Fil-Am visual artist showcases Pinoy roots, culture with sneaker collaboration

June 13, 2022 - 3:52 PM
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DJ Javier_Vans
Fil-Am visual artist DJ Javier poses with Vans footwear which he designed in this photo on his Instagram on June 10, 2022. (Instagram/_djjavier)

A Filipino-American visual artist collaborated with a popular shoe company to design footwear honoring his Pinoy roots and heritage.

California-based DJ Javier, a visual artist and designer, announced that his collection with Vans is now live worldwide.

The shoe company said that he is a multi-disciplinary artist known for his bold artwork.

“We partnered with him on a pack of silhouettes that honors his roots and intertwines Filipino symbolism with SoCal culture,” it said on an Instagram post.

“SoCal” is short for Southern California, famous for its homegrown surf and skateboard culture.

Javier has designed three footwear, namely a slip-on, high sneakers and Vans slides.

Each design element shows his Filipino culture such as the Filipino flag checkerboard, the carabao (water buffalo), the sampaguita, the rice field worker and the “Nipa Hut.”

The high sneakers have the following design notes:

  • Filipino water buffalo “carabao” representing the hard work and resilience of Filipinos.
  • National flower of the Philippines, sampaguita flower
  • Redesigned Vans checkerboard, “Checkerbayan” utilizing the flag of the Philippines embedded into the artwork.
  • Red, yellow, blue, and off-white colors inspired by the Philippines flag.

Meanwhile, these are the notes with the slip-on:

  • Filipino warrior and rice farm worker skull motifs on the upper.
  • “Mabuhay” Tagolog saying for “long live!” (Used as a greeting or to express good wishes).
  • Redesigned Vans checkerboard, “Checkerbayan” utilizing the flag of the Philippines embedded into the artwork.
  • Red, yellow, blue, and off-white colors inspired by the Philippines flag.

The Vans slides variety, according to Javier, will be available “later this month.”

“This project represents Filipino culture, identity, and Filipino people. It represents the immigrant story,” Javier wrote on his Instagram.

“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’s post entered r/Philippines, a subreddit in the discussion website dedicated to Filipinos and all things about the country.