Artistic fashion remained largely out of reach for most, existing only in designer showcases. But because of the ever-evolving trends in fashion, more designers are making art-inspired pieces into a more wearable option for everyone.
Such is true for LAKAT, which just recently released its limited-edition sneakers with designs from three Philippine contemporary artists: Doktor Karayom, Lilianna Manahan, and Garapata.
Consulting creative director Luis Espiritu said: "The idea really came about from issues that surround fashion today. Seldom do we hear it as being perceived as art. And when we are presented with wearable art, it is often made such that it is expensive, elusive, and something that we cannot easily access or enjoy," he said.
"This is why I was inspired to put together a collection of sneakers that embodies art that we can really wear...everyday. It is accessible, functional, practical yet creatively fun," he added.
Dubbed as "LAKArt Series," the collection aims to promote local, eco-friendly, and sustainable textiles and weave strong bonds between Philippine art and sustainable fashion.
With its whimsical design and stylish color scheme, the sneakers truly are a feast for the eyes for both shoe enthusiasts and art collectors alike.
Dex Hernandez, the artist behind Garapata, said that his core concept for the shoes was based on his signature a character that resembles a multiple-legged head.
"Over the years, Garapata has become my iconic character—and now a brand. Garapata represents us as a complicated human being. With multi legs and feet, we're always searching the right host where we could feed, live, and grow together or just be alone peacefully," Hernandez explained.
He added, "Ironically, the shoes that are supposed to protect our feet are also infested with these Garapatas, reminding us that wherever we go, we have companion parasites feeding from our feet, in a cute or charming way!"
He chose to create high- and low-cut sneakers in neutral colors as he wants them to be as versatile as possible.
Similar to Hernandez, Manahan, known for her whimsical and industrial art using a multi-range of materials, also opted to base her sneaker designs on a character she created.
The designs were inspired by Clarence, a bird, which she illustrated in "different postures and mundane or near-death situations," reflecting the time during the lockdown.
"I’ve have been experimenting with sculpted paper and enjoying seeing how sculpting paper can be translated into other materials like metal, and textile. So I put all these things together since it made the most sense and challenged myself to apply this aesthetic to the sneakers," she said.
For her, she hopes that her shoes would inspire the wearer to express their personality and style and "have fun walking around in them."
"I enjoy allowing the viewer or user to continue the story, or in this case the use of the object. That is why I start off with two ways to wear the shoe, but leave it up to the owner to embellish or take away from the design," she shared.
Lastly, Doktor Karayom, whose real name is Russell Trinidad, took inspiration from his experience with mythical creatures in the country: the duwende and engkanto.
"Mula sa ala-ala ko noong bata pa ako na palagi ako napaglalaruan ng mga dwende o engkanto dahil gala ako, kung saan saan ako napupunta. Tulad ng pagsuot ng sapatos na ito ay madadala ka nito sa lugar na gusto mong puntahan ng komportable at may tiwala sa paglalakad mo," he shared.
Trinidad, known for his paintings and sculptures, primarily uses the color red in his works. His LAKAT shoes feature embroidered images of faces and body parts.
"Binigyan ko ito ng isa pang perspektibo na kung saan ka man mapunta ay makakatulong sa paglago ng iyong sarili. Karanasan na ililigaw ka sa hindi mo alam at tutulungan ka nito mamuhay. Kagaya ng guhit ko na may lumalabas na bulaklak o halaman sa katawan ng tao," he added.
The shoes are all made of water-resistant pineapple and cotton fibers, while their rubber soles are sourced from Mindanao.
The price of the shoes are available upon request and they will be first available during the Art Fair 2024 happening on Feb. 16 to 18 at The Link, Ayala Center, Makati City.