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We're Refreshing Our Shoe Closet With Pairs From The Local Zapateria Collaboratory

We're taking mental note to catch them at the Artefino 2019 this coming weekend!

When it comes to shoes, we know that we ladies can get super picky about what works for us. More often than not, we end up going for the same style, brand, and color, just because it already works. But there comes a time in our lives when we just want to shake things up and get out of a style rut. That time is now! With so many vibrant, booming fashion businesses locally, it's pretty hard to not sit up and take notice.

Enter Zapateria Collaboratory, a local collective of new generation shoe designers and makers that cultivates Filipino talent to cater to today's discerning market. The Zapateria "aims to foster creativity, innovation, and heritage in shoemaking. It serves as a workshop/playground for aspiring makers and designers, and be able to connect them to market. 

The Zapateria Collaboratory

A venue for aspiring designers and entrepreneurs, Zapateria hones budding shoe design talent and nurtures them to achieve greater heights through collaboration, co-creation, and exchanging of values.

In February of 2018, a creative hub in a suburban area served as the melting pot of shoe creativity for talents all over the city. Founded by father-daughter tandem Rico Sta. Ana and Unyx Sta. Ana, they had a common goal of continuing what their family started in the 1880s—the art of shoemaking.

Rico and Unyx' forefathers played a crucial role in the Marikina shoe industry growth during its heyday, and it is with renewed vision that they would like to continue this legacy of shoemaking today. The father-daughter duo decided that it was time to open their doors and help pave the way for other shoe design aspirants, to help impart their craft to a new breed of talent, to reawaken the interest in shoemaking beyond their bloodline.

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For the Sta. Anas, shoemaking runs thick in their bloodline and it is inevitable for another shoemaker to sprout from the tree. Eighteen year old Camiela Sta. Ana or Janel as how she is called at home is the 6th generation prodigy of the Sta. Anas. Inheriting the passion for shoes from her grandfather, Rico, she dove into the world of shoes head on. She started working on her own designs at the age of sixteen, noting that she has always been fascinated with shoes and fashion as a child. Growing up as a young creative, Janel often found herself sketching art on scrap pieces of paper, dreaming to one day be able to make those ideas into real wearable pieces. With the support of her grandfather, she was introduced to Zapateria’s artisan Riza Soriano who became her mentor so she can learn about the craft from design to finishing the entire pair of court shoes. According to Janel, being part of the Sta. Ana bloodline is something to be proud of. “I am proud that I came from a family of shoemakers, it is one of my goals to become one as well. I would like to continue the legacy and inspire people to learn the art of shoemaking,” Janel states. Unyx Sta. Ana, co-founder of Zapateria, the only daughter of Rico and Janel’s aunt, notes that their family’s shoemaking heritage plays a great role in their lives as it makes up a lot of who they are. She states that the heritage of shoemaking that is rooted from her forefathers is the only family wealth they so treasure that in itself weighs more than anything else. In this light, she hopes to be able to keep shoemaking relevant today and tomorrow. For her, this craft beats with a living heart that transcends beyond bloodline as it should be passed on to all of those who are willing enough to go through the journey of learning and embracing the beautiful yet complex world of footwear. #StepIntoMarikina #ZapateriaArtisanry

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While the Zapateria is based in the shoe capital of Marikina, the talents hail from all over the country—from Makati, Laguna, Cebu, to further south in Davao. These designers and makers believe that "it is important to maintain the traditional practice of the craft while also being able to innovate it to match the modernity of the industry."

In this collective, collaboration is key. Sharing and imparting knowledge about shoemaking is of utmost importance, encouraging its members to teach and learn valuable skills and know-how. They are pushed to achieve new heights as well, having joined projects such as the 6th Filipino Footwear Design Competition together with the Philippine Footwear Federation, Inc. (PFFI), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Shoe Artisans Society (SAS). 

Step Into Marikina

This year, Zapateria's campaign aptly dubbed "Step into Marikina" will make its much-awaited debut at the ArteFino 2019 come August 29 to September 1 at The Fifth at Rockwell in Makati. This campaign "highlights the past, present, and future of the Philippine Shoe Capital." 

Zapateria, along with another Marikina based group Stride Collective, started the initiative to bring the city to a better light through their shared values and dreams for Marikina.

With this initiative, they hope to encourage more shoe businesses to grow nationwide, mobilizing a movement that brings back the wonder for exceptionally made shoes.

At the ArteFino this coming weekend, Zapateria joins as an exhibitor with much excitement and passion! Apart from their women's designs, Zapateria also joins The Barracks, a for-men section at the fair. Expect to see shoe designs by designers Rico Sta. Ana, Buddy Tan, Motherland, and Zapateria featured artist-maker Mara Pinon at The Barracks.

Mara Pinon

Check out more designs from talented Zapateria designers below:

The ArteFino fair will be held on the 29th of August to September 1st, 2019 at The Fifth at Rockwell, R5 Level, Power Plant Mall. #StepintoMarikina #ZapateriaCollaboratory