Annie & Lori's Faith Mijares Is The Filipino Shoe Designer We Can't Wait To See More Of
Just as every pair of shoes designed by Faith Mijares fits all her customers like their very own glass slipper, her growing success is something that this designer can slip into with perfect ease.
It's been four years since this designer on-the-rise established Annie & Lori, yet the amount and extent of the admiration and recognition she's received make it feel like her brand has been around for much longer. Faith's impressive clientele emphasizes her whirlwind journey to the top, too; anyone from Filipina Victoria's Secret model Kelsey Merritt to model Mari Jasmine, super celebrity mom Judy Ann Santos, blogger and influencer Laureen Uy, beauty queen Kylie Verzosa, TV host Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, fellow designer and digital creative Kim Jones, and actresses Iya VIllania and Bianca King are massive fans of her designs.
In case you've yet to discover this proudly Pinoy shoe label and the creative visionary behind its super stylish kicks, here's everything you need to know about them:
"The brand started out as a personal project. When my grandparents passed away, I knew I had to channel my sentiments to something productive and creative. I have ventured into other types of business in the past but this time, I followed my passion and started something I really love. I named the brand after my grandparents Annie and Lori, two special people in my life who inspired me to start the business," reminisces Faith, founder, owner, and now full-time head designer of Annie & Lori.
Beginning with online selling and bazaars, Faith took big chances with the products she was offering—top-quality leather sandals, slip-ons, and mules that weren't just reasonably priced, but also durable yet beautiful, timeless yet statement-making.
She unassumingly brought her love for shoes and fashion-turned-passion project to Manila's most discerning with every opportunity she got, and lo and behold, became so popular, so much so that Faith left her covetable managerial position at a multinational firm to concentrate on her now thriving business.
Now that she's fully immersed in Annie & Lori, Faith is happy to share that her risk-taking was well worth it.
"We’ve been receiving a lot of overwhelming positive feedback about the brand, but the most common would be how the product was well-made. They love the clean aesthetics and the quality. Our customers appreciate the beauty of simplicity and minimalism in our products. The best compliment as of this moment is how the brand is at par with global brands," beams Faith.
It comes to no suprirse that uncompromised quality is among the first things one notices about Annie & Lori shoes, given that Faith is extra picky about where she sources her raw materials; only export quality local leather is used, which then serves a double purpose—Annie & Lori's final products aren't just impressive, but help promote the local leather industry, too.
Coupling non-negotiable quality standards with how she draws inspiration from her personal fashion favroties like Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney, the Olsen sisters' The Row, Céline Paris, and even natural elements like landscapes, the ocean, and the very people she sees, what Faith ends up with is a foolproof formula for wearable, elegant, and versatile shoes beloved by women of every kind.
She has had collaborations with fellow artists, like New York-based Peter Xandrix who worked on Annie & Lori's well-received handpainted limited edition. Recognizable images of palm trees, lilies, hibiscus blooms, and birds of paradise were featured on some of Annie & Lori's best-selling shoes, immortalizing the energy of summer with every brush stroke, thoughtful detail, and color combination.
Overall, if each Annie & Lori shoe feels like it has its own personality, your gut feel was right. Faith explains, " I give emphasis on the story of the design and think of how we can be able to transcend that story into our customers."
More than the personal sucesses Faith and her team have been enjoying as of late, what truly motivates Faith to keep going is how her brand has unintentionally—yet pleasantly—contributed to something all her customers know of and support: women empowerment.
"At the end of the day, our key goal is creating an impact into women’s lives—how a pair can make someone happy, empowered, confident, and travel the world with full enthusiasm," Faith reflects.
With every pair of shoes sold, the transaction always goes beyond being an economic exchange of goods and money; in Faith's eyes, it's her own little way of giving women reason to love their style and be their truest selves. It's amazing how a simple pair can be a source of self-assuredness every woman needs to be able to conquer the world.
Photos from @vafmijares