MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-American visual artist DJ Javier has collaborated with footwear brand Vans to honor his Pinoy roots.
Vans said in a statement that the artist was chosen for his bold, multi-disciplinary artwork and for representing SoCal, or Southern California, culture.
“We’ve partnered with him on a silhouette pack that honors his roots and blends Filipino symbolism with SoCal culture,” he said in an Instagram post.
Javier wrote on his Instagram, “This project represents Filipino culture, identity and people. It represents the history of immigration.
“The first image shown here is my father, Liberato Javier, and myself. He immigrated here with my mother from the Philippines in the early 80s, leaving everything behind to go to an unknown place to hopefully give his family a better future,” he added.
“He had big aspirations for his children, and seeing his son become an artist was not his first choice. But here now, my father and I wear the shoes I designed, representing our history and our people, with one of the biggest footwear companies in the world,” said Javier.
“My dad is now my biggest fan and supporter, and I am honored to tell our story and hope to encourage the many Filipinos, Asian Americans and first generation immigrants who share this same story,” continued the artist.
Javier has created three models of shoes for Vans: slip-ons, high-top sneakers and Vans slides.
Each of the design elements shows symbols of Filipino culture such as the carabao (water buffalo), the sampaguita, the Philippine flag checkerboard, the paddy field worker and the “Nipa Hut”.
The high top sneakers have a Filipino water buffalo “carabao”, which represents the hard work and resilience of Filipinos. Each pair also features design elements of the sampaguita flower, the national flower of the Philippines. The Vans checkerboard has also been redesigned as the “Checkerbayan” to use the flag of the Philippines embedded in the artwork. While the red, yellow, blue and off-white hues were inspired by the flag of the Philippines.
Javier’s Vans slip-ons feature Filipino warrior and farm worker skull designs on the upper. The Tagalog word “Mabuhay” is featured. According to DJ, different variations of the slide variety will be available “later this month.”
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