ANTHILL Fabric Gallery

ANTHILL Fabric Gallery : Weaving Possibilites Where Culture Meets Style

Cebu, PhilippinesAbra, Cebu, Bukdinon, Benguet, Mindoro, South Cotobato, Philippines
Year Founded:
2010
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

ANTHILL (Alternative Nest and Trading/ Training Hub for Indigenous/ Ingenious Little Livelihood seekers) works to preserve and promote Philippine weaving traditions among the younger generation through contemporary application to provide sustainable livelihood among community weaving enterprises.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we preserve our Philippine weaving traditions and start a movement of young weave wearers to encourage younger weavers?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

80% of the Philippines' marginalised sector lives in the rural areas with high incidence of poverty and unemployment especially among indigenous people. Weaving, which once was a thriving industry is now a dying tradition among the indigenous people. It has become an undervalued skill that leads to poor market access and cultural transmission. The low production capacity and inferior demand further increases unemployment and urban migration.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

ANTHILL works on the mergence of contemporary design and traditional technology such as handloom weaving to preserve indigenous traditions and secure sustainable livelihood. We build the capacity of partner weaving communities by implementing our Community Enterprise Development Program that teaches Cultural Appreciation, Product Design and Innovation, Business Management, Master and Apprentice Handloom Training and a Financial Literacy and Savings Program. ANTHILL also leverages on working with Design Collaborators to constantly innovate and increase the value of our weaves by experimenting on fabric application in both apparel and non-apparel products.

Awards

2014 Go Negosyo Young Creative Entrepreneur Award, 2015 Impact Exchange Asia Impact Accelerator Winner
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Flor, 53, has learned to weave since she was 13 from her mother. She has 5 children and 2 grand children. Her eldest Tina, 21 years old with 2 children, had a family at a young age and struggles to make ends meet. The Master-Apprentice Program of ANTHILL incentivised Flor to pass on the craft and teach Tina to weave. Now, Tina is one of our young weavers who is able to use one of ANTHILL's practice looms. She's able to contribute household income at the same time work at the comforts of her own home while taking care of her family. She wants to use her forced savings to invest in a small washing machine so she'll have more time to weave. She can now say no to illegal domestic help recruiters because of the opportunities weaving provides.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

To date, are working among 300 weavers and craft artisans in 3 direct partner communities and 10 eco system partners across the Philippines representing various sectors-urban, rural and indigenous. 50% of our weavers are now in the younger generation from ages 20-40 years old. We are growing a movement of proud weave wearers among our clients. We re-invested 6 new weaving looms and we have established one weaving centre. ANTHILL has procured Php 1,771,471.84 worth of hand loomed fabrics providing Php 147, 825.86 worth of total saving for our partner communities. Because of our commitment to recycling, we have upcycled 23,733 cones of scrap thread. In 5 to 10 years, we want to be able to expand and work with 10 more weaving communities, increase skills training and be able to support farming of more natural fiber such as cotton and manila hemp.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

ANTHILL aims to work on (1) Establishing an in-house sewing community and increase production capacity (2)Increasing the capacity of the ANTHILL Team by adding manpower with relevant competencies (3) Fully implementing the ANTHILL School of Social and Cultural Entrepreneurship among partner communities to build production capacity and business efficiencies (4) Developing more product prototypes for retail and corporate offerings 5. Expand sourcing from communities south of the Philippines and (6) Expanding the business and operations in Manila, Philippines
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We'll focus on revenue generation by increasing our product portfolio and improving in-store shopping experience and establishing an e-commerce website. We want to increase distribution channels and expand the business in Manila where majority of the sales are coming from. We want to push for social procurement and acquire corporate accounts through customised proposals. We aim to seek for more impact investors as well.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are a number of local players in fashion utilising weaves in contemporary design such as Filip + Inna, Twinkle Ferraren, Habi, etc. However, most of these brands cater to the high end or export market. ANTHILL sets itself apart because of its unique social and cultural enterprise business model ensuring a sustainable supply chain and long term relationships with partner weaving community enterprises. We ensure that price points are accessible. We highly specialise in custom products and made to measure apparel.
Team

Founding Story

As a kid, my parents took me to visit a particular village where the tribal elder proudly showed us their different hand woven fabrics and and their meaningful use. I felt alive and drawn to their weaving traditions. I went back to the same village after university and sadly, the village became a ghost town. We heard that everyone became tour guides and migrated to the urban areas where they are likely to get discriminated and become more vulnerable. It deeply disturbed me that the undervalued weaving industry puts financial burden to women who make up the industry. I felt the need to redefine weaving and make it relevant to younger generations by making it cool and hip to wear everyday.

Team

(1) Anya Lim, Co Founder/Managing and Creative Director has a decade of experience in community development work having volunteered and worked with non profits like UNICEF and World Vision. She has a Masters in Communications for Social Change at the University of Queensland. Her leadership skills and competencies gained from her experience are tremendously applied in ANTHILL’s strategic direction. (2) Cham Lopez, our Supply Chain Officer and Non Apparel Designer, is a graduate of in Industrial Design at the University of the Philippines, Cebu. She interned at Kenneth Cobunpue Design Studio, a world-renowned furniture designer. Cham facilitates non apparel design and production as well as manages supply chain from production of raw materials from partner communities until the transformation of fabric by- products. (3) Stephen Ferolino, our Apparel Designer is a talented fashion illustrator with dressmaking and technical training at TESDA and the Cebu Technological University. He is currently studying advanced draping in the area of Garment Construction at the Fashion Institute of Design and Arts in Cebu. He breathes life to hand loomed and indigenous fabrics and translates them into beautiful contemporary wearable pieces. (4) Hannah Zamora, our Sales and Marketing Officer, graduated with a degree in Fine Arts and Advertising. She is a former creative head of one of the top advertising agencies in Cebu-Campaigns & Grey. Hannah executes the brand’s strategic direction and facilitates on-line and in-store sales and marketing. (5) Cherryl Munion, our Finance and Administrative Officer, has 15 years work experience in finance and business administration work. She facilitates daily transactions and manages our accounts receivables and accounts payables. Our bloodline is our humble production team with 1 tailor, 3 seamstress and one support staff who facilitates both apparel and non-apparel production. We work with about 10 subcontractor communities for both apparel and non-apparel production. Currently, we have part time design associates but we intend to further grow the capacity of ANTHILL by hiring more seamstresses and a Community Livelihood Seeker/ Operations Manager who can look into community and business expansion in other parts of the Philippines.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Raw Materials, Manufacturing.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Advocate/Organizer, Designer, Retail Representative - Specialty Store, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - subcontractor.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Corporations, Designers, Supplier - subcontractor, Women.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Finance, Conscious Consumerism, Gender Equality, Recycling or Circular Economy.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Advocacy, Capacity Building, Training, Other, [please specify].

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?

yes

If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?
● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?
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