NARRA works directly with artisans throughout the Philippines to offer a curated collection of heritage clothing, accessories, jewelry, and other handmade objects. We strive to bridge indigenous cultural communities with kapwa and kababayan worldwide, connecting our histories and heritage. By creating sustainable employment opportunities for Filipino artisans such as weavers, embroiderers, and metalsmiths, we hope to keep these traditional arts alive and be an educational resource about indigenous craft.
NARRA Studio was born from a conversation between New York-based artist/weaver Katte Geneta and a Kalinga weaver in the Philippines who asked Katte to promote Kalinga weaving in the United States.
“In offering our habi here, I feel pride in being of service to weaving communities in the Philippines and, at the same time, offering a way for Filipinos abroad to be more connected to our heritage,” Katte writes. “As a Filipino American, I’ve always wanted to be closer to my roots.” Growing up in New York City, she felt like visual language and identity of being Filipino was missing.
It was only until a few years ago when Katte discovered the rich textile traditions of the Philippines that she felt a powerful connection to her roots. Awed by the colors, designs, patterns, and processes behind indigenous textile making, Geneta sought to learn more, becoming a weaver herself, and aimed to bring Philippine habi to America. NARRA is the fruition of this dream and she hopes NARRA will help others feel closer to their ancestry and heritage.
NARRA isn’t solely about offering traditional crafts and indigenous heritage objects—it’s also about empowering indigenous communities within the Philippines.
Woven and embroidered textiles, brass jewelry, bamboo mats, and other crafts are family- and community-based traditions. By providing sustainable livelihood to artisans, families, and communities, we encourage them to continue their traditional practices and pass on their knowledge, skills, and cultural heritage to the next generation.
NARRA also seeks to provide educational resources about Philippine culture and crafts. We hope to share more about indigenous cultures of the Philippines for those who would like to know more about our homeland and our roots.
The garments, accessories, and objects offered at NARRA are made from scratch, by hand, and take more time to finish because of the care and attention given to them. Our partner artisans work from their homes and also from communities devoted to the cultural preservation. “Slow fashion” garments and objects, unlike factory-made items, take into consideration each person’s working conditions and environment. Traditionally-made clothing and objects such as those at NARRA emphasize less waste, ethical work practices, and provide long-term environmental benefits. At NARRA, appreciating the care and spirit with which things are made is essential.