This is Princess Jehanne Masorong Mangondato Dimaporo, the first professional hijab stylist from the Philippines.
And this is the Sukip, an ancient decorative textile or tapestry woven by the Meranao people.
“Sukip is the main material for my designs. SUKIP means “to insert pattern” or “insert design, “ a product of Maranao local weavers. The maranao weavers used BONIL THREAD for the sukip. For some people sukip is commonly known as LANGKIT. The SUKIP is commonly attached or used to design gowns or suit for maranao males. Sometimes they used this as an ID lace or earrings. “
Last year she made the debut of her skip-inspired collection at the first Philippine virtual modest fashion show in 2021. And in June 2022, she made another appearance on Chicago Modest Fashion Weekend held in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Jehanne showcased her designs to introduce them to the international audience since not many people know about them, not even her own countrymen. On the other hand, she also wants to empower a handful of local artisans who are still making this craft.
The rise of garment imports that supply the fashion market in the Philippines has put this ancient art at risk of extinction. Sadly, the younger generation is not even aware of their own majestic heritage which can be traced back to the ancient royal communities. In fact, when Jehanne went to the local weavers to buy sukip from a local artisan in Marawi, the latter was teary-eyed because the young generations barely look for it.
Apart from disinterest in the fashion of the older generation, another peril is the fabric itself. Sukip is a hardy and thick woven fabric which makes it hard to manipulate to fit in today’s silhouettes. As styles and trends evolve, many local dressmakers find little to no way to utilize the fabric. However, Princess Jehanne, with her magical hands and creative ingenuity, took command of the fabric and transformed it into a wearable contemporary piece of clothing.
The virtual show organized by MFDP for Modest Fashion Manila was Jehanne’s first fashion show appearance. Because she didn’t have any formal fashion training, she admitted that it took a while to decide where to begin with her collection. Gladly, with the help and encouragement of her parents and kin, she came up with utilizing this ancient fabric.
Jehanne uses elements that interlace with her people’s history and culture. Every piece in her collection portrays symbolism found in every Maranao household, such as these photos replicating a crown. In the past, Maranao chiefs and royal families wear these types of crowns as a symbol of nobility.
Then there is the brooch which is almost a Maranao fashion staple. Jehanne employed the fabric geometrically folded and manipulated to form a beautiful array of colors and patterns. These pieces display a glamorous way to wear your identity anywhere, anytime! These handmade haute couture brooches are versatile and can elevate any boring outfit.
The collection is a mesmerizing mix of traditional hand-woven fabric and contemporary materials, in an array of colorful hijab showcases. Its unique flavor added a majestic feel to Princess Jehanne’s Sukip Collection; owing to the princes and princesses, the datu, and the sultans of their beautiful land.
Whether it is a headband, fascinator, crown, or brooch, the sukip proves itself that it is woven into the fabric of the Maranao people’s narratives. The legacy will thrive as long as artists like Jehanne Mangodato-Dimaporo continue to bring into the limelight her people’s identity that evokes a sense of pride and majesty.