Date posted: December 11, 2023

Trends and Traditions at Manila FAME 2023

Design fans had much to look forward to during this year’s Manila FAME.

Eyes were trained on the latest design trends and innovations that were featured in a showcase of the country’s most formidable brands. Amid a globalized manufacturing industry dominated by mass production and automation, the Philippines’ position as a potential hub for high-value design and production, through age-honored crafts and innovative techniques, remains at an all-time high.

The country has held the promise of fostering businesses that excel in producing high-quality, skillfully crafted, and environmentally sustainable products that would set itself apart among the world’s manufacturing giants. In a global landscape driven by evolving consumer demands, the challenge lies in elevating our products to meet the expectations of today's clients worldwide.

Hence, premier design and lifestyle event Manila FAME has embarked on a journey to redefine the narrative by focusing on craftsmanship, elegance, and design excellence. Through the vision of its product consultant, renowned designer Tony Gonzales, this year’s FAME incorporated two distinct themes taken from the world’s most pervasive trends: Blues on Blue and Naturals and White — breathing new life to traditional influences that will take center stage at the trade exhibition.

At the heart of Manila FAME lies a profound commitment to celebrating the art of Philippine craftsmanship. The celebration of revered Filipino talents such as Apo Whang-Od underscores the importance of preserving age-old traditions and nurturing the skills of artisans. This renewed focus on craftsmanship is a tribute to the resilience of the Philippine design industry, which has faced challenges, particularly a decline in exports due to the market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blues on Blue: A Modern Classic

One of the standout themes at Manila Fame 2023 was the color trend known as Blues on Blue. This trend seamlessly blends the rustic charm of natural materials with modern aesthetics. In an era where sustainability is paramount, this theme takes center stage by infusing the country’s local sustainable materials with various shades of blue, indigo, dark gray, and black. These hues are thoughtfully accented with gold and brass to create an aura of elegance and sophistication.

The essence of Blues on Blue lies in pushing the boundaries of what our natural materials can achieve. This theme challenges our craftsmen to explore innovative techniques and design concepts that harmonize with contemporary sensibilities. It's a showcase of how traditional craftsmanship can evolve to meet the demands of a changing world.

Naturals and White: Inspired by Scandinavia

While Blues on Blue captivates with its fusion of tradition and modernity, Naturals and White pays homage to design trends such as hygge that originated in Scandinavian nations such as Denmark and Sweden, and has since captivated consumers in the United States and Europe in the past decade.

Known for their clean lines, minimalism, modern silhouettes, and an easy and relaxed aesthetic, Scandinavian design principles such as hygge continue to be popular today and provide the blueprint for contemporary design.

The Scandinavian aesthetic has made its way to Manila FAME, where Naturals and White leverage natural materials and weaves. This creates a clean and contemporary look that suits the sensibilities of Western markets. In Filipino, this trend embodies ‘maaliwalas’ or the essence of simplicity, allowing the intrinsic beauty of sustainable materials to shine through. It's a testament to the enduring appeal of minimalism and the timeless elegance of white as a design element.

Craftsmanship and Sustainability

The Philippines has long been known for its unique craftsmanship, deeply rooted in its rich cultural heritage. These time-honored traditions pay respect to the country’s natural materials and sustainable creation.

Behind the backdrop of design themes in this year’s Manila FAME was a resolute commitment to sustainability. The event embraces the significance and impact of utilizing eco-friendly practices and materials in today's design landscape. Sustainable materials, such as bamboo, abaca, and rattan, continue to be at the forefront of Filipino craftsmanship, embodying the spirit of responsible design.

Innovations in Sustainable Materials

One of the highlights of Manila FAME was the innovative use of sustainable materials. Bamboo, a versatile material known for its relatively quick growth, takes center stage as it finds its way into furniture, home décor, and fashion. Bamboo's durability and eco-friendliness make it a sustainable choice for designers and consumers alike.

Abaca, another sustainable material derived from the banana plant, continues to be a high-value material in the world of fashion and textiles, such as our intricately woven rugs. Its strength and flexibility lend themselves to a wide range of applications, from handwoven textiles to accessories and furniture.

Rattan, a timeless classic in Philippine craftsmanship, continues to be a symbol of elegance and durability. Its versatility allows for intricate designs, making it a favorite in furniture and home accessories.

While Manila FAME 2023 is a celebration of Philippine craftsmanship, it is also a testament to the drive and quality of Filipino products on the world stage. The journey of Philippine craftsmanship has transcended continents, with products finding their way into markets across the United States, Europe, and beyond. This global recognition is a testament to the dedication and skill of Filipino artisans.

Manila FAME is more than just an event; it's a reflection of the evolving design landscape in the Philippines. It's a celebration of tradition, craftsmanship, and sustainability. The themes Blues on Blue and Naturals and White are not just color trends; they represent a fusion of heritage and innovation.

As the world embraces sustainability and timeless elegance, Manila FAME stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration for the Philippine design industry. It's a reminder that our country can lead the way in creating innovative, sustainable, and exquisitely crafted products that resonate with consumers worldwide. The return of Manila FAME in 2023 has placed the spotlight on talent, creativity, and the enduring spirit of Filipino craftsmanship.


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