Fashion for peace, anyone?

And they brought it on. Woven malong dresses, veils, glittery gowns worn by women executives were the highlight of the International Cultural Night of Asian Institute of Management (AIM ) held last Thursday at the AIM Zen Grounds.

Tingting Cojuangco

"I support any initiative to promote Moro fabric,"  said fashion icon former Governor Tingting Cojuangco, now president of the Philippine Public Safety College,  who modelled a Sulu-inspired straight white pearled gown with a violet sash hanging over the dress.

Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines director Samira Gutoc of the Young Moro Professionals Network, the show's producer, said the event was a prelude to a bigger fundraiser to support women weavers based in the Lanao provinces and showcase modernized Moro-inspired wear that can be worn and sold in the mainstream. "We want our Muslim women weavers to be able to find market for their products."

The inaul or woven cloth among Muslims of Lanao and Maguindanao is popularly worn  for public events. It takes several months to produce a woven dress or malong from a loom.

But because of the lack of transfer of knowledge from the elder women weavers to the younger set and the lack of investment, few women  are now producing the inaul , now considered by many in the local tourism industry in Marawi City as a dying industry.

Bai Sandra Sema

The models representing the different cultural groups and  promoting the revitalization of the Moro fashion products were  Bai Sandra Sema of the Cotabato City Government and chairperson of the Sharief Kabunsuan Festival who wore a modernized Moro and Filipiniana  pina wear accesorized by colorful sashes,

Samira A. Gutoc

Tawi Tawi Vice Governor Ruby Ann Sahali with a blazing sequined red attire , Director Haidee
Ampatuan, Office on Muslim Affairs with a golden sequined malong dress, Samira Gutoc, donning a white and golden-beaded wedding gown and former Presidential Adviser Nurhata Alonto with a violet long blouse and pants.

Mindanao supporters  — former AIM Alumni President Berna Lomotan and Tingting Cojuangco — lent their support by modelling their own Moro-inspired pants attire and gown respectively.

"We can bring in Hollywood-based designers to create designs for American actresses using indigenous fabric," said Los-Angeles based businesswoman Berna Lomotan.  

Moro Fashionistas’ Director was Jeremy Bayucot, past organizer of MS Cagayan de Oro and Head makeup artist was Ana Santos, a columnist. 

The event was supported by the Department of Tourism-ARMM, Office on Muslim Affairs, Marawi City Government's Tourism Council, Dayawan Women Weavers Association and the Asian Institute of Management. (YMP through MindaNews)