Name a world-famous furniture or fashion accessories brand made in the Philippines and designed by a Filipino and, chances are, they started at Manila FAME.
Manila FAME is one of Asia’s premier sourcing events, showcasing the best of Philippine exports for the past 35 years.
With the cancellation of trade fairs around the world, Manila FAME brings Philippine design to the world with its new FAME+ website, the “first step into its digital future.”
The exhibition arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), l CITEM launched on Oct. 22 its new digital platform FAME+ for the home, fashion and lifestyle industries.
CITEM has always been good at matching design consultants with start-ups or companies that need a global design perspective in their product development.
Previous to the pandemic, the biannual show was held in April and October, gathering manufacturers, designers and brands under one roof —or several roofs, really, at the World Trade Center and other Bay Area venues—to display their Filipino products and designs.
CITEM has always been good at matching design consultants—foreign and Filipino—with start-ups or companies that need a wider design perspective in their product development.
I’ve seen this in manufacturers whom I’ve covered in CITEM shows through the years. You see that effect in entire collections that are now more sophisticated or are using materials that are more environment-friendly (buyers insist on the least carbon footprint left by production).
The B2B platform allows buyers from all over the world to browse catalogues, talk to manufacturers and producers, and negotiate their bulk orders.
It also allows them to get to know stories behind the products. FAME+ has sections with essays and interviews on topics such as slow living and weaving traditions.
CITEM says that companies that join FAME+ are included in year-round promotions in a virtual showroom, a digital storefront, complimentary digital content production and curation for 100 exhibitors, one-on-one consultations with product development specialists, and access to forecasts and industry insights to keep stakeholders updated on the latest trends. Exporters can also build their online presence and enjoy at no initial cost until October 2021.
The virtual launch was attended by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, DTI Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman and CITEM executive director Pauline Juan.
“I am beyond proud to have shown you today the product of two years' planning, design and build,” Juan said. “One of the most challenging aspects of this endeavor has been the digitization of CITEM itself, of the Manila Fame team and our stakeholders in terms of strategy, work processes, and support system, including manpower and technology.
“To be quite honest, there’s still a lot to be learned, a lot of training to undergo, a lot of tweaks that need to be applied to the site itself. What we present to you today is the first step into our digital future. We enjoin you to please spread the word about FAME+, so we can grow the current pool of manufacturers, brands and artisans, and get more buyers here and abroad to visit the site.
“Our lofty ambition, after all, is to build a home, a database if you will, for our Home, Fashion and Lifestyle Community, so that the whole world may find them—and connect with them—online.”
Venus Navalta, IPG Mediabrands CEO, also spoke about the importance of exporters adapting to digital. Her company helped build the website.
Buyers now get to know the stories behind products. FAME+ has sections with essays and interviews on topics such as slow living and weaving traditions.
“FAME+ is set to complement the export promotion initiatives of CITEM and take it a notch higher in the digital sphere,” said DTI Undersecretary Macatoman as he opened the program. “This platform will give our MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) a brand new way of promoting their stories and craftsmanship that they wouldn’t normally be able to do in a physical trade show.”
Also at the event was Rep. Toff de Venecia, who reminisced about how his mom Gina de Venecia would take him to the Manila FAME show when he was younger.
He described FAME+’s community of creatives as part of a thriving movement to elevate the profile of Filipinos.
Indeed, it’s a house of remarkable Filipino talent.