Text and photos by Franchesca Lesaca
Last September 8 to 15, The Queen City of the South celebrated the talent and innovation of its creative industry. Cebu Design Week brought together creative sectors from the city and its neighboring regions for a week of collaboration, celebration, and education.
A series of activities took place all over Cebu through its satellite events, alongside the main event in the city’s largest convention center, IC3 Pavillion. The main event includes the “Main Exhibit” and “Maker’s Market”, an affordable trade fair for all enterprises focused on learning the market and building relationships with buyers and suppliers; “Collaborations Exhibit”, a display of products made by different groups, individuals, and companies who worked together towards an output with a story; and the “Design Summit”, an interactive forum facilitated by more than twenty (20) industry experts aimed to educate and inspire Cebuanos in relevant design and creative topics such as urban planning, product design, visual arts, performing arts, marketing, sustainability, and more.
Organized by Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation Inc. (CFIF), Cebu Design Week (CDW) started in 2018 and was initially exclusive to furniture businesses. That’s until they realized the event can do more for the city’s design industry. With most companies going to Manila for trade fairs, CFIF felt the need to open its doors to anything creative. “We need to do something and bring back the attention to Cebu as a creative destination,” said CDW Marketing Chairperson, Laurie Boquiren. “We want to attract foreign and local tourists, guests, and investors into Cebu through the showcase of the creative economies that have put us on the world map. To do that, we need to combine all the creative sectors of the region. Not just manufacturing of furniture but also fashion, animation, performing arts, anything that has to do with creativity – you’re here, this is your venue; we will have a place for you, and we will teach you how to cultivate your business.”
Cebu Design Week prides itself to be more than a trade fair through activities that educate and empower artists, entrepreneurs, and the young generation. Apart from that, CDW is a supporting event to Cebu’s bid to be recognized as a UNESCO Creative City in the field of Design, vying to join Baguio – the country’s first in the field of Crafts and Folk Art. Boquiren adds, “We are happy that our speakers appealed to the young crowd. We could see that the reception is successful and the people understand that this is for Cebu. If everyone will support the cause in any way they can, this is going to prosper, this will have a life of its own.”
Its slogan, “Connect. Create. Cultivate.” is a reflection of its objective to help to small and medium enterprises and encourage cross-industry collaboration. Issa Cacnio, CDW Marketing Officer explains their advocacy, “More than a marketing and selling event, we advocate for the creatives to connect because sometimes we forget that we should work together. For example, if you are a furniture manufacturer, fashion accessories designer, you work by yourself and don’t work across borders. We make sure all creative industries are represented in CDW, connect, and then, cultivate creation. Eventually, it will feed the economy.”
The week was capped off with the “Creative Festival” featuring a fashion show of garments made from sustainable materials by the Fashion Institute of Design & Arts Cebu; “Blue Mango Awards” for participants and exhibitors with the best branding, product design, and booth display.
UPDATE: A month and a half after Cebu Design Week, on 30th October 2019, UNESCO announced new members of UNESCO Creative Cities where Cebu, along with 65 others, were selected. Becoming a part of the network opens a lot of opportunities for the economic growth of the entire creative community in Cebu.