‘Goodbyes are never easy’: Paloma Zobel’s Piopio, Which Championed Traditional Textiles and Slow Fashion, Closes - Lifestyle Asia

“We have decided to pause our journey for now,” with online operations running only until September 30.

After years of putting indigenous fabrics at the forefront of the local fashion industry, homegrown clothing brand Piopio is officially closing.

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The brand made the announcement on an Instagram post.

“COVID-19 has been hard for so many—and Piopio is sadly no exception,” the post reads. “With this, we have decided to pause our journey for now.”

The Paloma Zobel-helmed brand thanked those who have supported Piopio and what it stood for.

“We would like to begin with a big thank you for your amazing support and encouragement over the last years,” the post reads.

“What was born out of a personal passion and excitement for Filipino art, culture, and artisanal tradition snowballed into a community beyond our wildest imagination—one of like-minded, fun, and colorful individuals brought together by a shared purpose of supporting our local artisans and keeping our history alive,” it continues.

Piopio championed what was local, particularly traditional Filipino textiles, in their clothing and accessories, as well as working with highly skilled weavers from communities around the Philippines that honor cultural heritage and artisanal methods.

It also opted for slow fashion—with pieces taking two to six months to finish—to produce clothing that considers all aspects of the supply chain, such as the people and environment. It also means ensuring that each piece is of impeccable quality.

Saying goodbye

“Goodbyes are never easy,” the post adds.

Given the current situation, however, the brand said it’s been challenging to continue producing striking jackets, kimonos, shorts, to name a few, in tribal patterns and vibrant geometric shapes.

“We began Piopio as a way to connect our treasured local weavers with a consumer base that would appreciate and enjoy their craft as much as we did,” the team adds. “With the current health situation today, we are finding it difficult to produce and move our items without jeopardizing the true value of the product and protecting our weavers and retail team alike.”

But Piopio is not the only local business to shut down in the past year. Also bearing the brunt of the pandemic and the lockdowns that followed are

In fact, an Asian Development Bank paper showed that around 70.6 percent of micro, small, and medium enterprises were forced to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak back in 2020. 

This 2021, though that figure is significantly lower at only 10 percent, businesses that are unable to recover due to rising number of cases and constantly changing quarantine classifications are left with no choice but to shut down.

Continued support

Just until September 30, buyers can shop from the brand and place custom orders for any remaining stock through their website and Instagram shop, Piopio Virtual Tindahan.

Even though the brand is closing, Piopio hopes that the public’s support for local weavers will continue.

“While this chapter may be over, we encourage you to continue buying directly from weaving communities,” the brand adds.

Meanwhile, Kalye Artisano, an artisanal hub in El Nido, Palawan that houses Piopio, remains open to “continue to celebrate and support the local artisanal scene.”

“We hope we can lift each other through this—thank you for all the love and good energy which we will take with us as we work to heal together as a nation,” the brand says. “Mostly, thank you for accompanying us on this great adventure. We are so proud and grateful to have been part of an effort to put local textiles back on the map.”

Banner Photo from @piopio_ph on IG

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