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Ilokano town Suyo comes of age with fashion designer Eros Goze reviving the art of loom weaving

SUYO, ILOCOS SUR – This picturesque upland town with gorgeous forges cascading down its mountainside and rivers converging in its idyllic rice paddies is now producing some of the finest styled handwoven fabric and textiles in Northern Luzon.

Premier couture and fashion designer Eros Goze weaved his magic in training 12 tailors and eight weavers to jumpstart the dormant and almost lost art of loom weaving in Suyo, Ilocos Sur.

Culminating in a gala night for the graduates and a fashion showcase of Goze’s collection from the indigenous patterns and colors of Suyo, Ilocos Sur, and the influences of the mostly kakana-ey descendants of this midway stop to the Cordilleras. Transforming the earthy color and tones to chic, sophisticated, and urban wear.

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The night exploded in colors and hues that best reflect the hardy Ilocano qualities and the highlander genealogy’s fortitude on the runway of Isla Dawara Resort with young local talents of Suyo serving as fashion models of the collection, and live music from Suyo Rondalla. The officials of Suyo Multipurpose Cooperative (SMPC) also strutted down the catwalk with their own designer office apparel courtesy of their Namunganayan weaving and tailoring scholars.

The Hand Weaving and Tailoring Cotton Project joint venture between SMPC and Green Mountain Energy Solution (GMES) proudly presented Eros Goze’s work and their weaving and tailoring graduates last October.

Eros Goze, a Baguio-born and former Dubai-based designer and photographer, created a 35-piece collection for an hour of fashion show. He “Creates artistic fashion and lifestyle images with unique style. These are often identified with highly dramatic and artistic expression. The images tell stories and ideas of people who are full of beauty and life.

Goze, strives to understand the competition whenever he approaches a new project or client. Most of the time “you’re taking a job from somebody else, so you must have a way to approach the client without offending them about the work they’ve done so far.” He looks for areas to complement and build on, demonstrating his professionalism and desire to be a team player.

In some cases, he may decide to continue in the client’s current direction but present a path for taking the client’s work “to a new level” or for producing results more quickly, efficiently, and under budget.

Interpreting the client’s needs remains Goze’s toughest challenge as a fashion photographer.

In this industry, “You have to stand out somehow. Impress the client with technical merit, stylistic merit, or shock them. Break a rule or taboo. Make them remember you.” He’s built his portfolio based on these rules, and his list of clients includes Leo Burnett, Illustrado Magazine, Splash to name a few.

For Eros, his best days as a fashion photographer are sometimes the ones that start out the worst. “If I’m burned out or don’t have an idea or am not on-point that day, and I still have the ability to make it happen on the set,” that’s when “the camera moves for you.” That’s when you know you’ve made it”.

SMPC CEO Romulus Arcano said they are now starting to reintroduce cotton growing in Suyo, Ilocos Sur, and part of their livelihood program is reviving the old back-strapped weaving into loom knitting. Assisting them in establishing an economic enterprise is GMES Vice-President Evangelin Arsinuk that have been working to get a portion of the municipality as an economic zone.

This November 27, the collection will travel to Baguio City to be part of the City’s UN Creative City Festival “Ibag-iw.”

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