The Philippine design community, composed of seasoned artisans, creative entrepreneurs, and emerging design specialists, showcased once again their unique and innovative creations in the 59th edition of Manila FAME, the country’s premiere design and lifestyle event, held on the second level of the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, on March 14-17, 2014.
Organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Manila FAME featured a wide range of handcrafted products including home furniture and furnishings, fashion apparel and accessories, holiday décor and gifts, as well as arts and crafts products made by the skilled hands of local designers.
Drawing crowds from day one was Craftspots, set within the Weaves of the Philippines setting, where live demonstrations of traditional weaving, juxtaposed with contemporary display installations, gave Manila FAME visitors an insight into the cultural narrative of the country’s weaving heritage. The special installations showcased the Piña of Aklan, Abel of Ilocos Sur, T’nalak of the T’boli, and the Tikog mat of Samar. Installation artist Patty Eustaquio, interior design duo Vernice Songco and Marga Espiritu, accessories designer Natalya Lagdameo, and interior designer Rossy Yabut-Rojales collaborated with local manufacturers and weaving communities to give the country’s traditional weaves a contemporary spin.
Inside the exhibition hall, the Red Box Scenography attracted visitors, where a collective of local designers on the rise displayed export-quality products developed in collaboration with local manufacturers and exporters under the mentorship of Manila FAME Creative Director Budji Layug. Previously focused only on the home category, this year’s Red Box has expanded to designers representing the fashion, holiday décor and gifts, as well as the One Town One Product (OTOP) Marketplace sectors.
CITEM, in partnership with the Bureau of Domestic Trade (BDT), presented design-forward arts and crafts products from select towns in the country, including the Yolanda-ravaged towns of the provinces of Leyte and Samar, under the OTOP Marketplace. Locally sourced materials used for these special products included water hyacinth, bamboo, burnt wood, coconut, and a variety of natural fibers.
In the fashion scene, indigenous materials transformed into eye-catching apparel and fashion accessories were the highlights of Manila Wear, a branding initiative that aims to position the Philippine fashion industry in the tropical wear market segment, and push Philippine design and its unique sensibility that is better than the rest of Asia.
Manila FAME also recognized exporters and designers through the prestigious Katha Awards. The Katha Awards, considered as the most prestigious award in the Philippine design scene, is a significant platform where Philippine product design innovation is recognized. Its goal is to give distinction to ingenious designs and encourage exporters to raise their design standards for Philippine export products as well as to pursue a skillful exploration of new materials/processes.
The Katha Awardees for March 2014 are the following: Ann Pamintuan of The Gilded Expression for her real twig handbag (Best Product Design Award for Fashion); Roberto Borromeo of Navidad Crafts Export Corp. for his bird ornament with capiz wings (Best Product Design Award for Holiday Décor and Gifts); Miguel Aguas of MCAA Industrial Corp. for his Angler lamp (Best Product Design for Houseware and Furnishings); and Jude Tiotuico of Industria for his Bordeaux Chair (Best Product Design for Furniture). The Eco-Design Award, a special citation, went to Marivic Licardo of Floreia CVD Ventures, Inc. for her Poi necklace.
“Manila FAME will always come out with something new. The companies participate twice a year to come out with something new. Buyers come here for something new. But what’s sexy, in Budji’s words, about the 59th Manila FAME is the excitement provoked by the range and expansiveness of design ideas and materials presented,” said CITEM Executive Director Rosvi Gaetos.
Manila FAME is one of the longest running trade shows in the Asia Pacific, and is the only trade event in the country that has been approved by UFI (Union des Foires Internationales) or the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.