Executive Director Pauline Juan talks about the journey—so far—to FAME+

I am beyond proud to have shown you today the product of two years' planning, design and build.

One of the most challenging aspects of this endeavor has been the digitization of CITEM itself, of the Manila Fame team and our stakeholders in terms of strategy, work processes, and support system, including manpower and technology. To be quite honest, there’s still a lot to be learned, a lot of training to undergo, a lot of tweaks that need to be applied to the site itself.

What we present to you today is the first step into our digital future. We enjoin you to please spread the word about FAME+, so we can grow the current pool of manufacturers, brands and artisans, and get more buyers here and abroad to visit the site. Our lofty ambition, after all, is to build a home, a database if you will, for our Home, Fashion and Lifestyle Community, so that the whole world may find them—and connect with them—online.

If there is one thing, we are bringing with us into this aforementioned digital future, it’s the conviction that storytelling is the best way to promote excellent products. After we did a social media campaign early in the summer and discovered that the buyers who were clicking on the stories we were promoting were, in fact, looking for the featured items, we designed FAME+’s product catalogue to work hand in hand with Touchpoint, where we are able to tell the stories of the materials, techniques, traditions, and people that make these products possible.

We complement our product catalogue and editorial content with a robust calendar of events—workshops with Canva and Facebook, for example, as well as talks with By Hand Consulting and WGSN—that will help our stakeholders ease into this whole new digital world. These events are designed not just to capacitate and build community but also to push the digital medium.

Design Commune, I would like to reiterate, is a pilot program that tries to reimagine the process of product development and prototyping—merging artisanship, technology, and to a certain extent, sustainability. We are eager to explore the possibilities this will bring in terms of pushing the designs of Philippine products.

PHx Tokyo is a design incubation and mentorship program, where ten young Filipino designers were chosen by fashion and design consultants Tetta Ortiz-Matera and H30 to break into the very discerning Japanese market. This was a program scheduled for implementation this year, but because of the pandemic, we flipped the mechanics of the program and put it online so that young designers and students can learn alongside the “magic ten“ the rudiments of exporting to Japan.

ITIM: Material Manipulations in Black was supposed to be our presentation in Milan Design Week; the container bearing our products was already at sea, when Italy locked down. Instead, we’ve produced a hybrid presentation, which means there’s a digital exhibition, that you see on your screens, as well as an on-site exhibition in the art gallery Aphro Living in Karrivin Plaza on Pasong Tamo, for those who would like to see the installations in person. I would like to thank Tina Fernandez who gave a home to this collection and enabled our exhibitors to find a market for these design prototypes.

Today we celebrate the launch of the website and the coming together of the different stakeholders, suppliers and creative talent. Our task now is to synergize these different elements, and I hope that the next time we meet, it will be for a digital—or hybrid—fair that shows you the breadth and depth of Filipino design talent.

Before I close, let me give thanks to Sec Mon, USec Gani and Asec Rosvi and the rest of our TPG family, as well as the other agencies from DTI for their continued support. Thank you too to our Board of Directors for the guidance, and to our many partners in government and the private sector, particularly PhilExport and the Business Support Organizations. I’d like to also extend my gratitude to our friends from the business and lifestyle press and the key opinion leaders in attendance. We at CITEM are happy to share this historic moment with all of you.

Maraming salamat sa inyo and Mabuhay!

Pauline Suaco-Juan
Executive Director
Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions

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