This year’s Manila FAME is poised to be one of the most exciting in the trade fair’s 30-year history.

As one of the longest running trade shows in the Asia Pacific region, Manila FAME has seen peaks, plateaus and yes, even declines. More recently, the advent of social media and stronger Internet connectivity saw a drastic change in the way buyers access producers, suppliers and other participants usually active in trade shows.

During an exclusive media preview for the forthcoming Manila FAME exhibition slated to open on April 25, its new Executive Director, Pauline Juan Suaco shared that dynamics between buyer and producers have changed since social media. There has been tendency for buyers to do independent research and online sourcing. Alternately, companies and producers are now able to promote their items on their own social media accounts, websites and other digital platforms. This does not, however, necessarily render a legitimate trade show where standards and processes are set in place for protection for both parties obsolete. “Instead of worrying that the digital landscape will soon takeover, CITEM will embrace the transition and use this to our advantage. Expect a reinvigorated digital experience at the coming editions of Manila FAME.” Pauline mentions the launch of two new digital platforms—the Manila Fame App and Touchpoint website. A new look for its social media account will also reflect “Manila FAME’S preeminence as the trade show for furniture, houseware, fashion, gifts, beauty and wellness.”

Executive Director Pauline Suaco Juan | PHOTO COURTESY OF MANILA FAME

The media preview was strong indication of this revitalization. Inside the Artellano 11 select pieces on display shared a common theme: Heritage Reimagined. Pauline explains, “The recent nostalgia over past trends and the revival or reinvention of iconic design pieces are going back in style. The recent nostalgia over past trends and the revival or reinvention of iconic design pieces are going back in style. It is through this resurgence of design sensibilities that we will redefine and showcase our heritage of Philippine design.”

Bucket bag from Viejecito, one of the E Tailers to be featured in during the April trade show. PHOTO COURTESY OF MANILA FAME

Handwoven clutch bags by Maco Custodio PHOTO COURTESY OF BIANCA SALONGA

There were bucket bags and beach totes from Viajecito that represented the E Tailer edition of the show. Intricately crafted jewelry by Andre Chang lay side by side woven clutch bags by Maco Custodio. A sculptural lamp made of solihiya by furniture designer Nix Alanon was an immediate favorite. His cathedral cabinet with shagreen covered doors was also a standout during the preview. These designers, who alongside other design minds like Stanley Ruiz and PJ Arañador are part of the this year’s Design Commune. Under the creative direction of Vince Uy, this special setting “features products from 115 Philippine brand and manufacturers that have underdone product development and curation to meet the aesthestics and demands of the international market."

Cathedral cabinet made of solihiya and shagreen by Nix Alanon PHOTO BY BIANCA SALONGA

Pauline stated, “Our goal is to highlight the most iconic styles and elements of past products and reintroduce them through modern interpretations.” New direction, a fresh crop of visionaries and a mindset for evolving with the times is bringing A new sense of excitement and verve at Manila FAME. This effort, inspired by the vision for bringing local companies and products to the international stage, reinforces the country’s position as a rich source for fashion, furniture, home décor, gifts and health and wellness.


By: Bianca Salonga