New talents on Red Box’s 2nd cycle

Red Box, a designer development program initiated by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), has now opened the second cycle of its search for the country’s next design talents. CITEM is looking for Filipinos aged 21 to 30 years old who have not yet received major home- or fashion-related awards. They can bring their passion and talent for design to a higher level through the Red Box program.

The program is a platform to harness talents and nurture them to become the next generation of Philippine designers. From its first cycle, four young designers were awarded as grand winners, and represented the Philippines in select trade shows in London, Milan, and New York City.

 “Red Box started out as a show feature of Manila FAME in 2011. Designers featured back then were handpicked by CITEM to showcase their creations in the trade fair. Three years later, Red Box has evolved into a designer development program,” CITEM Executive Director Rosvi C. Gaetos shares.

“The Philippines is full of talented young creative individuals. Red Box opened its doors to them, so they can further develop their skills under the mentorship of Filipino design icons,” Gaetos adds.

In 2014, Red Box introduced a shortlist of 14 design talents who were trained and guided by Budji Layug for furniture and home accents, and Lulu Tan-Gan for apparel and fashion accessories.

Red Box Cycle 1 grand winner Thian Rodriguez cites the exposure and opportunities Red Box provided that helped develop his craft
The design talents underwent an in-depth immersion in the local home and fashion industries, including seminars and workshops on design; exposure to craft techniques through regional factory visits; and development of product collections in close collaboration with manufacturers. Cycle 1 of the Red Box program culminated with the designers’ collections showcased in Manila FAME October 2015, where a jury selected the grand winners based on a prescribed criteria.

Thian Rodriguez, Cycle 1 grand winner for Fashion Apparel, is grateful to be part of the program. “The program helped me widen my perspective in arts and fashion. Red Box helped me find my own identity as a designer and build my own name in the industry,” he says. 

Rodriguez cites the mentorship under Lulu Tan-Gan, and the exposure to fashion design principles, the industry, and the market as great learning experiences that developed his craft. Rodriguez is one of the four designers who represented the Philippines in the International Fashion Showcase (IFS) in London, United Kingdom in February this year.

Jim Torres, Cycle 1 grand winner for Home, also attributes his growth as a designer to the industry exposure. He shares that it is through the Red Box program that he was able to discover his design identity by interacting with different people such as clients, manufacturers, and co-designers. 

“You must know how to adapt—that’s why Red Box is a mentorship program. Being a designer is more than just designing and building things; it’s about being able to communicate and inspire through design,” Torres adds as an advice to aspiring, young designers. Torres’ Escapade collection, a lighting installation made of shredded stainless steel, was featured in the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York, USA in May 2016.

Cycle 2 of the program will also give aspiring talents the opportunity to participate in international trade fairs, workshops or short courses.   

CITEM has partnered with the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), a technical agency of the DTI mandated to promote industrial design as a tool for improving the quality and competitiveness of Philippine products. The partnership between CITEM and DCP aims to sustain development of the next generation of Philippine designers.

Applicants may submit entries for any of the following categories: furniture; home accents; apparel; and fashion accessories. Only one entry for a maximum of two categories will be accepted. Deadline of submission of entries is on 19 August 2016. For more information on the application process, please visit

Topics: RED Box , Thian Rodriguez
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.