusi from abaca or banana silk
2. Banana Fabric but with limited geometric designs.
3. Piña Cotton is a combination of 2 natural fibers that gives a softer feel. Sample seen in picture on right.
4. Organza used for affordable barong tagalog
5. Jusilyn another rtw favorite because it is economically practical
6. Rami Linen is used for Gusót-Mayaman
6. Poly Cotton used for office barongs or polo barong (popularized by President Mambo Magsaysay more on this in our next journal)
The synthetic fibres have already used non woven methods and faster fabric production. They are also less see through than the natural woven fabrics.
But some tries to keep true to the Piña look making their fabric translucent.
The translucency varies but the more authentic Piña is more valued for its sheerness. Men should wear an undergarment. We oftentimes use the Camisa de Chino which I had mentioned in the previous journal.
The Camiso de Chino is the original frock. The Filipinos must have bartered this form of clothing from the Chinese hence the name, but it basically looks like what the early Punjabis wore. And what was clearly illustrated in the Boxer Codex.
Not to mention the Henley Shirt, but still a post Camisa de Chino clothing. So what we see here on top are the what I see as precursors of the Camisa de Chino. Maybe we can associate it also with the Long Johns of the west, since it is really used as an underwear.
Nevertheless, for our foreign readers it's an earlier version of the Henley Shirt. We recommend using fabrics like Linen or Gina Silk to construct this inner shirt. It should be light and the same color as your Barong. It must also be of same length, sleeves and skirt. We much prefer to just line up the Barong tagalog with it especially if constructed for a groom.
Trousers are usually black wools. It is the preferred choice, however we modernized our barong tagalog into a suit barong that used tuxedo trousers. Still in Piña Fabric with single galon.
We end this journal with this, because our next and last journal of the barong tagalog will be focused on the do's and don'ts of the barong. You see, this is where you may gauge if the suit barong is a blasphemous design, or simply just another barong tagalog version.
Til next time guys and please like us in Facebook
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