It was bound to happen. We've seen it with Polynesian patterns many times. Is there a difference? Some may argue that since it was spearheaded by a Filipino brand, all is good. It actually isn't. The difference between Asics/Commonwealth and companies like Kampeon/Bayani Art is that the latter are "Filipino" culture based businesses. I don't mean they're run by Filipinos but part of their mission is "Filipino" culture and community. They have receipts of cultural education and community building. That's the difference.
So let's break this down...
"Commonwealth and ASICS Tiger look to preserve Filipino culture through our latest collaboration on the GEL- Lyte V. Although, having stores in Washington, DC, and Virginia Beach, Commonwealth has looked to its store in Manila, Philippines and the Kalinga to create a sneaker that pays homage to one of the country’s preserved traditions."
How exactly is this going to preserve the culture? Preserving culture entails documenting, educating, creating an economic lifecycle for culture bearers to continue their work while creating a foundation for new practitioners. If you're not doing it, you're supporting those that do. Who are they supporting? Financial? Resource?
"Pays homage to one of the country’s preserved traditions" The reality is that the tradition isn't preserved. Food offering and prayers are no longer the norm before tattooing. Kalinga/Cordilleran patterns are tattooed on those outside the ethnic cultural boundaries and without context. For example, Visayan's have their own traditional patterns. In the image below, you'll see Baybayin (preFilipino writing system) that's now being tattooed. The Kalinga didn't write Baybayin. I've seen numerous incorrect translations. Many meanings of patterns have faded away and only appear in detail in academic books by Analyn Salvador-Amores and Lane Wilcken. Even those books are only covering a small percentage of the tradition.
"Inspired by that sacred tradition, dubbed the “Kultura” GEL-Lyte V, ASICS Tiger and Commonwealth pay respect in sneaker form"
Yes, it's sacred but it hasn't been in the past few years with the influx of lowlanders and foreigners with money. Rather than being earned, tattoo's are being chosen by the one getting tattooed from a board much like a western tattoo shop. There's patterns on the board that are not from the Philippines that were lifted from a book to show cultural comparisons with our neighbors. You got money, you get a tattoo. It's a complex chicken & egg ecosystem. Whang Od has been quoted that she tattoos because she's poor. The village has benefited from her celebrity status.
The patterns aren't inspired. They're a straight lift. Respect by putting your stinky feet on sacred patterns.....OK
Looking at the social media posts, there's no details to Kalinga, Whang Od or anything educational about the patterns and the context.
This reminds me Columbia sportswear exploitation