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Thursday, April 25, 2024

7th Filipino Footwear Design Competition: Gaining a foothold in the global marketplace

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Filipinos are fabled for handcrafting beautiful things. Like in fashion design, the footwear industry has its fair share of excellent practitioners. At the 7th Filipino Footwear Design Competition(FFDC), seven finalists showcased their entries in a virtual setting to an impressed panel of judges composed of Department of Trade and Industry National Capital Regional Office Regional Director Marcelina Alcantara, SoFa Design Institute Executive Director Amina Aranaz-Alunan, Charter International President Joey Enriquez, Philippine Footwear Federation Inc. Board of Director/Otto Shoes’ Monica Samson-Escano, and designer Zarah Juan.

DTI’s Marcelina Alcantara, in her message, assured that they will continue working with stakeholders for whatever is better for the footwear and leathergoods industry: “Please remember also that our commitment to you doesn’t end with this activity; rather, this is just a part of the long-standing partnership between institutions.”

Philippine Footwear Federation Inc. Director General Roger Py stated: “As one of the founding members of FFDC, it has always been my mission for Filipino Creativity to be celebrated not just here but also around the world. I’m glad that despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic and recent catastrophes, we are still able to push through and uphold the continuity of our craft. Truly, it is admirable that creativity stands strong amid any circumstance. I’m glad that as leaders, creatives and makers, we have proven the potential of our local footwear industry.”

Besides the privilege of representing the Philippines in the next International Footwear Design Competition in China, there are cash prizes: P10,000 for the grand winner, P7,000 for the first runner-up, and P4,000 for the second runner-up.

The grand winner is Carla Apostol, for her entry called “Sierra.” Apostol has certificates in accessories design at Istituto Marangoni (Milan, Italy) and leather technology at Polimoda Institute (Florence, Italy) and a master’s degree in Shoes and Bags Collection Design from Polimoda Institute (Florence, Italy). She also served as assistant designer at Carla Sorrenti (Florence, Italy) and at 3.1 Phillip Lim (New York, USA).

Here are the finalists and their entry descriptions:

  • Mark Boni R. Marter (Neil & Marter), 27, Antipolo-Marikina. I learned how to make shoes just this January 2021. I was hands-on in making my entry, including the pattern making and cutting of each piece. When I was designing my entry, news came out about the modernization of jeepneys. The shoes are inspired by the Philippines’ “King of the Road,” commonly referred to as Dyip, which symbolizes the resilience and artistic nature of the Filipinos. My entry is also inspired by our Bayanihan spirit.
  • Ivan Cedric Fabia (Ivan Fabia), 22. As an industrial designer, I am always curious on experiencing new things. This is my first time to design a shoe and I am blessed with this opportunity.

From the far lands of the west to the nearby shores of the east, this shoe is a celebration of influences that narrates the culture of the Philippines as a melting pot. A fusion of vibrant traditions and diverse influences from all over the world.

 A showcase of Filipino world-class art, talent and culture, “Hibla Habi” is a bespoke, handcrafted shoe woven from a thousand stories with fibers from abaca, rattan, buri and tikog (the art of paghahabi), heels made of wood carved from experience (the art of paglililok) and a toe cap ornamented with brogue patterns resembling the art of pagbabatok that brings the message of one sun, one moon for one Earth—harmony and unity for everyone.

  • Therese Paman (Reese Paman), 23. I have no shoe-making experience, or at least nothing related to fashion. I took up industrial design at the College of Saint Benilde. I usually focus on form and material exploration.

“Kalinaw” is a Filipino word that stands for tranquility/serenity. My design was brought about by the idea that we define ourselves or look at things always as just “one thing or the other,” never both or more. I wanted my design to show what “both or more” looks like.

The form takes inspiration from different bodies of water which represents how nature can be forceful but gentle, dynamic but calm, beautiful but subtle. Dualities that somehow fit together. Going with this thought process made me realize that when we choose to acknowledge both sides (or all sides), we reach an equilibrium, or a feeling that I know to be peace, tranquility. Thus, the name Kalinaw.

  • Michael Joseph Bawar, 35, Sta. Maria, Bulacan. I took up shoe-making workshops at Vapor Studios in Makati after college.

A “love letter to the fashion and design industry in the form of a shoe” is what best describes my piece. “Awit ng Mananahi” was named after a popular kundiman by National Artist for Music Levi Celerio and features a base inspired by the lowly bakya (wooden clogs) and heels resembling spools made of repurposed lauan (Philippine mahogany) and santol (cotton fruit) wood.

Through my shoes “Awit ng Mananahi,” I hope to give emphasis on the contribution of workers in the design industry and highlight the hands that do the work. I believe my piece is Filipino as it celebrates Philippine iconography and culture (something I always incorporate whenever I work on a design), while at the same time it’s also global with the message it conveys. Wearable, yes, may not be for everyday, but if you want to make a statement why not? I’m actually in the process of designing a more relaxed version but still maintaining most of the aspects of the shoes.

  • Janreyk Paler (Janra), 24, second runner-up. “Osang-Queen of the Road” is a reflection of a rare jeepney but more than that, the story of the design was influenced by my parents. My father was a jeepney driver and my mother used to be a barker. My mother Osang is the most special woman to me, that’s why I designed this as a symbol of gratitude to her sacrifices. In my work, I used metal sheets as my primary materials and some parts of the jeepney we commonly see. I wanted to emphasize the rawness of my materials to make it stand out and be different. I wanted to promote in my piece that you have to go out of your comfort zone and make the impossible possible.
  • Joel Wijangco, Malabon, first runner-up. “Sister Favorite” is inspired by and dedicated to my sister, who is a brave and strong woman. It’s made of unconventional materials such as resin, rubber, plastic, metal, etc. It’s a custom piece. At its heart, it is a very Filipino heart. Other than love of family, there’s also our love for food.
  • Carla Apostol, 30, grand winner. The overall visual of “Sierra” is informed by nature. Black

smooth calf from volcanic rocks, white croc-embossed leather from ice and snow, mahogany

suede from wood, and a monochromatic snakeskin make up the upper. Accents come in antique brass hardware, roughly cut raw amethyst and freshwater pearls. Organic forms inspired the floral cutouts, pleating that resembles waves and sand dunes, and of course bringing into play the human form through the body-conscious lacing and front cut-out which would have otherwise been covered by a conventional boot. In addition, I added a contrasting flair with an angled, exaggerated outsole, and a geometric block heel.

I focused on the craftsmanship that would be required to execute a design like “Sierra” effectively. I knew I had sketched out a challenging piece, so Zapateria was the perfect studio and mentor to work with, as their technical experience and passion brought my design to life with the utmost integrity.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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