Weaving a dynamic community
With ANTHILL Fabric Gallery
Weavers at work at ANTHILL's partner weaving center in Argao, Cebu. ANTHILL regularly holds workshops for weavers in the hopes that they will one day create their own designs. Here, designer Jess discusses color theory with weavers.
Truly impactful endeavors make their name by pushing for ambition. In the case of ANTHILL Fabric Gallery, the enterprise known for its diverse and excellent weave products, this ambition takes the form of their love towards working with communities. Everything is about inclusivity, about continuing to steer various people together. It is no surprise that ANTHILL community is expansive: weavers, wearers, artisans, designers, partners, supporters, and institutions.
A community ensures that there are mutual benefits and gains between its members, especially when they work in harmony. What we learned, as one of the members of ANTHILL's community, was the critical role of interconnectedness within their entire operations.
Fostering closer communities
Anthill bravely goes beyond the comforts of the usual business model for fashion brands. They are a holistic social and cultural enterprise—one that takes to heart their commitment to their partners, stakeholders, and contexts, in all the phases of their operations.
More than achieving any numerical success indicator, it gets a message across. ANTHILL and its community is all about this confidence in the multiple roles each one has to play: the training for the local artisans, the preservation of weaving and handcrafting cultures, the effort to create communities of weave-wearers, the improved market access and empowerment for the weavers, the partnerships between institutions and local economies, and the upcycling of fabric in the name of sustainability.
The role that the ANTHILL community asked us to play was that of a story-teller... One that could amplify everyone's voices, one that could help convince others to take part.
Listening to everyone's story
Seeing everything fit together the way it does, as if the complexity of a weave, convinced us that we had to tell this story without any omissions or exemptions. We understood that the website we had to create was not just some supplement or some last-minute add-on. The role that the ANTHILL community asked us to play was that of a story-teller, a communicator, a kind of ambassador. One that could amplify everyone's voices, one that could help convince others to take part.
Creating relationships with one another
The structure of the website, similarly, follows the logic that these relationships naturally bring about. Primarily, the products are the main visual elements that draw users to the site. The story of these products then follow for increased depth: Who are the weavers? Where are they from? How was the product made? Finally, this depth can then lead to a response: we encourage the users to perform an action by presenting the corresponding societal, environmental, and cultural impact.
To further strengthen the visual impact of their products, we paired them with icons that would help carry the significance of their vision. The icons, specifically, borrowed the “flow” of the weave, emphasizing the range of connections within the community.
ANTHILL bravely goes beyond the comforts of the usual business model of fashion brands... one that takes to heart their commitment to their partners, stakeholders, and contexts, in all the phases of the their operations.
Thriving through ambition
Communities thrive when its members put their trust in each other's work. It was the same faith we felt in a conversation with one of the artisans in their partner weaving groups in Argao, Cebu, and how they felt pride in the work they were doing. We wanted to repay that trust by ensuring their part in the story. After all, this is the work not just of an individual, but an entire community weaved together by ambition.