Responsible Shopping: Is There Such A Thing? ArteFino Says Yes - Lifestyle Asia

This year’s festival is a five-week celebration of culture, craft, community, and conscious lifestyles.

Since its first artisanal trade fair in 2017, founders Susie Quiros, Marimel Francisco, Mita Rufino, Maritess Pineda, and Cedie Lopez-Vargas, have always believed in creating an inclusive platform for local brands to tell their inspiring stories.  

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For Fransisco, responsible shopping is “making purchases that positively impact, however big or small, in uplifting lives of those that created the products.”

When asked what challenges they face she says, “Fast fashion! These are produced quickly and at low costs. That’s the opposite of artisanal items wherein each piece is unique and takes time to create.” She adds, “What I do is mix and match my outfits…but I can assure you one piece is always artisanal-whether it be my shoes, bag, earrings, top, or skirt.”

Lopez-Vargas speaks about how the pandemic has caused us to reevaluate our lives and our values and has this to say about the Filipino contemporary lifestyle: “What do we value the most? Paring down your life to the basics, what’s essential, what’s relevant, and what makes the most sense for you to buy, finding advocacies and items that are meaningful, purposeful, and sustainable that contribute to mitigating climate change and lessening your carbon foot print. These are the undercurrents of how we choose the brands we are advocating in ArteFino.”

Five weeks, 150 brands, 44 new designers

For this year’s ArteFino Festival, more than 150 brands will be showcased in a span of five weeks. Each week will introduce a new roster of labels across the categories of fashion, accessories, fine jewelry, home, and children’s wear. A special section called Barracks will also be set up as a curated space for men to lounge, shop, and sip on local artisanal brews. Fransisco shares, “We wanted to cater to an underserved mens market.” Lopez-Vargas adds, “Barracks has been around since 2018 and was created to invite men to be part of this movement. This year, the theme for Barracks will be easy living.”

The Festival will also introduce 44 new designers and brands, each one hand picked by the ladies behind ArteFino. Brand narratives, purpose, and links to community, are considerations that factor into the selection of vendors. Lopez-Vargas elaborates, “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.” Fransisco continues, “Almost 40% of our vendors this year are new. 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.” 

Renew, repurpose, recycle

Interactive programs were intended to amplify the movement’s call to “renew, repurpose, and recycle.” 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 festival will also set the stage for pocket events and workshops. These open more doors and avenues for both creators and consumers to connect. Five senses are awakened through other festival highlights that round up the experience. Eats by Artefino, a collaborative effort with The Seven Pantry, will whet appetites with the best local flavors. A dedicated soundtrack curated by Tarsier Records will bring a piece of the ArteFino festival to everyone’s personal playlist.

In addition, Fransisco shares that the most rewarding aspect of this endeavor has been advocating for “mindfully made, thoughtfully chosen” as a shopping habit. What’s rewarding is that more and more, over time, a broader market has come to appreciate the intrinsic benefits of responsible shopping: patronizing brands which inject environmentally conscious methods into their designs and production.”

When asked about the big dream behind ARTEFINO, she shares, “The big dream is for artisanal crafts to be an inherent part in a Filipino’s life and style. That our local products can compete on a global scale and be recognized for its craftsmanship. That all Filipinos patronize local brands in all aspects of their lives.”

Banner photo courtesy of ArteFino.

Follow ArteFino Festival on Instagram @artefinoph for updates and inquiries.

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