It all started with the desire for the Philippines to embrace globalization at its early stages.
At its early inception, Manila FAME's primary goal was to showcase Filipino craftmanship, like this beaded shirt from South Cotabato, to the world.
In fact, the idea of globalization started in 1983 when the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) was created, with Manila FAME as its flagship project. At the early beginnings of Manila FAME, its primary goal was to have a platform for these small industries to showcase their works with the global market.
“It’s really more about developing the cottage industry and micro-to-small scale enterprises back then,” recounts CITEM Deputy Executive Director Ria Matute, who cites then-Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin and founding Executive Director Mina Gabor.
“It is aimed at elevating these home-based manufacturing to serve a bigger audience: the international market,” she emphasized.
Matute even recounted that the first Manila FAME was then held at Folk Arts Theater with around 50 companies. While the Philippines was relatively unknown in the export market then, Gabor took the challenge by inviting top designers from other countries to be part of the trade exhibit to collaborate with local manufacturers. The idea of collaboration eventually became the core identity of Manila FAME and a prime example of globalization at its finest.
“The concept [of Manila FAME] is to provide a sustainable development platform of global scale, making use of local talents,” Matute added.
With the 32 years of being the event of showcasing the best of Filipino talent and craftsmanship, Manila FAME still maintains it space. “Despite economic conditions like recessions, [Manila FAME] remained to be consistent and constantly in the market,” said Matute In fact, she added that Manila FAME constantly explores different markets, both local and abroad. “We still keep looking on markets so that we are not reliant on just one market,” Matute added.
Filipino entrepeneurs continue to come up with innovative products for both local and foreign markets. A good example would be these flowers made from treated petals, designed to last longer than regular flowers.
On the side of the buyers, Manila FAME remained relevant as the creative talent presented in the exhibit continue to innovate by creating products that buyers would find relevant. “It’s all about creative innovation, [and] creative collaboration,” she emphasized.
When it comes to collaboration, Matute noted that they go beyond by providing solutions that Filipino manufacturers and designers can provide for foreign companies. So what to expect for the future of Manila FAME? Matute said that they will be bringing in more collaborations and partners, and also usher in new creative ways Filipinos can contribute to the global market. [RELATED: What's new at the 62nd Manila FAME]