Manila F.A.M.E. Gains Strength Through Unification

Arden Classics, a past F.A.M.E. exhibitor, combines metal and shells in its products. ardenclassic.com

Arden Classics, a past F.A.M.E. exhibitor, combines metal and shells in its products. ardenclassic.com

With the backing of the Philippine government, the twice yearly Manila F.A.M.E. show is promising a bigger and better exhibition marked by a unified vendor base.

The furniture and fashion accessories categories will rejoin the housewares, gift and home decor contingent to showcase the best of Philippine design Oct. 16-19 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, and then again next March.

“The October show this year will finally see the consolidation of the furniture, handicraft and fashion accessories industries after more than 15 years,” said Rosvi Gaetos, executive director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, the government arm that supports the export trade business. Manila F.A.M.E., which showcases gifts, home accessories, holiday decor and some fashion accessories, now incorporates the two furniture shows of Manila Now and CebuNext. Cebu is a city and a province south of Manila considered to be one of the centers of furniture making in the country.

The F.A.M.E. show, which has been around for nearly three decades, initially included furniture, but when that segment gained strength, furniture trade groups began to peel away to create their own shows: first the group from Cebu, which created the Cebu X show in 1989, followed by the Manila, Luzon, and Pampanga furniture and furnishings manufacturers, who organized the Philippine International Furniture Show in 1995. When the PIFS renamed itself as Manila Now, Cebu X became CebuNext.

The economic slowdown that began in 2008 hurt the export industry and “the show was challenged,” Gaetos said. Talk began to center around unification, “to talk as one group,” Gaetos said, and as a result, Manila Now and CebuNext have returned to the fold.

The October show promises more product categories, more exhibitors and, CITEM hopes, more buyers. In a country long recognized for its design capabilities, the goal of CITEM is to help local companies and cottage industries become more commercial, and hence more profitable, while buyers can enjoy unique, handcrafted goods that can be purchased in smaller quantities compared to those required in other parts of Asia.

CITEM is partnering with design and merchandising specialists to help fledgling industries in the Philippines effectively promote and sell their wares. n