Zarah Juan’s Empowering Collection “The Tarp Project” Unveiled at SM Aura

In a remarkable collaboration of fashion, sustainability, and social impact, SM Supermalls, in partnership with women’s rights organization SPARK! Philippines, the Tagbilaran City Government, renowned fashion brand Zarah Juan, and the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, recently launched “The Tarp Project” at the Outside the Box pop-up shop at SM Aura.

“The Tarp Project” launch was marked with an unboxing by (from right): SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, SPARK! Philippines Executive Director Mikaela Luisa Teves,  bag designer Zarah Juan, and Tagbilaran City Mayor Jane Yap.

“The Tarp Project” is a pioneering initiative aimed at economically empowering women and addressing environmental challenges associated with tarpaulin production. The project involves upcycling used tarps sourced from landfills in the province of Bohol and Shell gasoline stations.

Bag designer Zarah Juan transforms these discarded materials into beautifully designed and meticulously crafted bags together with the women in Tagbilaran City who earn from the sale of these bags. 

Fashion with a purpose. Zarah Juan and the women of Tagbilaran transform used tarpaulins – what could have been discarded waste in landfills – into these fashionable tarp tote bags. 

During the launch, Tagbilaran City Mayor Jane Yap said, “What I’d like people to take away from this partnership is how it’s not just about upcycling used tarpaulins into material for the tote bags – it’s also about engaging with a local Tagbilaran community of women to put the bags together, it represents livelihood opportunity as well”.

(From left) Bag designer Zarah Juan, Tagbilaran City Mayor Jane Yap, SM Supermalls President Steven Tan and SPARK Philippines Executive Director Mikaela Luisa Teves display the tote bags from The Tarp Project collection.

SM Supermalls becomes a key partner in this endeavor by providing a physical space to showcase the bags in SM Aura and making them more widely available for purchase through its online shopping app, SM Malls Online. The partnership underscores the importance of multi-sectoral efforts in creating positive change and SM’s reaffirmation of supporting innovative and socially impactful initiatives.

Women at the Tagbilaran City Livelihood Center for Women and Out-of-School Youth meticulously work on each tarp tote bag.

“SM has always been a strong supporter of women’s empowerment. When you provide women with livelihood opportunities, you have an opportunity to positively change lives, uplift families, and build more resilient communities,” said SM Supermalls President Steven Tan. “More than a venue to showcase these stylish upcycled totes, SM is honored to be part of a project that highlights women as catalysts for change, both for economic growth and environment protection,” Tan added.

Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. President  Lorelie Osial at the launch of “The Tarp Project” at SM Aura

Mikaela Luisa Teves, Executive Director of SPARK! Philippines, emphasized the importance of the partnership, saying, “The bags not only represent a unique and stylish accessory but also contribute to a larger mission of supporting women and mitigating the environmental impact of waste”.

SM Supermalls Vice President for Corporate Marketing Grace Magno with her stylish upcycled tarp tote

“The Tarp Project” collection is available at Outside the Box, located at the Upper Ground Level of SM Aura, and on and

SPARK! Philippines Executive Director Mikaela Luisa Teves and Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. Executive Director Sebastian Quinones, Jr.

Written by Village Connect

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