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The HeArteFino Foundation: The Heart, Soul, and Essence of Every ArteFino Trade Fair

Every ArteFino trade fair is distinguished by the concept of “shopping with a purpose,” and this ethos is by and large rooted on the HeArteFino Foundation


From the time the artisanal community was first established in 2017, founders Marimel Francisco, Mita Rufino, Maritess Pineda, Susie Quiros, and Cedie Vargas agreed that community, purpose and circularity would be the heart, soul, essence, and raison d’etre behind every ArteFino trade fair.


Community and Purpose

Cedie shares, “The HeArteFino Foundation is the reason why we do what we do. It’s what anchors us.” The foundation, which was informally launched as a development program in 2017, was envisioned as a platform for forging sustainable, long-term partnerships with local artisan communities. “Through the proceeds raised at every ArteFino trade fair, we are able to fund the foundation which in turn invests in chosen communities around the country.”


The HeArteFino Foundation does more than just invest funds. Its founders and brand partners also commit their time, energy, and efforts to creating real and resonant social impact. “It’s not just a one-time thing,” explains Cedie. “When we partner with communities or makers, our aim is to empower them to run sustainable businesses. Our collaborations run for several years so that we establish long term relationships and create real impact.”


Stories and Traditions Behind Your Favorite ArteFino Finds

When the trade fair and development program (now incorporated as a foundation) was launched, the team engaged with Zarah Juan as its first grantee. They supported the brand’s initiative in working with beaders of the Bagobo Tagbanwa Community in Mindanao. The program did not only help raise awareness about time-honored beading traditions in the south, it also paved the way for the region’s artisans to find their special corners in the contemporary lifestyle category. “Today, Zarah Juan is on its third run of beaded shirts, jackets and vests,” discloses Cedie.


The dedicated team of the HeArteFino Foundation has also immersed itself in the weaving communities of Kabankalan in Negros Occidental. Creative Definitions’ Michael Claparols, who is also the founder of ArteFino mainstays Lakat and Aire, was their second grantee. Through collaboration and close coordination, funds raised from previous ArteFino fairs were invested on the acquisition of wider looms for the area’s local weavers. Cedie adds, “Fabrics produced by these looms are now being used for some if not most of Lakat’s sustainable sneakers and Aire’s garments.”


The most recent initiative supported by the HeArteFino Foundation focuses on the future of zero-waste textiles. According to Cedie, “We’ve been working with Anya Lim of Anthill in exploring the possibilities of zero-waste textiles.” When ArteFino returned to the fairgrounds last year, the event’s focus was on recycling, repurposing, and regenerating. “This year, the same thrust continues to inform our trade fairs,” she says. At the first ArteFino Resort popup happening in March, patrons will find zero-waste fabrics reimagined into lifestyle products like clothing, pot holders, pouf cushions, and caps.


Circularity Within The Community

It’s not just about shopping for artisanal products at ArteFino. Every purchase is a show of support for local brands and communities. At every trade fair, more doors open for the craft industry to establish their place in a market that is fast-becoming more conscious, mindful, and purpose-driven.


Cedie elaborates, “ArteFino fairs help to fund the foundation’s grants or investments. We work very closely with all of our grantees or beneficiaries in creating sustainable livelihood.” In the case of the Bagobo beaders, Kabankalan weavers, and makers of zero waste textiles, their products are refined and developed before making their way to the fairgrounds. “These products are sold at ArteFino, which ultimately help us fund the foundation.” Circular economy and dynamics within the growing community drives both the fairtrade events and foundation.


One cannot exist or live out its mission without the other. It’s this unique quality about the HeArteFino Foundation and ArteFino that has breathed new life to the country’s rich tradition of craft. It has also inspired founders and supporters of the movement to re-imagine what it means to be ‘Loca for Local” in 2023.


ARTEFINO Resort Pop Up: A Celebration of Local Life in the Tropics

For the first time since it was founded in 2017, ArteFino will mount a four-day pop up inspired by a vibrant resort lifestyle distinct to the Philippines. From March 23 to 26, 2023, the North Court of the Power Plant Mall will be transformed into a festive summer oasis filled with handpicked fashion, body care, and home finds that inspire 365 days of sunshine.


Loca for Local: A Nod to Tropical Life and Style

In the Philippines, Resort or Summer season runs all year round. The founders of ArteFino, Marimel Francisco, Mita Rufino, Maritess Pineda, Susie Quiros, and Cedie Vargas, add that at any given time, “It’s practically summer all year round in the Philippines, except for a few months of rain. You can plan a trip to any of our beautiful beaches. For us, summer isn’t just a season. It’s a lifestyle.”


Tropical resort living is characteristic of Philippine culture. The ArteFino team emphasizes, “Whether you are staying at home or exploring new destinations, that sense of being on vacation is always within reach.” It’s this mindset that informs how local makers and artisans craft their unique design narratives through colors, prints, patterns and textures. It also inspires weather resistant workmanship, techniques and materials of choice.


Marimal expounds, “The need to stay cool and wear breathable and lightweight garments become necessary.” And because the warm climate in the tropics is almost a year-round occurrence, versatility also factors into the aesthetic inclinations of local fashion, design and wellness brands.


We Know Summer Best

That the archipelago enjoys tropical weather all year round puts the local design and craft community at an advantage especially when it comes to creating pieces for resort or summer living. Weaving techniques of lightweight, tropical fabrics from all over the Philippines are, without doubt, unparalleled. The same goes for design executions on accessories and home accouterments that reverberate with coastal chicness.


Marimel furthers, “The ArteFino Resort Pop Up aims to inspire a love for local which can be injected into your contemporary lifestyle. During this limited, four-day thematic event, we invite you to discover a tropical trove filled with elevated casual pieces from different brands. There is also a curated selection of home products as well as body care items. From filling your days with resort fashion to transforming your tropical home, our special summer curation has got you covered.”


The handpicked selection of 27 brands at ArteFino Resort highlights the mastery of local artisans in crafting products ideal for tropical living. Labels and makers featured for this special trade fair include:


FASHION

Alegre by Techie Hagedorn

Christiana

Coco & Tres

Crystal Seas

Edited Limited

Good Luck Humans

Jor-El Espina

Katha Pilipinas

Lakat X Aire

Pinas Sadya

Style Ana

The Shape Shop

Tilia

Trude Lizares

Twinkle*Ferraren

Two Chic


FASHION ACCESSORIES

Aishe

Arnel Papa

MCV Designs

R. Filart

Tina Campos

Uswag Artesano X Abre Linea


HOME

Art of Gold

The Fine Life Market JEWELRY

Judy Jewels and Fedesto


PERSONAL CARE

Amparo’s Apothecary

Daily Bar


Inspiration Behind ArteFino Resort

“When we think of summer, what comes to mind are lounging poolside while sipping a drink, reading a book in an airy patio, the sound of the waves hitting the sand, and glorious orange and yellow sunsets. At sunset, serve meals al fresco under the shade of a tree. Gathering friends for cocktails. This season calls for relaxed days on the beach, surrounded by family and friends.”


ArteFino Resort Pop Up will run from March 23-26, 2023 at the North Court of the Power Plant Mall. For more information and updates, follow them on @artefinoph.

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Lead photos courtesy of ArteFino