Wed. Sep 28th, 2022

More than a shopping event, ArteFino artisanal fairs have always been about building an inclusive community of conscious makers, entrepreneurs, and consumers. Responsible retailing, ready for the global market, are tenets that have helped define the ArteFino movement. It was in 2017 when five visionary ladies–Susie Quiros, Marimel Francisco, Mita Rufino, Maritess Pineda, and Cedie Lopez-Vargas–decided to create a platform where local brands and designers could share their stories.

As with all other industries impacted by the pandemic, ArteFino’s yearly trade fair has had to find ways to pivot with the times. In 2020, instead of mounting an in-person event, they built an online platform that brought the Philippine artisanal experience to the digital realm. It was testament that when creativity and community come together, roadblocks are turned into opportunities.

It took two long years before ArteFino’s founders and its dedicated team could finally announce that: “We are once again bringing something new to the community. This being the year that we step out again, we hope to create an experience where everyone can immerse with the community–to shop, learn, and connect.”

More Than 150 Philippine Brands In Five Weeks

Like any grand reunion, this year’s return to the festival grounds promises to be bigger and more exciting. More than 150 homegrown brands across categories of fashion, food, jewelry, home, children’s and menswear will participate in this year’s fair. Instead of the usual four-day run, ArteFino Festival 2022 will run for five weeks at the Powerplant Mall. Brands on showcase will be rotated weekly, giving fair-goers more reason to come back. This expanded iteration reflects the movement’s mindset for community, bond building, and inclusivity. Marimel Francisco explains, “We have always been inclusive. Through our diverse range of brands and products, everyone is represented.”

Among thought leaders in the spheres of design and style, participation of new brands and designers are major draws for going to the ArteFino Festival. Since mounting the first artisanal fair six years ago, the movement’s founders have endeavored to support and empower its partner brands. Cedie Vargas shares, “We’ve worked closely with many emerging brands and designers, all of whom have grown with us. We’ve followed their journeys and evolved with them. We want our vendors to succeed and we want them to be prepared for a global market. This is why apart from the product, we also look into their purpose, vision.”

Almost 40% of the brands showcased in this year’s festival are new, reports Marimel. “It speaks of the emergence of social enterprises and a deeper understanding of what sustainable living is all about. This year’s roster will show the many layers of responsible retailing that include going hyperlocal and employing fair trade practices.”

Philippine Artistry And Craft Through the Five Senses

That ArteFino is more than a shopping event adds distinction to the movement’s yearly artisanal fair. This year, for example, organizers have partnered with like-minded brands and creators to bring forth a complete sensorial experience of Philippine craft, culture, and community. The team explains, “We wanted to capture the youthful energy that comes to life when you connect again.” Apart from the well-curated range of brands, designers and products, ArteFino Festival will also set the stage for various creative engagements and exchanges.

The Maker’s Challenge, for instance, focuses on the innovative ways by which creators can upcycle everyday materials otherwise discarded. “It is an open call for anyone who wishes to create–vendors and non-vendors alike,” clarified the organizers. The ArteFino Festival will also set the stage for pocket events and workshops that open avenues for both creators and consumers to connect.

Eats by ArteFino is a flavorful feature of the festival. It was created in collaboration with The Seven Pantry, which will delight gastronomes with distinctly Filipino culinary finds, sourced from “little-known” home kitchens. Tarsier Records has also curated a playlist for the festival, making a piece of the experience accessible through one’s personal playlist. As of this writing, live music was a possibility that would certainly complete the festival experience.

In a week from now, gates to the ArteFino Festival will finally open. Among close circles who’ve been to the private preview, first dibs to the best of Philippine design and craft are motivation for blocking off the calendar on opening day. Shopping with purpose was also cited as a key reason for immersing in all the colors, textures, flavors and sounds of the festival. But for the movement’s organizers–Susie Quiros, Marimel Francisco, Mita Rufino, Maritess Pineda, and Cedie Lopez-Vargas–raison d’etre is defined by the gathering of community.

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