DISHENYO: FFDC 2022 Highlights Filipino Ingenuity through Five Sustainable Footwear Designs

DISHENYO: FFDC 2022 Highlights Filipino Ingenuity through Five Sustainable Footwear Designs

Marikina City --- What defines ingenuity better than a creative stride towards a sustainable future. Last November 2022, the Department of Trade and Industry National Capital Region Office (DTI-NCRO) and the Philippine Footwear Federation Inc. (PFFI), together with Zapateria, launched the 8th Filipino Footwear Design Competition to gather some of the most creative minds in showcasing the talents of the local footwear industry. For almost a decade, this competition has been an avenue for numerous Filipino designer-makers to share their creativity to the rest of the world, serving as the national leg leading up to the prestigious International Footwear Design Competition in Guangzhou, China. 

Zapateria with FFDC Participants

For its 8th edition, the Filipino Footwear Design Competition opened its doors to students and aspiring designers, and set forth the theme “Dishenyo”  or “Design Genius” to spark an advocacy for strong Filipino representation and the practice of sustainability through creative footwear. This program also features an open-for-all series of capacity building workshops related to footwear design and development hosted by Zapateria for aspiring footwear professionals and entrepreneurs.

Zapateria Shoemaking Workshop

With multiple aspiring designers from across the Philippines registered for the competition, a groundbreaking number attained through partnerships with academic institutions such as the Philippine Women’s College of Davao and Eastern Visayas State University; along with premier fashion organizations, Philippine Fashion Coalition and Fashion Accessory Makers of the Philippines. 

FFDC 2022’s panel of judges consisting of experienced industry leaders and creative professionals chose the Top 5 Finalists based on their concept creations that were later developed into wearable prototypes. Out of all the entries, these five creative and impactful designs were deemed exemplary both in creativity and construction:

Grand Winner: Kaibahan by Lee Villanueva
Partner Manufacturer: Roweliza Bags and Shoes


Designer Lee Villanueva recalls growing up in different parts of the Philippines, witnessing the various craft industries of the regions she resided in. Her concept creation “Kaibahan” or “Diversity”, highlighting how different aspects of the Filipino identity can come together to form a beautiful piece; taking pride in Filipino craft despite their differences. 

Kaibahan also helps to promote the culture of it's design inspirations, the techniques from Paete's carvers and Marikina's shoe makers, as well as the key materials used - Santol wood, Lingling-o from recycled brass metals, Pineapple Leather, and Pineapple Cotton Laces that were harvested, developed, and processed locally in the Philippines. Lee Villanueva worked with partner manufacturer and FFDC veteran maker, Roweliza Bags and Shoes for this winning entry.

1st Runner-up: Sipa by Ritche Rodulfo
Partner Manufacturer: Roweliza Bags and Shoes

Zapateria FFDC Sipa
Fine Arts graduate Ritche Rodulfo found inspiration for his fun design from a nostalgic social media post about a game he used to play as a child. Sipa is titled after the former national sport of the same name predating the Spanish colonization, wherein players will continuously kick or juggle a handmade ball or shuttlecock. While still remembered, not a lot of children play the active street sport as most would prefer to play video games. 

The concept makes use of the numerous variations of the game such as the rattan ball, rubber pom pom, shuttlecock, and lead washer, to further express the multiple ways of play; better constructed into wearable footwear with materials such as scrap leather. Like the sport that inspired it, Sipa promotes the importance of shared Filipino competitive spirit as well as maintaining good social health and wellbeing especially to the younger generation. 

Best in Construction: Dikya by Kyla Gregorio
Partner Manufacturer: Gibi Shoes

Zapateria FFDC Dikya
SoFA Design Institute student Kyla Gregorio for her biodiversity-driven entry, Dikya is inspired by local jellyfish colonies and the mythical Visayan merfolk “Kataw”, Dikya advocates marine protection especially against the growing practice of oceanic waste disposal. 

Taking cue from waste reduction and upcycling, this entry made use of manipulated CDs to attain the tentacle decoration surrounding the pair, kept together through vines of rubber coated wires, and a custom hand sculpted resin heel. Noting the tediousness and form of the design, a special panel of technical footwear professionals dubbed the pair as a beautifully constructed creation. Dikya was developed with Filipino footwear company, Gibi Shoes.

Finalist: Juana by Ivan Fabia
Partner Manufacturer: Roweliza Bags and Shoes

Zapateria FFDC Juana

Industrial designer Ivan Fabia highlighted pre-colonial gender roles with his empowering piece, Juana. This tall boot design stood grandiose as one of the Top 5 finalists with its intricate play of local materials and symbolic elements; such as the traditional tattoo patterns of Luzon and Visayas together with the Tongakiling bells of Mindanao. 

Juana is a representation of powerful femininity, as how Filipina women were deemed community warriors and tribal leaders. Together with partner maker Roweliza, Juana is crafted with a scrap leather mosaic atop a body of gold. Further showcasing its Filipino inspiration, the design also bears the use of local solihiya abaca and rattan weaving as part of its concept accent. 

Finalist: Kinse by Hannah Algario
Partner Manufacturer: MilDim Handcrafted

Zapateria FFDC Kinse

is a heartwarming concept created by spotlighting urban handicrafts. Hannah Algario, a student from Eastern Visayas State University, took inspiration from her experience growing up in Manila where she witnessed young street vendors selling handmade rags for only fifteen pesos. Kinse represents the hard work of the marginalized to make a living for their families and the hope they have for their craft.

The design aims to inspire people to start progressive changes to help those in need, especially the poverty-stricken who were forced to live on the streets. Together with partner manufacturer MilDim Handcrafted, Kinse was created with actual handwoven fabric rags personally prepared by the designer.
In addition to these winners, five more designers were able to land a spot in the semi-finals, namely Ardentine by Kim Panao, Anilao Sunset by Janerry Corpuz, Bakunawa by Ferry Villamil, Bente Uno by Kristine Masongsong, and S by Camille Albarracin.

Further advocating Filipino identity toward sustainable futures, FFDC 2022 also featured non-competing showpiece creations from local footwear enterprises to highlight their expertise in design from a sustainable retail perspective. Each footwear display is considered to be marketable products of each enterprise, setting the tone that they too advocate for holistic preservation of Filipino identity through local craftsmanship. 

FFDC Zapateria Blackwing
The Renato Derby by Buddy Tan, Made by Blackwing

FFDC Zapateria Rico Sta Ana
Neo-Lit by Rico Sta. Ana, Made with Zapateria

FFDC Zapateria Glice Batulan
Kanto Kanto by Glice Batulan, Made with Zapateria

Capping off this FFDC 2022 was a realization that many Filipinos are proud of their shared identity and that their personal advocacies are driven by their aspiration to uphold local ingenuity. The next generation of footwear creatives use their talents to send a message that goes beyond themselves, rather pushing for a future that is grounded and progressive. Initiatives such as the Filipino Footwear Design Competition serve as an avenue not only for up and coming designers to display their creations, but also for Filipinos to showcase their capabilities as ingenious and resilient creatives. 

As the world begins to go back to normal, there is an opportunity for Filipino craft to partake in the global movement towards sustainability; securing a place for Filipino identity and representation in the future. 

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