Meet the Filipino creatives designing highly coveted sneakers
Sneaker culture has exploded in the Philippines over the past decade, with collectors known to shell over six figures for covetable pairs. In 2022, sneaker sales hit around $56 million in the Philippines alone, with projected figures marking a continuous increase.
Just a few years ago, it seemed like sneakerheads had to jump through hoops to get their hands on so-called holy grails. However, these days, it’s as easy as walking into the Jordan Brand flagship store in Bonifacio Global City, or one of the many branches of Sole Academy and Commonwealth around the city.
The international industry is also taking note of Philippine interest and local talent. Global powerhouse brands like Nike and Adidas are tapping local talents to produce special edition collaborations.
Below, discover the designer sneaker collaborations with Filipinos that you should know about:
Chi Loyzaga Gibbs
The highly-touted collaboration between The Jordan Brand and Titan is designed by Filipino creative Chi Loyzaga Gibbs. Dropping on October 21, Gibbs is releasing her very own version of the Air Jordan 2 Lows in a white, green, and orange colorway with a speckled midsole as an ode to her grandfather Carlos “Caloy” Loyzaga, known as King Caloy to his fans. Gibbs’ six-foot-three-tall grandfather paved the way for the golden age of Philippine basketball in the 1950s.
Oregon-based designer Kevin Reyes is living many sneaker fans’ dreams—designing sneakers for Nike. When he’s not designing innovative pairs for the company or the latest editions of the Airmax, he’s crafting special edition NBA shoes such as the Giannis Immortality and Kobe Bryant signature shoes.
Visual artist Greg Gulesarian, otherwise known by his moniker Egg Fiasco, is known for his urban-themed neo-graffiti artworks that often combine figures from pop culture, folk themes, and tattoo art. The Iloilo-born artist was tapped by Adidas last year along with several other Asian artists to design his own version of the Adidas Ultraboost DNA City Pack. What resulted was a sneaker that referenced ’90s video games, as well as his own work and subtle elements of the Philippine flag.
Filipino-American multidisciplinary artist DJ Javier was tapped by skatewear and surf company Vans for a special edition version of their classic high-top skate shoes. Javier included Filipino design elements, such as a checkerboard flag, carabao, and sampaguita, as a nod to his heritage and immigrant story.
The half Filipino, half African-American stylist, model, and blogger made history as one of two women to ever design Nike sneakers and the first woman of Filipino descent. She also became the first woman to create a unisex Air Jordan in 2017, and has gone on to collaborate with multiple brands since then. Her designs often feature an ode to her heritage and her parents. Her Air Jordan 1 Satin Shadow’s featured a nod to the corduroy slippers of her father, while her Air Jordan 1 Court Lux’s were designed in collaboration with WNBA star Maya Moore.