Contributed by CITEM
Manila FAME turns to digital trade platforms to continue bringing Philippine design and craftsmanship to global markets.
The community quarantines and lockdowns imposed by countries to stem the spread of COVID-19 has forced people to stay at home and alter their lifestyles. As more people stay indoors, they begin to rethink how living and working in confined spaces can be more comfortable, if not inspiring, despite the challenging times.
The challenge of making home life cozy during quarantine with furniture and accessories that carry the mark of Philippine design excellence and craftsmanship is one that the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) readily takes on with its participation in the upcoming Maison&Objet and More (MOM) Digital Fair. As the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry, CITEM is marking a first in its history of joining overseas trade fairs (OTFs) by showcasing a collective of Philippine brands in a digital trade platform.
The MOM Digital Fair will be held on September 4 to 18, 2020 online through MOM and Maison&Objet’s (M&O) websites. M&O is one of the premiere trade fairs in the home lifestyle and furniture industry, gathering the best brands under one roof twice a year in Paris, France. Its digital platform MOM was established in 2016 as a digital showroom for its exhibitors and connects buyers with the exhibitors before and after the show. MOM connects around 400,000 buyers through its platform, presenting a great opportunity for Philippine brands to reach new buyers with their showcase of products and collections.
A collective of 13 companies will exhibit proudly Philippine-made products at the MOM Digital Fair. These companies are a mix of established and up-and-coming brands who have also showcased their pieces at Manila FAME. Leading this collective are creative directors Rita Nazareno and Gabby Lichauco, two of the country’s esteemed designers, who will curate the Philippine collection at MOM.
Nazareno and Lichauco collaborated for the first time last year for the Philippine participation in M&O 2019, where they lent their expertise as designers and trade show exhibitors to companies looking to up their ante in product design and quality. This year, the duo worked with the participating companies to enhance their current collections and create or reinvent products to respond to current needs and changing lifestyles.
“We are happy to bring back Rita and Gabby to lead our participation,” said CITEM Executive Director Paulina Suaco-Juan. “Joining a trade show virtually is new territory for CITEM, but we are excited for the opportunities that MOM brings. Rita and Gabby’s guidance will prepare these companies for the shift from physical trade shows to digital showrooms.”
“We may not be able to personally show our products in Paris, but we can still bring them to international buyers online and we hope our companies will meet more buyers through MOM,” Suaco-Juan added.
Living in the bubble
This year’s virtual participation will carry the theme “Bubble Living”, a reference to the feeling of being cooped up inside a bubble as we stay at home due to the pandemic. Bubble Living will feature pieces that enhance and address the way we live now that we are more attuned to our homes. These pieces highlight techniques such as weaving, wood carving, and metalwork, but given new twists.
The participating companies include Albero, Chanalli, E. Murio Manila, Finali, Indigenous (formerly CDO Handmade Paper), jb+ (an offshoot brand that came out of the company’s 2019 collaboration with Nazareno and Lichauco for Maison & Objet), Nature’s Legacy, Prado Filipino Artisans, P&B Valises, Weavemanila, Inc., Venzon Lighting & Objects, Zacarias 1925, and Zarate Manila.
The Philippine participation in MOM’s Digital Fair is also a prelude to CITEM’s launch of FAME+, Manila FAME’s digital trade platform. FAME+ will be launched in October this year with exciting new features to explore and is set to complement future editions of the physical Manila FAME show. While the 71 st Manila FAME has been deferred due to pandemic, exhibitors, buyers and stakeholders can still see and explore the best Philippine-made products for the home, furniture, and fashion sectors through FAME+.