CHANDELIERS, wallcoverings, doors, and mirrors adorned with laminated capiz shells (windowpane oyster) are among Shell Arts Co. Inc.’s houseware pieces that have been showcased since Manila FAME began in 1983.

“If you can produce it, if you want to do it. For me, that’s amazing,” Meyte Chan, third generation designer of Shell Arts Co. Inc., told BusinessWorld shortly after last week’s Manila FAME 2019 press launch at Seda Hotel in BGC, Taguig City.

The company, which was then called Shell Crafts, was established in 1929 by an American businessman. Ms. Chan’s grandmother worked at Shell Crafts for 20 years, starting in 1966, and later bought the company when the owner died and his family moved back to the United States.

“From there, it became our own interpretation of how to show a Filipino design,” Ms. Chan said.

“Even whether we’re doing well in business, or we’re not doing well, we should always exhibit and get our name out,” she said was one of the lessons they learned from their grandmother. “There can be people who are sick of looking at shells. It’s a tricky product. Just constantly show the product so that it’s not forgotten.”

The housware brand joins the annual design trade exhibits at the Messe Frankfurt and the Ambiente Trade Show in Dubai to promote new developments and innovations.

Its new designs will be featured in this year’s 70th edition of Manila FAME, the country’s premier lifestyle and design trade event which runs from Oct. 17 to 19 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

This year’s theme, “Heritage Reimagined,” aims “to infuse time-honored of Filipino craftsmanship with modern interpretations to suit the evolving tastes of a modern market,” a press release said.

For this year, Shell Arts Co. Inc. pays homage to the vintage design trends of the 1970s.

“During the ’70s, we created everything you would see in the house,” Ms. Chan said. “[For this show,] we made it look like a house that was very reminiscent of ’70s architecture.”

“I showed an American side of architecture from the outside. But when you go inside, it’s full of capiz. The products are still very Filipino,” she added.

Since it started in 1983, Manila FAME has served to catapult the careers of designers such as Kenneth Cobonpue, Josie Natori and Budji Layug, Tony Gonzales, and Tes Pasola.

Aside from Shell Arts Co. Inc., this year’s event will feature over 300 home and lifestyle brands. It also supports local small- and medium-scale enterprises in promoting high-quality and design-oriented home, fashion, holiday, architectural, and interior products.

“Our 70th edition seeks to unite the tradition of excellence and creativity with the changing demands and tastes of today’s market. We want Manila FAME to continue being home to fresh and innovative design, and find ourselves fortunate to carry on,” said Pauline Suaco-Juan, Executive Director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry.

“We have a wealth of inspiration and an abundance of skilled talent imagination, to find new meaning in our heritage, and transform them into new products that will carry Filipino design to the future,” she added.

The flagship merchandise development program, Design Commune, will mount a curated exhibition under the creative direction of Vince Uy, with support from seasoned design consultants such as Stanley Ruiz, Andre Chang, Nix Alañon, Kitty Buñag, and Mia de Lara.

Returning features are the Artisans Village with regional products from Antique and Marawi; the Fashion E-Tailers, that showcases styles from emerging online fashion retailers; and the Eco-Lifestyle Pavilion which has eco-friendly, and beauty and wellness products.

Ms. Suaco-Juan hinted that beginning in 2020, Manila FAME will hold one show annually every October as CITEM continues to evaluate its business model and marketing strategies to make the event “a digital-driven and multi-platform experience.”

“Our presence in the overseas trade fairs will also be more strategic, aiming to remind buyers that the Philippines is a top source for quality products. Our marketing communications initiatives will challenge the notion of on and off peak seasons to become available to buyers and exporters at any season,” she said.

Further developments have yet to be finalized.

For tickets and more information, visit and follow its social media accounts at @ManilaFAMEofficial on Facebook, @TheManilaFAME on Twitter, and @manilafame on Instagram. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman