In the Philippines, furniture trade shows are actually more like lifestyle events— catering not only to buyers and exporters, but also to shoppers and consumers– most who seek to further their home collections or wardrobes– with artisan, one-of-a-kind wares not commercially available at the next mall. (Tip: Most exhibitors sell their wares as early as Day 1, especially the fashion booths– and they sell out FAST! I recommend you doing your “shopping” here as the products are really so beautiful, well-made and proudly Filipino. :))
This is what makes the Manila Furnishings and Apparel Manufacturers’ Exchange, better known as Manila FAME, so popular– and something to look forward to every year. It’s a showcase of some of the best designs in our country– from furniture to fashion, hence I felt so honored and kilig when I was invited to be a judge for the 2015 Katha Awards!
Stemming from the Filipino word “katha” or creation,” the Katha Awards has inspired local manufacturers to develop new design products for the international market since 1983. It is special distinction presented to exporters, designers and artisans whose products embody exceptional quality. I have a personal advocacy of championing Filipino talent and I was so so so happy to be able to contribute in recognizing some of the finest talents in the country to the world!
We spent all of Friday the 13th going around the entire SMX (yes! The first shot of exercise I’ve had in over a month– and it didn’t even feel like it :)) And here are the winners of the 2015 KATHA AWARDS:
BEST PRODUCT DESIGN- FURNITURE Louis Chair by Vito Selma (Stone Sets International, Inc.)
BEST PRODUCT DESIGN- HOUSEWARE/ FURNISHINGS Wicked Broom Set by Tisha de Borja-Samson and Patricia Perez-Eustaquio (E.Murio, Inc.)
BEST PRODUCT DESIGN- FASHION Victoria Clutch (from Space Collection) by Carissa Cruz-Evangelista (Beatriz Accessories)
BEST BOOTH Tadeco Home by Maricris Floirendo-Brias
BEST ECO-DESIGN AWARD Bambike by Bryan Benitez McClelland (Bambike Revolution Cycles)
Congratulations to all the winners!!! Really well-deserved!
Apart from the winning pieces, here are some others that I likewise fell in love with at Manila FAME– which runs til March 16 (Monday) before the next leg in October– so you still have time to drop by SMX!
Not for Hire by Stanley Ruiz for Hacienda Crafts
I fell in love with these the moment I saw these– as they are so my style. And even more so when I found out they were made from repurposed metal sheets from bodies of sugarcane trucks from Negros Occidental, which haul cane to the mills from the fields all year. The embellishment “Not for Hire” indicates that the trucks are privately owned.
Adante Leyesa’s Clutches and Necklaces
I’ve been a big fan of Adante Leyesa since he first began selling at the bazaars in Rockwell, thanks to my friend Stephanie Singson, who introduced me to him. (I often wear his vintage-looking skull neckpieces during parties and events.) He has since soared massively and has even caught the eye of Suzy Menkes, been featured in Vogue Italia and been invited to present at Harvey Nichols. Adora in Greenbelt 5 also carries his pieces.
Ann Ong’s Bags and Accessories
Just like Adante, I also adore Ann Ong’s pieces. I wear her necklaces on an almost daily basis, and her clutch, which won the 2013 Katha Awards, I use very frequently during balls and galas. This year, she has “dedicated her artistry to the forest, which is magical for me in many ways. It’s time to give back to nature and I have designed 50 new clutch bags and 100 pieces of necklaces and cuffs all dedicated for the joy of nature.”
T’nalak Tables by Hacienda Crafts
T’nalak is a traditional cloth found in Mindanao made by a group of people in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato called T’bolis. While the traditional cloth, hand-woven made of abaca fibers, is often used in clothes or garment, I loved how Hacienda Crafts turned it into a table and made it modern by sealing it with lacquer– and also to better preserve for posterity!
Ribonette Lamps by Vito Selma
I really loved a lot of Vito Selma’s pieces– and especially that they have stories behind them. These Ribonette lamps are fashioned like stars– in fact you can configure them to look differently– as he says you don’t know what kind of star you will land upon.
Manila FAME is held at SMX at Pasay City. For more inofmation, visit their website <manilafame.com>