ALL sneakers.

It was three years ago, during the pandemic, when Lakat owners Mike and Banj Claparols invited me to join the shoe brand’s sustainability, artisanal, slow and conscious fashion journey. My whole being immediately aligned with excitement. During those days, when everything seemed to be in a haze, the opportunity came as clear as glass. Instinctively, I sensed something magical, purposeful and food for the soul. In a heartbeat, I said yes.

I’ve known Mike and Banj through the artisanal trade shows when our brands (I also do creative stuff with other provincial brands) would join together.  In one Habi event, Mike told me, “We will be working together in the future.  I don’t know yet what it is, but for sure we will be working.”  Those words struck like lightning in the blank slates in my head (think Ten Commandments) like words of manifestation, and here we are today, almost three years later.

On our first meeting, which lasted a good four to five hours, I think, we discussed about the brand origins, people involved, relevance and contribution to various communities, but most importantly, the style. At first, we only had the high tops, then classics, followed by the slip-ons. We discussed other style options like platforms, color blockings, textures, multicolored soles and artist collaboration. Art is always part of the equation.  One of the biggest issues of fashion that has always been swept under the rug is it’s being art. 

It’s my first collaboration with a shoe brand. And I believe in Lakat’s objectives and their sustainability.

Fashion as art has always been a matter of question and a never-ending debate. Those that do exist are considered couture, too expensive, most are displayed in museums, and generally pieces you can barely wear. Lakat addresses this by handpicking and collaborating with three young global Filipino artists, namely, Dex Fernandez as Garapata, Liliana Manahan and Ras Trinidad as Doktorkarayom. 

Why them? Each artist has his or her own distinct, iconic character — an expression of uniqueness, individuality and creative style — that can be imprinted on the shoe which serves as their blank canvas. It is about adding some sense of realism, or giving life to something from the drawing board to the streets. It is breathing art into fashion as seen in everyday wear.

What makes this fusion of fashion and art special?  Each artist has something to say. 

Ras says, “Sobrang espesyal nito dahil ito ang pinakauna kong official na sapatos na likha eh kumbaga ito ang ‘the creation of man’ ko pagdating sa ganitong project…hindi lang kasi siya customized eh…as in pag-tinanong ako pag naging sapatos ako…ganito itsura talaga na lalabas…simple na makulit at pangharabas (This shoe is very special because it’s my very first official creation – something like my ‘creation of man’ when it comes to this project…it’s not just about a customized shoe…if I were asked what I would be as a hoe, this would be it – simple, full  of energy and outdoorsy).”

Dex adds, “It’s my first collaboration with a shoe brand. And I believe in Lakat’s objectives and their sustainability.” 

For Liliana, “This collab is definitely special because it is all crafted and ideated locally. The product is a clean, usable piece with a lot of research on material and thought in how to present it in a palatable way.” 

Meeting everyone involved has made the project more special, the collective energy and synergy having an effect.


Ras ends, “Na makilala ko mismo may ari ng Lakat, yung gumagawa, yung namamahala (ikaw, sir Luis ) at syempre yung mga kasama kong artist. Hindi lang naman ako sabik na matapos gawa ko kundi sabik din akong makita yung finished product nung kapwa ko artist at tinititngnan ko din yung reaksyon. Yung sabay sabay tayong namangha sa kinalabasan ng sapatos. Para kang nakakita ng bata na ipinanganak sa pinyahan, ganun ang pakiramdam That I have personally met the people behind Lakat, and the artisans [and you, sir Luis], and of course my fellow artists. I’m not just excited to finish the work but also to see the finished products of my fellow artists and I also want to see their reactions. That together we would wonder at the actual shoes. It would be much like seeing kids born, that’s how it feels).”