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BEHIND THE KKIBO x CLOTH OBJECT WILD BAMBOO PROJECT

Cloth Object uses renewable textiles and supports artisanal communities all over the Philippines to blend the line between function and art. Named after the Japanese word for ‘hope’, KKIBO fuses primitive art forms and modern aesthetic to create thoughtful, unique pieces that that reflect the natural world.

Together, they created the KKIBO x Cloth Object Wild Bamboo Project, focusing on wild bamboo harvested from the Cordillera Mountains of the Philippines.

Wild bamboo is the strongest species of bamboo, and is an incredibly sustainable and functional material. It's a fast growing, self regenerative grass that requires no fertilizer, pesticides or irrigation. Truly a thing of beauty.

The result are their gorgeously constructed KKIBO x Cloth Object wild bamboo boat bags and envelop clutches. They’re ridiculously roomie, structurally sound and fashionably functional; hence, our obsession with these babies.

MAAARI sat down with the creators Emilyn Eto of Cloth Object and Jo Abellera of KKIBO to learn more about their story, their makers, and how this collaboration came to be.

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WHAT DOES YOUR BRAND MEAN TO YOU?

Jo Abellera of KKIBO:

I started my line KKIBO doing knitwear about 6 years ago, handknitting with this beautiful Peruvian sheeps wool. The raw material itself is what inspired me....taking that and creating textures and silhouettes. So, for me, KKIBO is about making thoughtful, unique pieces by hand that reflect the beauty of nature.

Emilyn Eto of Cloth Object:

For me, it’s about going deeper. I’ve always loved anything handmade from the Philippines; but meeting artisans, traveling to remote areas, having a meal with makers, hearing stories, seeing how things how have evolved - this is what gives my purpose more meaning.

WHAT INSPIRED THIS COLLABORATION? 

Timing and kids inspired The Wild Bamboo Project! We were both encountering a new generation of Filipino-Americans excited about their heritage and expressing it through food and fashion. 

We were both ready to expand each of our fiber practices and found a space in the market for these beautiful bamboo baskets. Exposing this heritage to our kids keeps our momentum going.

We were both encountering a new generation of Filipino-Americans excited about their heritage and expressing it through food and fashion.  

We’ve talked about what legacy we hope to leave with our kids and how we will keep them connected to this homeland.

WHAT IMPACT DO YOU YOU THINK YOUR WILD BAMBOO PRODUCTS HAS ON FILIPINO AND FILIPINO-AMERICAN CULTURE?

Emilyn:

This is a higher quality bag; when Filipino artisans are able to practice and sell their higher levels of craftsmanship, they work harder to show pride in their work and country. This is the mastered craftsmanship we all want to preserve.

As for Filipino-Americans, they are constantly being reminded of their childhoods! They relate this modern bamboo product to the crafts that their immigrant parents brought stateside as comforts of home. I covet my parents’ capiz shell chandelier and Jo treasures of her mother’s barongs.  

Jo:

It's true, I do love my mom's barong tagalogs! The making of these baskets is an age-old traditional craft that is part of our collective heritage.  

I hope what we're doing with the Wild Bamboo Project inspires the Filipino and Filipino-American community and helps keep that connection to our roots alive.

This is a higher quality bag; when Filipino artisans are able to practice and sell their higher levels of craftsmanship, they work harder to show pride in their work and country.

 

This is the mastered craftsmanship we all want to preserve.

WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN WORKING WITH FILIPINO ARTISANS? 

Emilyn:

We have a cottage industry product in the Cordillera Mountains, so production is closely linked to daily and seasonal life. Many employees are farmers who use this as work during the downtime or after planting season, while the plants grow.

There are others who harvest their wild bamboo early in the morning and then stay up late that same night, having already cleaned, stripped and woven several baskets. The work is very flexible, making it accessible to a wide range of people. 

In general, there was so much humility and warmth. After sharing a meal the basketmakers, there were lots of giggles despite the the language barrier. I loved that.

 The work is very flexible, making it accessible to a wide range of people. 

WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?

We are both driven in art, design and making—it's what we are called to do. We love the feeling of being inspired and sharing that with others.

I hope what we're doing with the Wild Bamboo Project inspires the Filipino and Filipino-American community and helps keep that connection to our roots alive.

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SHOP THE KKIBO x CLOTH OBJECT BAGS


BOAT BAG
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ENVELOPE CLUTCH
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