The Terno Harness in the traditional embroidered jusi barong look, is our offering for the “throw on Filipiniana” variety – of course with our signature VINTA chic and ultra modern vibe.
We are most excited about the savage new embroidery design by Alaga at Sining Walang Hiya at Walang Utang Na Loob.
In this design, we explore the essence of being a woman-presenting Filipinx by examining the colonial trauma of the Terno.
To do this, we have to start with our basic Philippine core values that have been taught to us by elders, and written about all over the internets these days. Alaga and I came to the two most talked about, hiya and utang na loob; shyness or shame and what translates to debt of gratitude. We wanted to examine how these values are central to the oppression of womxn in Philippine society, in particular.
On the one hand, subscribing to Philippine core cultural values of hiya and utang na loob are virtuous and are essential to our concept of respect, on the other hand, there is a dark underbelly in how it is used to undermine and oppress our feminine identities.
The concept of hiya is something that is very much part of our culture, even in the diaspora. Exemplified in the fictional character Maria Clara (from Jose Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere), the shy, demure object of Crisostomo Ibarra’s desires. Further perpetuated in the Spanish colonial folk dance suite called Cariñosa performed by Filipino folk dance troupes all over the diaspora and back home.
Along with being generally translated to mean “shyness” or “shame,” hiya is also related to “pride” and is connected to self-esteem or self-image. In embroidering the words Walang Hiya on the sleeve of the Terno Harness is a rebellion against the idealized, shy, demure, and pure Maria Clara image; a decidedly fashionable middle finger to Filipino patriarchy. It is also creating space for drawing up our self-image and self-esteem in a way that highlights our agency as womxn, Filipinx womxn.
The concept of utang na loob runs deep in the heart of the Filipino/a/x, whether in the homeland or in the diaspora. Distilled down to its core, it can be read as synonymous to gratitude but in the form of a debt of one’s inner self. For so many of us, we were raised with this as a guiding light in how to see our elders, families. The idea of gratitude and love being quantified like currency (i.e. debt etc) can be looked at as a very patriarchal view in how quickly this “debt” is thrown around and turns toxic in inter family relations.
In saying Walang Utang Na Loob, we invoke the act of disregarding a debt of gratitude to the attitudes and traditional values that oppress us, keep us down as feminine-presenting Filipnx.
In this design, we also put reverence on the Ylang-ylang flower as a natural metaphor for Philippine womxnhood. A strong native tree with sweet fragrant bisexual flowers that can be found in the Philippines.
We have very limited stock, so do not hesitate!