The ‘FAME’ of Filipino design


The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem) has always served as a platform for creative exchange among Filipino lifestyle designers, with the end goal of producing globally competitive items.

As the export promotions arm of the government’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Citem has successfully staged the three-decade old trade show “Manila FAME” (Furnishings and Apparel Manufacturers’ Exchange), which exhibits the works of Filipino designers and manufacturers for both local and international buyers.

Since its conception in 1983, Manila FAME has earned the reputation as the second longest running trade show in the Asia-Pacific region. The bi-annual, four-day event that is usually held in the months of March and October, focuses on local fashion and lifestyle products such as textiles, furniture, holiday décor, and apparel, to name a few.

“We conduct many regional and national trade fairs, as well as international ones. The flagship fair is ‘Manila Fame,’ which we conduct twice a year,” Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo told The Manila Times during the first edition of the grand all-Filipino exhibit this year.

“Manila FAME is Asia’s only design and lifestyle event that caters to a wide variety of exceptionally handcrafted products, from furniture and furnishings to décor and fashion.

“I must say that since 2010 we have brought up Manila FAME to a truly international standard. Now we see hundreds of foreign buyers who come regularly to our flagship fair to look at what Philippines has to offer again and again,” he said with pride.

The secretary also acknowledged the role media has played over the years in promoting Filipino products both locally and internationally, especially with the advent of the Internet, thereby highlighting the artistry of the Filipino and the competitive quality of locally made items. As products make it to international markets, Filipino businesses flourish as well as the national economy.

After its first installment in March, Manila FAME will unveil the newest collections from the country’s most talented artists from October 16 to 19 at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City, Philippines.

For its 60th edition, the trade exhibition will highlight homegrown handcrafted pieces that demonstrate the Philippines’ rich culture and heritage.

Besides the exhibit, Manila FAME will also hold the four-day design-oriented “Design Talks” under its banner event, “Design Week Philippines” (DWP). Scheduled as speakers are local and international experts from various industries to lecture on the effects of design in improving lives.

Under his watch, Domingo has also ensured that his department will continually provide seminars and training sessions for the Filipino entrepreneur and manufacturer with the help of the Design Philippines—the branding program of Citem. This is one of the bureaus of the DTI that is mandated to promote industrial design as a tool for improving the quality and competitiveness of Philippine products, while servicing the design needs and requirements of small and medium enterprises at the same time.


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