It’s no secret that basket bags are gaining more and more popularity in the fashion industry. Everybody loves them! Hollywood stars, fashion models, and fashion bloggers – everyone have their own favorite basket bag.
But what most people don’t know is that basket bags are made from abaca fibers (also known as Manila hemp). These fibers can do magical things and be transformed into bags, clothes, ropes, hats, and even paper.
Today, in this article, we’ll share with you some amazing facts about abaca. Are you ready? Here they are:
It’s a Native Philippine Plant
The abaca plant or Manila hemp plant is grown mainly in the Philippines, that’s why it was named after the country’s capital city – Manila – which is also one of the main producers of abaca fibers. The plant was grown in the Philippines since the 16th century and has been used as a raw material of ancient Filipino clothing and footwear.
More Than Just A Fiber for Bags and Clothes
This natural fiber may be best recognized as a raw material for creating beautiful abaca bags and gowns, but abaca has actually many uses. It can be used to create numerous specialty paper including cigarette paper, tea bags, sausage casings, filter papers, and even money.
Abaca First Gained Commercial Recognition In the 1820s
As mentioned earlier, abaca was already used and planted in the Philippines since the 16th century, even before the Spanish colonial occupation. However, it was only three centuries later when abaca gained commercial recognition as an amazing natural fiber after an American lieutenant from the US Navy brought a sample in the USA. Exports of abaca fiber were then made 5 years later.
Manila Rope, Strongest Marine Cordage Material
Once exports of abaca fibers became constant internationally, the natural fiber gained popularity in no time as one of the best materials for marine cordage. Because of its durability, flexibility, and resistance to salt water damage, abaca fibers were mainly used in making fishing nets, hawsers, and ships’ line.
The World’s Largest Producer of Abaca
85% of the global total abaca requirement is supplied by the Philippines, as reported in 2008. The abaca industry in the Philippines generates more than US$80 million annually and sustains more than 1.5 million Filipino workers.
Christian Louboutin’s Manilacaba Abaca Collection
World-fame fashion designer Christian Louboutin is just one of the many high-end designers who has also joined the hype and created basket bags for their lines. But Louboutin’s Manilacaba collection is actually for a greater cause since this is a collaboration with GREAT (Gender Responsive Economic Action for the Transformation of Women) Women in ASEAN. Louboutin worked with Filipina artisans to create a limited tote bag in two styles – black satin and denim blue. The tote bags are made from a number of indigenous fibers including abaca T’nalak fiber from Mindanao.
We know you love your abaca bags, but it’s also important to know where they are from. What’re the most fascinating facts you’ve known about abaca today?