A notable number of buyers from Japan are participating at the 65th edition of Manila FAME, says the new head of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Manila FAME, the country’s premier design and lifestyle event, opened on Friday, April 21, and runs till Sunday, April 23 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
The ongoing expo has 300 exhibitors showcasing the country’s top and emerging design talents.
CITEM Executive Director Clayton Tugonon particularly noted in a pre-event media conference that a number of Japanese buyers are coming over in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Japan is currently building and opening more hotels to boost its hotel room growth in anticipation of the massive influx of Olympics tourists.
Tugonon added, “A lot of Japanese buyers are coming to attend the April and October (editions). Japan needs 9,000 rooms to fill in (for hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics). Japan and Philippines has a close relationship with the country now so it’s a good time to go in (the market).”
(A report by Asian Nikkei Review cites that the country aims to add more rooms by 2020.)
CITEM figures on Saturday, April 22, shows that Japanese buyers comprise 22.67% of the total number of international visitors at this edition of Manila FAME.
Manila FAME has become a venue for showcasing world-class Philippine designs in furniture, home accessories, holiday decor, fashion, gift items, and crafts.
International buyers from across continents visit the expo to view its mix of presentations by internationally celebrated Filipino talents like furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, fashion designer Josie Natori, and in this edition, New York-based industrial designer Stanley Ruiz and Paris-based design specialist Nelson Sepulveda.
The buyers also source from established and emerging Philippine designers, manufacturers, even artisans, who offer products that are “the best of the best.”
According to a handout by CITEM, more Southeast Asian buyers are coming to Manila FAME this month and just in time for the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit that will be hosted by the Philippines next week, April 26 to 27, 2017.
Around 8,000 buyers coming from Malaysia, Thailand, India, Japan, and Singapore are expected to check out the event.
“For the international buyers, 24% are coming from ASEAN countries and South Asia, 20% from the Americas, 16% from Europe, 14% from East Asia, and 11% from Oceania,” the CITEM handout shares.
Return of the native
Philippine indigenous materials and innovative manipulation techniques are taking center stage at the 65th edition of Manila FAME.
Tugonon said that he wants to “promote Philippines as a destination” through the event. “Our products are beautiful because we use natural materials..Our advantage is that we have the materials, the ideas, and we have the pride.”
To highlight these native materials, Manila FAME is featuring these special exhibitions: Coconut, Materia: Bamboo, Lucent Objects, TM*/New Direction Redux, New Generation Weaves, and Christmas “Pabitin” Redux.
The exhibitions put into spotlight indigenous materials like coconut, bamboo, capiz, and abaca in products that incorporate traditional practices as well as modern applications.
Some of the showcased products—particularly at the Lucent Objects exhibit—also incorporate architectural wastes such as corn husk, peanut shell, palm husk, pandan leaves, and anabo fiber.
Design Center of the Philippines (DCP) is a CITEM partner in mounting the present and past exhibitions. Rhea Matute, DCP director, told InterAksyon, “For Design Center, we are working on a design sensibility that we want to espouse.
“It’s founded on the respect for materials and just exploring what can be done out of local Philippine materials, and have that sensibility of being nature-driven. It’s really about understanding how natural materials behave and translating that into a tropical sensibility in design, and this is what you see in the Design Center presentations in Materia: Bamboo, Materia: Coconut, and even in the Lucent Objects.”
Matute further added that Filipino designers are also discovering new Philippine materials: “Right now, the manufacturers and the Design Center is getting very creative in exploring fast growing indigenous materials like grass, vines, and fibers. That’s the direction we’re going.”
Targeting increased sales
Manila FAME aims to “continue in positioning the Philippines as a premiere sourcing hub for home, lifestyle, and interior design solution for the real estate and hospitality contract markets; as well as to empower SMEs.”
CITEM hopes to exceed last year’s recorded sales, according to Leah Ocampo, the center’s Project Management Department Head.
She said, “During the past five years, Manila FAME has produced Php5.96 billion of export sales, Php589.4 million in domestic sales, and Php 183 million in the retail sales. We have supported close to 2,000 SMEs and welcomed 8,400 foreign buyers to our shows. For the 65th edition, we aim to further push the numbers as we expand our market scope to the contract markets across Middle East, Asia, and the Philippines.”
CITEM is targeting over Php750 million sales in export, domestic, and retail in comparison to last year’s record of sales amounting to Php355 million.
Meanwhile, here are some of the exhibitions to appreciate at the 65th edition of Manila FAME:
1. Maco Custodio at the Manila Wear exhibition
A pair of furry slippers are the first objects one notices at the Manila Wear pavilion.
According to its designer, shoe designer Maco Custodio, “People call it furnelas.”
The footwear not only looks fancy but it also has a sturdy base made from leather and upcycled tire.
Custodio is also showcasing his bags made from tetra packs, woven by a community in Las Piñas. He put his own aesthetics in the bags by incorporating leather, a material he is known for. Other designers featured at Manila Wear are Joel Escober, Micki Olaguer, Matthew, Tim Tam Ong, Earl Gariando, and Adante Leyesa.
2. New Generation Weaves featuring Nelson Sepulveda
This exhibit showcases furniture and furnishings made from indigenous materials like arurog, coconut twigs, mango wood, coconut, red clay, mahogany wood, abaca, and rattan.
Sepulveda, a Paris-based designer who helped in developing these designs, said that his installation “has a sensorial approach to awaken man’s inborn link with nature.”
3. Lucent Objects featuring Stanley Ruiz
Another internationally known designer, Ruiz manipulated fossilized peepal leaves, corn husks, peanut shells, mulberry bark, pandan pith, bakong fiber, and rice hull in creating the holiday-inspired lamps and lights featured in this exhibition.
4. MindanaOne Fashion
This exhibition features the dresses worn by the Miss Universe 2016 candidates during the Davao fashion show held before the pageant’s coronation night.
On display at Manila FAME, the exhibit aims to showcase the intricacy and beauty of Philippine Southern textiles including the weaves of the T’boli, Yakan, and Mandaya communities.
Featured fashion designers are Dodjie Batu, Windell Mira, Edgar Buyan, Edgar Ayag, Emi Englis, Aztec Barba, Alfonso Boy Guino-o, and Neil Jimlani.
5. Abra Fashion
The colorful textiles of the Tingguians of Abra also get the spotlight at Manila FAME. This indigenous group is known for infusing natural dyes into their handwoven textiles.
6. Great Women Project 2
Organized by DTI’s Gender Responsive Economic Actions for Transformation (GREAT), the exhibit features products made by 35 women-led companies in 13 different regions in the country.
One of the participants is the Tubigon Loomweavers of Bohol, which sells hand-painted bags made from raffia (a by-product that comes in the form of straws when extracted from buri leaves).
To give indigent members of the community a source of livelihood, Tubigon Loomweavers taps grade school and high school students to hand-paint the bags while the women of Barangay Pinayagan in Tubigon weave the raffia into bags.
7. Yvette Bags and Beads Collection
Yvette’s bags are made from straw and were handcrafted in Davao by women who are part of the company’s livelihood program.
8. Christmas Pabitin Redux
This exhibit aims to exemplify iconic Philippine festivities into an illuminated display. Philippine Homestyle and Holiday Decor Association presented Christmas decors hanging from a bamboo lattices for the show.
Designed by Tessa Nepomuceno, bags by Calli are playful yet glamorous. Her wooden bags are handcrafted and hand-painted.
10. Earl Gariando
Gariando’s handmade bags are made from brass that were meticulously hammered and tooled by hand. The embossed motif is called “repousse.”