De Lo Mio is a Dominican term of endearment often used to express familial solidarity or affection with one another. Translated to “Of My People,” this expression is a way of seeing and naming our connection to others so that we can deepen our sense of belonging and grow stronger together. This Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, Squarespace is honoring the essential role community plays in affirming our identities and cultivating spaces of care.
When Marisol Arteaga set out to create her clothing business, Arteaga, sustainability and transparency were core to her vision. Arteagea connects people with unique clothing created by craftspeople and weavers from different parts of the world, and supports the cultural practices and livelihood of the creators the brand partners with.
She talked with Squarespace about why values are foundational to a brand vision, the role her own family and identity have played in the development of her brand, and how authenticity is key to success.
Squarespace: You run Arteaga from your Brooklyn studio. What was the first step you took to pursue building your own brand?
A: The first step! There are so many. I always knew I wanted to have my own brand and working in the fashion industry allowed me to learn and decide what I wanted my business to be like and what I didn’t want to perpetuate. Making these decisions as well as finally having complete creative freedom allowed me to give shape to the business I wanted to build.
SQSP: All of your products are made ethically and sustainably. How do you integrate your brand values with your marketing?
A: It is a seamless integration because working this way allows you to be completely transparent. And our transparency happens to be a beautiful thing. Our focus is on working with endangered artisan crafts and textiles. Because we have the opportunity to work with different communities and show the process, our partners, the locations, and our designs, it naturally makes a beautiful story that’s easy to tell.
SQSP: What advice do you have for other creatives who are monetizing their passion or pursuing a new business idea?
A: Do your research and be true to yourself. Knowing the market and the landscape for your ideas makes it easier to fine tune your offerings and your marketing. Being yourself is one of the most powerful differentiators and people want to see your authenticity. These two things should work synergistically together so you can come out strong, prepared, and true to your vision.
SQSP: How does your online presence support your creative and business goals?
A: An online presence is indispensable for smaller emerging brands. It gives a platform to tell our story, show our work and ideas, and a way to connect to people. Our website allows us to have a direct to consumer business that is an important part of our plan.
SQSP: How does the spirit of De Lo Mio come to life in your work?
A: Arteaga at its inception has embraced the tenets of social responsibility, beauty as a culture, and authenticity as its soul.
This is the essence of our work. I have a strong generational belief in social justice and have founded the brand on the same principles. Arteaga is a brand that is women-founded and driven, and is integrally involved in the areas that we are producing in — both culturally and ethically. While ensuring fair employment terms and sustainable practices at the grass root level, our work is community driven and helps to support the cultural identities and practices of the people we work with. And in return, they allow us to work with their exquisite and rare talents.
SQSP: What parts of your identity do you draw from to create?
A: By blood I am primarily Native American, the majority of my family is from Los Angeles and Texas, and we identify as Mexican or Chicanx. My family’s history and identity traces the history of Native Americans that have been disenfranchised from their tribes. This is reflected in our name and language—the heritage of the Spanish and the English speakers that follow, and places us squarely in the American Southwest and West. I believe this hybrid nature is reflected in my work and how I interact with the world. My father is a poet and always brought adventures and exploration into our lives as a life skill and way of navigating the world. My mother is a librarian and has always imparted a gratitude for a moment in time and a love and appreciation of the fleeting beauty of nature.
This is all combined into a collection that is a result of exquisite fabrications, indigenous design techniques and the pure inspiration of that beautiful moment in time. I think this embracing of hybridity allows me to bring together disparate influences and cultures into a cohesive design story.
SQSP: In what ways are you expanding definitions of community? In how you define yourself and see yourself?
A: I just see myself as being in a fortunate place to be able to experience craft and beauty from different parts of the world. And someone who is committed to bringing those traditions and roots to the forefront. Community traditionally implies a section of people that share similar cultures, ethnicities, origins etc. and as we blur the lines between geographic and artistic separations, we are hoping to redefine what it means to share ideas with people with similar passions, goals and an appreciation of beauty and traditions.
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