Ma.is dedicated to celebrating the story of the collective Filipina. Our aim is to explore the ways we can move forward by looking back. With each collection we strive to uncover stories of our history that are often oversimplified by reimagining the trends of our titas, lolas, and the many ‘Marias’ before us.
What does Ma. mean?
Ma. is the abbreviated form of the name “Maria.” The name is placed at the beginning of filipina names so often that it has achieved a strange prefix status. It gets shortened because nobody actually goes by Maria. As a result, “Ma.” is either viewed as an unnecessary and annoying appendage or completely ignored (to the point where you probably didn’t know your lola had a “Ma.” in her name.) However, regardless of how much it is noticed or unnoticed in our daily lives, it is everywhere. A part of our own names, our moms names, our titas names, our lolas names. It is a piece that many filipinas share. And so it was the perfect name for us as we explore some of the ~overlooked~ aspects of the Filipina identity.
A life in Piña
Each of Ma.’s pieces are brought to life with locally sourced piña. The uniquely Filipino textile was born during the 17th century after applying native weaving practices to the leaves of red spanish pineapple bushes.
We chose pina as our primary fabric of choice to revive a part of a Manilenyo tradition that has faded. Piña was worn as everyday attire in Manila until the early 1900s. It had a flourishing life in the city before foreign textiles were developed. But over time, the fabric lost its status as everyday-wear because of the growing availability of cheaper and more comfortable alternatives. We want to prove that Pina doesn’t have to be itchy, expensive and only worn on fancy occasions. We want to bring back a “life in Pina.”
Swordlike leaves are harvested from a pineapple bush
The leaves are then carefully stripped of their outer coating by scraping a broken plate or coconut shell on the leaf
The exposed fibers are then gently separated from the leaf, knotted and spun into spools.
These spools are then fitted onto a wooden loom where they are carefully woven into a textile.