Budji Layug on Manila FAME 2016 April Edition
The Manila FAME is one of the region’s most prestigious trade shows; Budji Layug tells us what to look forward to this month
Having started in 1983, Manila FAME is one of the longest running trade events on houseware, furnishings, gift items, and fashion accessories in the Asia-Pacific Region. A lot of its success can be attributed to the big names behind the scenes—namely, designers who lend their talents to the trade show. One of these is the renowned designer Budji Layug, who has worked as the show’s creative director and consultant over the last four years. This month’s edition of the biannual event will run from the 21st to the 24th at the World Trade Centre in Pasay City.
What’s your responsibility at the Manila FAME?
I’m the creative consultant for the entire show, which will be focusing on fashion, home, and crafts. Basically, I make sure that the show and all its elements adhere to my modern Filipino sensibility.
Are you working with a theme?
We’re doing a theme of alchemy and iridescence. Alchemy is more on the direction for product development; it’s about a magical kind of creativity. And as for iridescence, that’s more on colour, which is more of a focus on green tones—iridescence from the sea or leaves.
What are some trends that you’ve been observing in the design world?
The market nowadays is very different from what it was 10 years ago. Then, it was very classical; now it’s totally different. Basically, we’re now catering to a younger market. They’re price-conscious, but we can’t make our products too affordable because that makes them lose their value. Aside from that, they’re looking for something that’s not too traditional, leaning towards the modern and contemporary.
Also, the global economy is slowing down, and it’s getting difficult to be noticed. Buyers don’t come to the Philippines anymore. So with what’s happening, we need to exhibit our designs where the market goes.
How should the Philippine design community deal with these changes?
I’ve been wanting to revolutionise the approach to the kind of product development that’s needed to make our industry more competitive. I think we need to start new design companies that will pool together the different creative disciplines—not just home or fashion design, but also the fine arts, animation, media, and so forth. This way, we learn from each other’s designs and learn new approaches. It’s a collaboration, and it’s a way to also market our strengths outsidethe country.
When mentoring young designers, what do you usually teach them?
You need to know what the market is looking for, of course. Also, a lot of these new designers have very little exposure, so they need to learn about what’s happening outside the country. There’s the Internet, but watching from a distance is different from experiencing it firsthand. Aside from that, you also need to learn about what’s happening within the country. If you’re going to work here, you need to know the strengths of the community.
But most importantly, to be a designer, you need to know yourself first. You have to know how you feel within; you have to know your personality—is it fun, conservative, quirky?; you have to know what makes you different, because that’s what makes you who you are. And then you reflect that in what you design.