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Filipino Designer Thian Rodriguez Wins At The International Footwear Design Competition In China

"Pride Month", the time of the year where gender equality is highlighted, and celebrated by our friends in the LGBTQIA+ community. Another type of pride is celebrated this month too, and that's of Filipino pride—a time when our celebration of independence goes way beyond the 12th of June. 

We take look at the achievements we made as a nation both local and beyond, and for us in the fashion industry, we take a harder look at what our country has achieved creatively. First off on our list of achievers is Thian Rodriguez, a young Filipino designer who has recently made waves for his winning entry at the International Footwear Design Competition held in China. 



To find out more about this amazing achievement and the awesome designer behind this creation, scroll ahead...


Tell us about yourself as a designer. What is your signature aesthetic?

I started in the year 2012, with a background in fashion design, multimedia arts, and theatre arts. My concepts are rooted by the brave and confident women who are unafraid to express themselves.

I started to make a niche in the Philippine fashion industry when I won as the first grand winner of Red Box Design Talents for apparel category on year 2015, a competition and design development program initiated by the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM). I was mentored by Ms. Lulu Tan-Gan, Ms. Marian Pastor-Roces and Mr. Budji Layug. In this competition I mastered my modern and edgy aesthetic in leathers and metals. I represented the Philippines at the International Fashion Showcase 2016 (IFS), a festival of emerging designers organized by the British Council and the British Fashion Council during London Fashion Week which was held at the Somerset House, London, United Kingdom in February 2016.

Last October 2018, I was recognized as one of the “100 Hottest Filipino Designers” around the globe at the Illustrado Magazine Dubai 12th year anniversary issue.

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Inside The Pampanga Atelier Of Mak Tumang, The Designer Of Catriona Gray's Iconic Gowns!


Who are your celebrity clients if any? Where do you design now?

To name a few of my celebrity clients/muses, Nadine Lustre, KZ Tandingan and Popstar Royalty, Sarah Geronimo. I work with them for their concerts and red carpet outfits.


Tell us about the competition. 

The Filipino Footwear Design Competition (National) is an annually design competition held by the Philippine Footwear Federation Inc. (PFFI Inc.), co-presented by DTI Marikina, Shoe Artisans Society and Zapateria under Unyx Sta Ana. Eight finalists was chosen to compete for the national competition. My fellow Filipino contestants were Alexis Pingol, Joel Wijangco, Julia Macaranas, Nicco Pintac, Steffy de Mylo and Vaughn Michael Buri. Each contestant was partnered and mentored by the Shoe Artisans Society. My partner guild was Joco Comendador and manufactured by Joco Comendador Footwear+Art and Risque Designs Manufacturing by Tal De Guzman. I was ranked at 3rd place.


Luckily, all finalists were given the chance to represent the Philippines at the 11th International Footwear Design Competition (IFDC 2019) last May in Guangzhou, China. I topped the “Female Trendy” category and grabbed the Xinhaopan Group Silver Award for over-all. This is the highest place the Philippines has reached so far in this competition. I received 2 trophies and a cash price of more than USD 4,000. It was a great honor to represent our country in an international platform!


Tell us about your entry. What inspired you?

MAGDALENA. It’s a different perspective of societal stigma. Beneath the surface of what she does, is a woman who lives a hand-to-mouth existence, and who finds ways to survive in an unconventional way—this is what her character portrays. Despite the belittling shame that her job speaks of, she manages to wear it like a badge of honor. It is the source of her strength that embellishes her with a unique kind of dignity. This is what the bullets and the color represents. The belief that her profession doesn’t render her a victim of circumstances is the kind of forward thinking being achieved by “MAGDALENA”. She is a warrior in her own way. After all, giving pleasure is a profession; and a woman should not be looked down for doing her job well.

Materials used are genuine cowhide leather in snake skin texture, different bullet rims and brass hardwares. Prouldy made in Marikina City. 



READ: EXCLUSIVE: Everything You Need To Know About Shaina Magdayao's Proudly Filipino Gown At Cannes 2019


What can we look forward to from Thian Rodriguez for the rest of 2019?

I am debuting my shoe line at this year’s ArteFino 2019, under Zapateria, on August 29 - September 1, 2019 at The Fifth at Rockwell. Our main objective is to bring back the glorious days of the shoe industry in Marikina City and to show the best of the best of city’s artisans and craftsmanship. 


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Photos courtesy of Thian Rodriguez