We got the chance to sit down with Cosimo’s Lori Almario and Creative Definitions’ Mike Claparols.
Lori tells us that Cosimo started in 1939 with Gregg Shoes, a family shoe business, which catered to school children in the Philippines. After being in the garment industry for 12 years, Lori decided to combine that expertise with the family’s traditional expertise on leather.
Cosimo is different because the products are made of upcycled leather from leather jackets, making each piece unique. “Through Cosimo, we hope to achieve environmental awareness, especially with upcycling materials that are still in good condition for fashion. Since Cosimo was launched in May, we are venturing into not only leather materials, but denim as well, as these are two materials that make for very good upcycled products.”
Mike, on the other hand, hails from a city called Kabankalan in Bacolod, where weaving is their main source of livelihood. In 2012, the Negros 9 Community Weavers were formed, the group behind the intricate design, craftsmanship, and high-quality materials that Creative Definitions is known for.
“Initially, their designs were very basic and their scarves were made from polyester,” Mike shares, “but we are training them to transition from polyester to cotton, in which we are aiming for 100% cotton products in the future.”
The objective of Creative Definitions is to provide jobs and livelihood to the residents of Kabankalan. “Even when sourcing materials, we choose to be sustainable, which is why we choose cotton and natural dyes made from banana, turmeric, and other organic materials that are abundant in the community,” says Mike.
With each product that they sell, they also donate a portion to a feeding program in a public school in Bacolod. “We make it a point to visit every two months to ask how the community is doing, to support the feeding program, and to check for any improvements in our value chain.”
Aside from providing livelihood to the people of Kabankalan, Creative Definitions also wants them to further improve their craft. Weaving has been a practice for centuries that has gradually been forgotten. The advocacy of Creative Definitions is to revitalize weaving, so that the beauty and exquisiteness of Philippine culture may be preserved through it.
Cosimo and Creative Definitions are just two of the many names to watch out for this at the Pinoy Man Cave. For the ladies, keep an eye out for that bag or scarf because chances are MaArte veterans will come up with even bolder, more creative one-of-a-kind pieces this year.
Siegrid Bangyay highlights Philippine’s rich culture through the elegance of pottery.
CMV Designs comes up with new designs, all ethically sourced, environmentally friendly, and trendy!
Crafted With Love accentuate the everyday Filipina accessory.
Milvidas‘ crochet accents add elegance to every dining experience.
Riqueza is all about vintage design with a contemporary twist.
Haute Home releases their new collection of artistic interior design pieces.
Whisenhunt jewelry’s trademark is timeless elegance.
Yakang Yaka brings Philippine culture front and center in their products made by our very own indigenous tribes.
Natalya Lagdameo showcases new pieces in the traditional Philippine stamp with modern accents.
Aside from merchandise, the Peninsula Manila will also be hosting MaArTea, an Afternoon Tea event in partnership with MFPI and Tsaa Laya. There will also be MaArte Talks, a series of conversations with select business owners happy to provide insight, tips, and entrepreneurial advice on how to get your business out there.
MaArte is held every year and is organized by MFPI to raise funds for the National Museum and other museums it supports. Brands invited to showcase their items commit to a sustainable, ethical, and pay-it-forward lifestyle, as exemplified in their products made from upcycled materials, or are sourced straight from communities themselves, which they allocate a portion of their sales to. In Avellana’s words, “Whatever you buy goes back to you because it goes to the National Museum, and the National Museum is yours. Nagpapasalamat kami dahil kahit sinong nag-organize, lubos naming nararamdaman ang iyong suporta“. [We are grateful because no matter who the organizer is, we feel supported all the way.]
The MFPI is committed to continuing its legacy to make the National Museum accessible to all people from all walks of life, and to consequently pass down the rich Filipino culture and history. While the MaArte Fair is held every year, the MFPI and the fair’s organizers are dedicated to creating unique and memorable experiences through the craftsmanship and ethical background each brand showcases. And as Avellana said, whatever support you give to the fair goes back to you. So save the date – and bring a date – to this year’s MaArte at the Peninsula Manila from August 10-12 and be MaArte for a cause!
MaArte at the Pen 2018
The Gallery of The Peninsula Manila
August 10-12, 2018