Catriona Gray dons intellectual property-protected T’nalak cloth on world stage
Photo from Catriona Gray's Facebook Page
All eyes are now on the #MissUniverse Philippines’ bet Catriona Gray, and the slow-mo twirling beauty is making the most of it featuring Philippine culture in her attire, particularly using an intellectual property-protected cloth by a group of T’boli women weavers.
Miss Universe pageants are as much about the candidates as they are about the stunning outfits, and Catriona Gray is certainly sending a strong message of Filipino pride in her choice of garb.
The T’nalak dress worn by Ms. Gray in her Entertainment Thailand interview and in the post-preliminary round media interviews, is noteworthy because the cloth is being used following the guidelines of T’nalak Tau Sebu (TTS), a group of women weavers whose products bear a registered collective mark.
Ms. Gray and her designer Jearson Demavivas, early in the year visited Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, and consulted the T’boli women of T’nalak Tau Sebu on using the T’nalak cloth as a major design element of these attires.
“Catriona Gray and her team visited us last July, and we informed them of the guidelines in the Code of Practice to maintain the authentic and excellent quality of T’nalak fabrics,” said a representative of the TTS.
A collective mark is a type of a mark that is used by members of a group, to indicate membership in the group or to identify and distinguish the products / services of members from those of the non-members. The members of the association use the collective mark to indicate a level of quality, authenticity, and origin that they provide.
The purpose of a collective mark is to guarantee quality and the traceability. Consumers buying T’nalak products that have the TTS seal, know these are truly hand-made by the T’nalak Tau Sebu federation, following certain practices and traditions, and not by any other group from other regions, or from other associations.
A registered collective mark becomes a business tool, increasing the products’ reputation, value, and market price, and gives income to the indigenous group who made them.
More than a tool to generate revenues, the collective mark can also be essential to preserve a group’s cultural identity.
The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, in July 2017, awarded the Collective Mark Certificate of Registration to T’Nalak Tau Sebu (TTS) group.
The term ’T’nalak’ itself refers generally to the abaca cloth woven by the T’boli women. These are woven in inimitable designs that have been passed on to them by their ancestors through their dreams, thus their title as ‘Dreamweavers’.