MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-American visual artist DJ Javier collaborated with shoe brand Vans to honor his Pinoy roots.
Vans said in a statement the artist was chosen for his bold, multidisciplinary artwork and for representing the SoCal, or Southern California, culture.
“We partnered with him on a pack of silhouettes that honors his roots and intertwines Filipino symbolism with SoCal culture,” it said in an Instagram post.
Javier wrote on his Instagram, “This project represents Filipino culture, identity, and Filipino people. It represents the immigrant story.”
“The first image featured here is my dad, Liberato Javier, and myself. He immigrated here with my mom from the Philippines in the early 80’s, leaving everything behind to go to an unfamiliar place to hopefully give his family a better future,” he added.
“He had big aspirations for his kids, and seeing his son become an artist wasn’t his first choice. But here now, is my dad and myself wearing the shoes I designed, representing our story and people, with one of the biggest footwear companies in the world,” Javier said.
“My dad is now my biggest fan and supporter, and am honored to tell our story and hopefully encourage the many Filipino’s, Asian Americans, and first generation immigrants who share this same story,” the artist continued.
Javier created three footwear designs for Vans: slip-ons, high sneakers and Vans slides.
Each of the design element shows symbols of Filipino culture such as the carabao (water buffalo), the sampaguita, the Filipino flag checkerboard, the rice field worker and the “Nipa Hut.”
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The high sneakers have Filipino water buffalo “carabao,” which represents the hard work and resilience of Filipinos. Each pair also features design elements of the sampaguita flower, the national flower of the Philippines. The Vans checkerboard was also redesigned called “Checkerbayan” to utilize the flag of the Philippines embedded into the artwork. While the hues red, yellow, blue and off-white colors were inspired by the Philippines' flag.
The Vans slip-ons by Javier represent Filipino warrior and rice farm worker skull motifs on the upper. Tagalog word “Mabuhay” is featured. Different variations of the slides variety, according to DJ, will be available “later this month.”
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