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Filipino designer Jojo Bragais’ eponymous brand is Miss Universe 2020’s official footwear

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Apr 19, 2021 7:00 pm Updated Apr 20, 2021 8:29 pm

Filipinos have definitely much to root and cheer for in this year’s installment of the pageant—the Philippines’ bet Rabiya Mateo and the winning creations of designer Jojo Bragais.

Pinoy talent takes global stage as renowned pageant footwear designer Jojo Bragais’ eponymous brand is the official footwear of the much-awaited 69th Miss Universe pageant, which will be held in Hollywood, Florida on May 16.

The Miss Universe Organization officially announced on its social media its partnership with Bragais, which delighted Filipino fans.

“All of our delegates walk with purpose, strength and in their own unique stride. Presenting the official footwear sponsor of the 69th MISS UNIVERSE competition Jojo Bragais, who empowers women to 'Walk. Win',” the announcement said.

Bragais posted a countdown teaser on social media leading to the official announcement of the organization. On the day of the announcement, the designer revealed the good news. 

“As each of the contestants brings with them the learning from their own winning journeys, we are confident that Jojo Bragais can help them walk closer towards their rightful place in the universe,” said Bragais, whose creations have glided the runways of the world, worn by winning beauty queens.

Prior to tapping Bragais, Miss Universe’s official footwear was Chinese Laundry since 2011.

How did Bragais bag the partnership? He told PhilSTAR Life that it was the Miss Universe Organization that tapped him for it. He said Miss Universe Philippines’ Mario Garcia initially called to tell him about it.

“The following day, I received a call from Shawn McClain (of the Miss Universe Organization) asking if I wanted to do the shoes for the 69th edition of the Miss Universe pageant. We talked almost every day to make this partnership a reality,” he shared.

The Miss Universe candidates will wear Bragais’ creation called “Jehza,” inspired by Binibining Pilipinas Supranational 2018 Jehza Huelar. Bragais said he presented three designs based on the specifications of the organization. It was Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart who approved the design.

His design comes in silver, cream, caramel and cocoa. Bragais shared that he personally offered three shades of nude with diversity and inclusivity in mind.

“(They will be) perfect for people of color. I love inclusivity and I want to push for it,” he said. “It’s such a heartwarming feeling when you make them (the candidates) feel like it’s made for them, that it’s meant for their specific skin tone.”

With his shoes taking one of the biggest runways in the world, Bragais hopes that he will make the country proud and show the world that Filipino-made shoes are at par with international brands.

Bragais told ABS-CBN News that he is scheduled to leave for Florida later this month for the pageant premilinaries. He said the shoes he prepared, which were between 150 and 200 pairs for the 75 candidates, will be transported to the US ahead of the May 16 pageant.

Remember the chunky platform shoes worn by the Binibining Pilipinas candidates? Those are creations by Bragais, whose brand has been the official pageant shoes of the Binibining Pilipinas since 2015.

In his flagship store in Quezon City, Bragais sell these chunky pageant heels, with names inspired by beauty queens like “Kylie,” “Venus,” “Pia,” “Megan” and “Maxine.”

The designer’s creations have been beauty queens' footwear of choice, including the Miss Universe Philippines royal court pre- and post pageant—Rabiya Mateo, Michele Gumabao, Billie Hakenson and Pauline Amelinckx.

Bragais was part of Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray’s core team for the pageant’s staging in Thailand. And most recently, he provided footwear for the Philippines’ Miss Grand International first runner-up Samantha Bernardo throughout the pageant.

Having supported Filipino beauty queens and local pageants, Bragais said the opportunity of being able to showcase the Filipino talent on a massive platform like the Miss Universe pageant is not just about great honor and pride.

“I don’t see (this opportunity) as my success alone. For me, it’s also the success of every small shoe manufacturers here in the Philippines who have the same dream of taking their creations on the international stage. If I can make it, others can too. I want this to be an inspiration to those who dream big. It’s possible,” he said.