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Putting best PH crafts forward

Marahuyo products to greet visitors during Expo 2020 Dubai
By: - Business Features Editor / @tinaarceodumlao
/ 05:20 AM January 26, 2020

Ann Ong

The Philippines is back with a vengeance.

After a five-year absence from the World Expo, the Philippines is taking part in Expo 2020 Dubai and with its biggest pavilion yet at over 3,000 square meters, a testament to the importance of the Philippines to the United Arab Emirates.

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And the millions who are expected to visit Expo 2020 Dubai are in for a treat as they will get to marvel at a lineup of Philippine designer brands carefully selected for their high degree of craftsmanship and design—all under the Marahuyo platform.

Officially launched in November last year, Marahuyo is the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) attempt to bring products of local micro, small and medium industries to the highly competitive travel retail market, a discerning sector that expects products to be elegant, innovative while meeting exacting production standards.

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Joyce Makitalo

“Marahuyo”—an ancient Tagalog word that means “to be enchanted”—was born to represent Philippine fashion designer brands that have unique personalities and outstanding workmanship, according to Rosvi Gaetos, assistant trade secretary and alternate commissioner general of the Philippine Organizing Committee for Expo 2020 Dubai.

Coming up with the Marahuyo range was prompted by the warm market response to the GoLokal program, which linked hundreds of micro and small enterprises to the mainstream through partnerships with mall owners and retail establishments.

With GoLokal’s success, Gaetos said it was then time to evolve the program and create a sub-brand to penetrate the “practical luxury” market.

Providing added inspiration was the provision by Duty Free Philippines of space for GoLokal at the Luxe Duty Free at SM Mall of Asia.

“When I saw the store which featured major luxury brands for fashion apparel and cosmetics, I thought it best to present a range of products that can compete side by side with these major international brands, and which can appeal to this new market (Duty Free travel retail),” Gaetos told the Inquirer.

Helena Alegre

Renowned designer Budji Layug was tapped as creative director for the Marahuyo range. He and Gaetos worked together with other members of the DTI team to choose an initial set of 30 names—mainly from the stable of Manila FAME exhibitors—that was whittled down to 10 for the first showing.

“We wanted a mix of brand sensibilities that included established retail and export brands,” Gaetos said.

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These include Ann Ong, Aranaz, Joyce Makitalo and Rare Finds Earl Gariando and Quiddity. More names will be added for each season and will be showcased during Expo 2020 Dubai, which will run from Oct. 20 to April 20, 2021.

“We will bring both the GoLokal and Marahuyo brands to the Philippines Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai to show the breadth of our product offerings from artisanal products, everyday souvenirs, to high design fashion and home accessories,” Gaetos said.

The market can hardly wait.

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TAGS: Expo 2020-Dubai, Marahuyo products
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