ANTHILL, which stands for Alternative Nest and Trading/Training Hub for Ingenious/Indigenous Little Livelihood Seekers, is not just a fabric gallery but a creative social enterprise and a lifestyle store, as well. The establishment boasts of being the first of its kind in the Philippines.
Annie Tan Lim and her daughter Anya are the owners of Anthill Fabric Gallery. They opened shop last February 6, 2010, with the goal of setting up a business that will cater to the high-end market while also helping communities.
During the store’s opening, Anya Lim welcomed guests with the statement, “When you enter this nest where ingenuity, fashion, culture, advocacy and art are ingeniously interwoven, you will never see a work of art and a piece of cloth the same way again.” A fashion show was held featuring the creations of Cebu’s budding designers, including Edwin Alba, Veronica Valente of Veronica’s Closet, Manuel Tumaque, Brendon Val Cenon, Marlowe Dacules, Rey Villegas, Jonas Navarro, Joseph Navales, Yves Camingue, Alejandro Godinez, Peewee Senining, Lory Villareal, and Lord Maturan. Accessories featured during the said show were provided by Shandar and Diane Espera of SEPA. An auction took place following the fashion show.
According to ANTHILL’s Facebook profile, the store celebrates “a communal spirit among Filipino artisans, bringing into one nest ingenuity, fashion, culture, advocacy and art.” It’s aims include showcasing the beauty of indigenous fabrics, intricately woven by our people in the hill tribes. It also aims to restore and promote Philippine culture and traditions by advertising local crafts and marketing the Filipino weaving industry.
The establishment’s mission consists of three parts, specifically to showcase, supply and support.
The first section consists of seeking “to become a textile attraction housing special and indigenous products, unique apparel and fabric art among the locals and foreign tourists” and “to relive our rich Filipino culture and have a strong appreciation of our ethnicity and heritage especially among the young by showcasing products that could blend in their 21st century lifestyle and environment.”
The section regarding supply indicates ANTHILL’s objectives of (1) supplying fabrics and other accessories that supplement the production of fabric by-products, and (2) reinventing and elevating Cebu’s fabric retail market by providing a venue that is accessible enough to serve the demand for unique fabrics, which are of superior quality.
The support section of ANTHILL’s three-part Mission indicates a motivation to (1) create a culture of appreciation and fabric collection, which will help support the textile industry; (2) provide a business venue for up-and-coming designers, young professionals and start up entrepreneurs where they can avail marketing assistance that will benefit their brand identity; and (3) advocate fair trade practices while providing a sustainable source of income for Filipino indigenous groups and rural communities, namely those with potential skills or saleable products.
The gallery showcases various accessories and fabrics. Among their choice accessories are necklaces made out of terra-cotta clay, statement pieces of semi-precious stones from India and hand painted bangles. Their fabrics include hand-woven indigenous fabrics and a selection of printed fabrics in limited cuts. They have an Indie Workers Trail, which supports the livelihood of women weavers who are members of indigenous tribes who handloom fiber from tropical crops and expertly transform it into vibrant fabrics with intricate patterns. They also have a Fabric Sugar Rush corner, which showcases an array of special fabrics boasting a collection of rare prints, vintage prints and notable classic plains. The Colony is a section of ANTHILL that allows young entrepreneurs to display their artistic products, such as accessories made of rolled papers and clothes designed by student designers, in order to encourage them to start their own businesses.
ANTHILL will also feature products developed by July, who is one of their employees. According to an article feature on Cebu Daily News, the owners said, “July’s insects and Balay ni July are made of indigenous materials. His ants made of the ‘sigay’ shells were a hit when we opened, so we asked him to make more insects that we are now displaying here.”
For more information about ANTHILL Fabric Gallery, you can visit their Web site (http://www.anthillfabricgallery.com), (http://anthillfabricgallery.multiply.com/), check out the store’s Facebook account at (http://www.facebook.com/AnthillFabricGallery) or drop by their display center at Pedro Calomarde St. cor Acacia St. Gorordo Avenue, in Lahug, Cebu City. You may also contact them through these numbers office numbers: (63)(2)505-4175 and (63)(2)725-0368. They have specific e-mail addresses for different inquiries. In particular, here are the e-mail contacts for: