With annual sale, CBM hopes it’ll fashion Cebu as design, retail hub

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Sunday, June 15, 2014


ON TOP of making Cebu a shopping destination, a top official of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) said the Philippines can become the fashion capital of Southeast Asia, on the back of its growing fashion industry and pool of creative and talented individuals.

“This is one opportunity we can explore given that the country has already produced well-known designers here and abroad,” said CCCI president Ma. Teresa Chan.

Last Friday, the chamber launched the three-day Cebu in the Bag: Island Madness Sale with a fashion show highlighting the latest collections of the Fashion Council of Cebu and Cebu Fashion Designers’ Alliance.

“The rich fashion design industry in Cebu can become the catapult in making the Philippines the fashion design capital of Asean,” said Chan, adding that this leadership will further attract retail and tourism investments to the country.

She noted, though, that leadership in fashion needs the concerted efforts of both the government and private stakeholders.

According to economist Dr. Bernardo Villegas, “Filipino fashion designers and fashion companies will have a reasonable chance to compete with the foreign brands that are increasingly appealing to the large youth market.”

“Filipino fashion designers are among the most creative in Asia and can actually influence fashion trends in the whole of the Asia-Pacific region. There is an opportunity for such cities as Manila and Cebu to follow the examples of fashion capitals in Europe like Paris, Milan, Madrid and Barcelona,” he said.

Now on its second year, the chamber’s Cebu in the Bag: Island Madness Sale gave consumers discounts of up to 70 percent in travel and leisure, export products, gadgets, clothing and food, among others. It also held a celebrity and bloggers’ food and fashion bazaar, as well as sales in six participating malls.

The activity ended yesterday.

According to Camille Villarreal-Aldeguer, committee chair of Cebu in the Bag, the long-term plan of the activity is to make it like The Great Singapore Sale, which has
become a revenue driver in Singapore’s retail and tourism industries.

It is organized by the Singapore Retailers’ Association and co-organized by stores and malls to help promote tourism.

“There is no doubt we can also mount the same activity and attract huge numbers. We are still in the infancy stage and so far, retailers have become supportive of the initiative. And as we make the activity an annual event of the Cebu Business Month, we are taking measures to further improve this shopping event,” said Aldeguer.

She emphasized, though, that for activities like this to prosper and create a huge impact, it needs the support of the tourism department, similar to Singapore’s case.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 16, 2014.

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