The extent, but certainly not the limit, of Filipino craftsmanship shines on stages that foster imagination and innovation and nurture through education. The winners and finalists of the 7th Filipino Footwear Design Competition (FFDC) demonstrate the capability of Pinoy designers and makers.
After the event was postponed last year due the pandemic, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Philippine Footwear Foundation Inc. (PFFI) on Jan. 30 finally introduced the seven finalists and their prototypes, and named the three winners in a virtual awarding ceremony.
Prior to the presentation, the finalists went through a series of workshops hosted by Zapateria via Zoom. The footwear design and development hub invited industry practitioners to discuss topics on Footwear Making 101, Sketching, Designing (Inspiration and Brand Development), and Costing and Projection 101.
Ensuring the seven emerging designers had their basics covered were mentors Rico Sta. Ana, Sheila de Jesus, Mara Pinon, Gerome Sta. Maria, Nicco Pintac, Maco Custodio, and Thian Rodriguez.
Marikina-based shoe manufacturers Fashion Purveyor (Roweliza Shoes and Bags), Black Wing Shoes, Zapateria, Javier Footwear, Tawong Lipod Creative Studio, and independent maker Dante Pascual took on the challenge of bringing the finalists’ unique designs to life.
Carla Apostol, who designed a lady’s boots she said was inspired by the Taal Volcano eruption (which happened at the same time as her friend’s wedding in Tagaytay), bagged the grand prize for “Sierra’s” (her entry) “refined attention to detail and well-researched juxtaposition of finishing and locally sourced materials.”
Apostol chose earth tones to match the organic textures and materials she used to capture the natural characteristics of her design inspiration. The upper features a combination of black smooth calf, white croc-embossed leather, and mahogany suede (depicting volcanic rocks, ice and snow, and wood, respectively), with monochromatic snakeskin. Organic forms, meanwhile, inspired the floral cutouts, while the pleating resembles waves and sand dunes.
The Sierra boots feature angled, exaggerated outsole and geometric block heel at about an inch and a half in height. Apostol’s attention to detail is apparent in her use of accents such as antique brass hardware, raw amethyst, and freshwater pearls.
For the competition, Apostol was mentored by Sta. Ana, while her boundary-pushing design was produced by artisans of Zapateria.
“The complex layering of the materials and the fine detailing are testament to the capabilities of the local footwear industry which is at par with many giants in the world,” enthused Apostol.
As the grand prize winner, she took home P10,000 cash prize and will join the other finalists in the next International Footwear Design Competition in Guangzhou, China.
First runner-up “Sister’s Favorite” by Joel Wijangco, meanwhile, features an interesting, food-themed design that made use of unconventional materials such as resin, food materials, and actual miso bowl and chopsticks.
An entry under the Lady’s Trendy category, Wijangco’s design is a tribute to his sister (hence the name) and a symbol of their relationship captured by the comfort food they share together. Mentored by Cari-Dawn Conejero, Wijangco’s design was brought to life by partner maker Tawong Lipod Creative Studio.
The king of the road meets the queen of the road in Janreyk Paler’s design inspired by her jeepney driver father and former barker mother, Osang.
Named 2nd runner-up, Paler’s “Osang – Queen of the Road” utilized the latest technology in footwear manufacturing at the DTI-National Capital Region’s Shared Services Facility (SSF) in Marikina City to bring his final prototype made with jeepney components such as metal sheets, nuts, and bolts to life. Other materials used were metal round beads and chains, silver, and genuine leather.
“With these investments (SSF), we are more confident that you can execute whatever designs you can think of, no matter how avant-garde they may be,” said DTI-Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona, referring to the technologies available at the SSF.
Pascual produced Paler’s design, while Rodriguez provided guidance.
Wijangco bagged P7,000 cash prize, while Paler received P4,000.
Other design entries included Kundiman-inspired piece by National Artist Levi Celerio called “Awit ng Mananahi” by Michael Joseph Bawar; a colorful rendition of jeepney with rotating wheels, “Dyip Heels” by interior designer Mark Boni Marter; men’s shoes showcasing the Filipino art, talent, and culture, “Hibla Habi” by Ivan Fabia; and a beautiful pair of heels inspired by different bodies of water, “Kalinaw” by Therese Paman.
IFDC 2019 juror Maco Custodio joined this year’s showcase with “C/Shoes by Macolit,” a unisex children’s shoe design made with readily-available materials such as discarded fabric, flexible wrapper foil, leather scrap, and more.
The judging panel was composed of Marcelina Alcantara, regional director of DTI-NCR; Amina Aranaz-Alunan, executive director of SoFa Design Institute; Joey Enriquez, president of Charter International; Monica Samson-Escano, PFFI Board Secretary; and designer Zarah Juan.
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