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Photo courtesy of FFDC 2020 program manager Dems Angeles

Footwear designers to join China tilt

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Seven Filipino footwear designers are now ready to compete internationally after undergoing a series of training workshops on footwear making with Zapateria, the country’s first creative hub for footwear design and development, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

The 7th Filipino Footwear Design Competition (FFDC), the culminating event for the workshops, awarded winning footwear designs last Jan.30.

FFDC 2020 is organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Footwear Federation, Inc. (PFFI) to encourage local talents to pursue footwear designing as a profession or business.

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Designer Carla Apostol’s “Sierra” lady boots bagged the FFDC 2020 grand prize.

The nature-inspired boots use black smooth calf leather, white croc-embossed leather, mahogany suede, and monochromatic snake skin with accents such as antique brass hardware, roughly cut raw amethyst, and freshwater pearls.

Apostol’s mentor during the workshop was Rico Sta. Ana of Zapateria, which is also the partner maker for the “Sierra” lady boots.

Joel Wijangco’s creation, “Sister’s Favorite”, was the first runner-up for the competition.

The design, a tribute to his sister, is inspired by Japanese ramen. The heel-less avant-garde footwear is made of resin, rubber, plastic, metal, cable wires, miso cowl, fake banana leaves, and chopsticks.

The second runner-up’s entry “Osang–Queen of the Road” aims to honor his parents who are jeepney drivers and a former barker.

Janreyk Paler used actual jeepney components as primary material for his creation, such as metal sheets, metal round beads, knots and bolts, metal chain, silver, and genuine leather.

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Other entries, which are also products of the series of training workshops, include a Kundiman-inspired piece of Michael Joseph Bawar called “Awit ng Mananahi”; Mark Boni Marter’s “Dyip Heels”, depicting the colorful jeepneys; Ivan Fabia’s “Hibla Habi”, men’s shoes made of indigenous materials like abaca, rattan, and buri and incorporating the art of weaving; and Therese Paman’s “Kalinaw’, a subtle pair of heels inspired by bodies of water.

The seven finalists will be competing in the International Footwear Design Competition (IFDC) in Guangzhou, China in 2022.

The FFDC 2020 also featured the creation of veteran designer and former IFDC 2019 juror Maco Custodio, the “C/Shoes by Macolit”.

His design is a unisex children’s shoe made of discarded fabric, flexible wrapper foil, and leather scrap, among others.

On the sidelines of the FFDC 2020, PFFI director general Roger Py said Filipino footwear designers have vast opportunities in the international market.

However, footwear designing is not a “professionalized industry” in the Philippines.

“In other countries, you can buy their designs. For example, in Portugal, they have schools for footwear. They come out with degrees and so we have a lot of people here to make shoes, but they are not recognized,” Py said in a virtual interview.

He added the PFFI is pursuing initiatives to professionalize the footwear industry by partnering with schools that can offer courses with specialization in footwear.

Py said they are targeting schools in Marikina, the shoe capital of the country, such as Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina and the Marikina Polytechnic College for these programs.

PFFI is also partnering with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for factory-level skills upgrading.


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