October marks Filipino-American History Month and what better way to celebrate than highlighting Filipino social enterprises.
On Saturday, October 1, Artisan Made Philippines will hold its first pop-up event, which will bring several Philippine-based fashion and lifestyle enterprises to Los Angeles.
The event is the brainchild of social entrepreneur Kristine Surla, founder and creative director of the organization, which was inspired by her Filipino heritage. She is also the founder and founding member of the Los Angeles chapter of Young Women Social Entrepreneurs.
“I’ve always loved everything about the artisan, handmade goods in the Philippines,” Surla told the Asian Journal. “I was born there but grew up here. I always had a strong connection toward the Philippines and wanting to do something back there…to support and make a difference in some way shape or form.”
The event begins at 1 p.m. with an eco-fashion show, featuring artisan-made pieces from Filip+Inna, designs made from tribal weaving, embroidery and beadwork; Rags2Riches (R2R), which uses upcycled, overstock cloth & indigenous fabrics for accessories; ANTHILL, hand-loomed fabrics; and Woven. Models will be wearing makeup by Human Nature, an all-natural personal care and cosmetics brand that carries the slogan “pro-Philippines, pro-poor and pro-environment.”
One of the #RoleModels* featured during the fashion show will be Ivan Altamirano, mayor of the City of Commerce, Surla shared.
“To me, these are some of the best in the social enterprise space. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of sharing what can be created in the Philippines,” she said.
The event is not just for Filipinos, Surla said. It can serve as a good introduction of Philippine-made products to the broader LA community.
“Our hope is that it will really shift…the perspective of what can be made in the Philippines because I feel that often times, if things are made in Southeast Asia…it doesn’t have as a high caliber,” she said.
Following the preview of clothing and accessories, there will be a Founders Fireside Chat, featuring Surla; Anya Lim, co-founder and managing director of ANTHILL; Maricel Villanueva, executive director of Gawad Kalinga USA; and video commentary from Reese Fernandez Ruiz, co-founder and president of R2R and Lenora Cabili, founder and creative designer of Filip+Inna.
The day will end with a VIP five-course dinner influenced by indigenous Filipino tribes prepared by Chef Yana Gilbuena of SALO Series, a moveable feast that has caught mainstream attention. (Tickets, which are limited, must be purchased separately for this.) In-kind sponsors, Human Nature, Social Products, and Theo & Philo, will also be featured at the event.
“Before I got in contact with Yana, I thought it would be great if we could do a Kamayan-style dinner as part of the event to really showcase not just the products that social enterprises are creating, but to also show that food is such a big part of our culture,” Surla said.
The event will be held at an open loft space in the Marina Del Rey area, which will be revealed once guests purchase tickets.
Though this event may seem to be catered toward the younger crowd, Surla invites older Filipinos to come on October 1 to see how the next generation is keeping the culture and traditions alive.
“For the older generation, it is about taking pride that this is occurring in the Philippines in terms of young entrepreneurs creating these businesses in a way that brings beautiful products that show that creativity and artistry are in our blood,” she said.