Filipiniana is often seen as a relic of the past; only worn on formal occasions or as costumes in school events and period plays. Just a decade ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find quality Filipiniana on store shelves, never mind one for casual wear.
Then came MaArte: a market event created as a complement to HABI, the annual textile symposium held in Manila. Since its establishment in 2009, MaArte has helped push Filipino apparel to mainstream local audiences, and its influence continues to be felt as it expands its scope beyond clothes.
After a two-year absence, MaArte at the Pen is back–and it’s better than ever. From August 19 to 21, over 90 exhibitors will showcase their craft in the fields of fashion, furniture, and accessories at the Manila Peninsula. With the theme “Celebrate the Filipino Creative Soul”, this year’s event will bring both old and new artists to the fore.
Organized by the Museum Foundation of the Philippines and Philippine Art Events Inc., the event also serves as a fundraiser for the National Museum and its network: each purchase will contribute funds to support Philippine museums and its workers from across the country. In the past, the foundation’s projects have helped the National Museum acquire valuable artifacts, and train more local conservators.
This year, visitors can expect to see MaArte at the Pen’s usual stalwarts–such as beloved brands Filip+Inna, Good Luck Humans, and Rurungan Collective–as well as newer faces like newcomers Ito Kish, Unang Panahon, and HA.MU.
In collaboration with the PHx Fashion Group, the fair is also bringing in new and young fashion designers to provide a contemporary vision of Filipino apparel. This includes labels like BAGASÁO, NeilFelipp, and Kelvin Morales; as well as works by designers from top schools such as De La Salle University (CLIO DL by Clio de Leon), iAcademy (Kill Joy Studios by Eugene Malabad), and SoFa Design Institute (Le Ngok by Jiale Zhang).
Another highlight to look for is SLIM at The Lobby, a special exhibit with vignettes of ensembles by Salvacion Lim Higgins, a pioneer in Filipino fashion design who was recently awarded the distinction of National Artist this June. Best known as Slim, she was famed for creating avant-garde silhouettes for evening gowns and ternos from 1947 to her passing in 1990. The exhibit will be located at the lobby of the Manila Peninsula.
MaArte at the Pen will be held from August 19 to 21, 2022. Entrance to the fair is free, so everyone is welcome to peruse and hopefully buy from the country’s proudest artisans. Please visit the MaArte Fair Facebook page for more information.