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Zapateria co-creates The Future of Handmade at ArteFino 2023

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — In the age of fast-paced lifestyles and cycling fashion trends, where swift digitalization paves the way for opportunities, one may wonder if there is still a place in the future for handmade tradition and craft. Like many customary livelihoods in the Philippines, the art of shoemaking survives today, mostly kept alive to thrive by home-run shoe shops scattered across Marikina City. While patronage and fanfare remain consistent, the hope for its longevity lies in passing the craft on.

Zapateria, the Philippines’ first creative hub for footwear design and development, sees to it that  Filipino shoemaking continues with creative innovation. With the hopes to present local design craftsmanship to the world, the Marikina-based studio acknowledges the importance of innovation to nurture creativity and craft from one generation to another.

This coming August, Zapateria is set to showcase the future of handmade at the most awaited ArteFino Festival 2023. Highlighting the heritage of the Philippine Shoe Capital, the exhibit features how traditional craft has evolved and how it can also be integrated into the digital landscape so that more people can wear shoes with bold-fitting pride. With the motivation to empower and encourage Filipinos to embrace their unique identities and culture, Zapateria invites them to experience and co-create the future of Filipino footwear on August 24 to 27 at the Fifth, Rockwell, Makati City.


Zapateria is crafting futures by paying homage to the late creative shoemaker, Rico Sta. Ana

Headlining the exhibit is a celebration of an artist’s legacy as Zapateria honors the life and creativity of their Chief Maker and 4th Generation Shoe Master, the late Rico Sta. Ana. Hailing from a century-old ancestry of shoemakers since 1887, he spent over six decades practicing the craft in the local industry and presenting Philippine-made footwear around the globe. Ever humble, his greatest passion was being a mentor, teaching his expertise to those who aspire to be makers themselves.

Grounded in his philosophy of sharing his love for shoes with all, Zapateria pays homage to his contributions to the community by making his creativity a beacon to pioneer the creative entrepreneurship of the new generation.  With this, a selection of his most iconic designs will be displayed at the festival including a variety of his favorite concept footwear made during his time as the studio’s lead designer.

Crafting a handmade future for the modern Filipino

As people today grow more diverse and expressive, many have opted to express their creativity in what they wear from head to toe. With the help of technology, the Filipino pasadya experience can become more accessible and seamless for curious patrons. Launching at the ArteFino Festival, Zapateria will be introducing its shoemaking-as-a-service through “Co-Create.” It will be the first digital pasadya for handmade Filipino footwear wherein users can customize their own favorite pairs and easily design their unique mix of colors and styles. 

Each customized pair will be crafted by Marikina Makers on a Made-to-Order basis, ensuring craftsmanship that is worth the wait. Co-Create will open with four customizable flagship shoe designs by Rico Sta. Ana and Zapateria, including the Leonor pumps, Yakap glove shoes, classic Mary Janes, and Chelsea boots. The platform is set to go live on August 24 on Zapateria’s official website.

Much like the people who bare them, feet can come in different shapes and sizes. Ideally, a great pair of shoes can provide both style and comfort; although according to a study, almost 70% of the global population ends up wearing the wrong shoe size. Aside from the usual aches and strains, the cost of tiis ganda can lead to a variety of injuries in the long run.

Exclusively at the ArteFino Festival, Zapateria together with Aetrex Philippines brings an opportunity for the patrons to find out the best bold fit for their Filipino stride with the Albert 2 Foot Scanner, an accurate scanning technology designed to let users know their exact measurements and foot health needs. This special experience will be available for ArteFino patrons during the first two days of the festival on August 24 and 25. In addition, interested patrons may also get special deals on select Zapateria designs and Aetrex Orthotic insoles for scans made on the festival dates.

Zapateria crafting futures by honoring heritage through collaboration

The meeting of minds and passions often results in the creation of the most exquisite works of art. In celebration of Filipino cultural craftsmanship, Zapateria is set to showcase the tandem collection of two heritage makers best known for their dedication to preserving their local artistry. 

“Alab” is a collaboration between 4th generation shoe master Rico Sta. Ana and 2nd generation artist wood sculptor Charming Baldemor. Featuring four art pieces of the Filipino Bakya, this project is an output of intertwining the artistry of the traditional wood sculpting of Paete and Marikina shoemaking. The collection depicts a meaningful study of design and craftsmanship, shedding light on the best work of each collaborating community of makers. 

Each art piece depicts central themes that are inspired by Filipino cultural and societal circumstances. Representing the fervor for hope and peace, the collection serves as the aspired future each creator has for their country. 

Zapateria crafting futures of community from Marikina and beyond

Since its founding, Zapateria has been deeply rooted in ensuring that Filipino shoemaking can secure a fruitful and sustainable future for itself. With a strong lineup of offerings that aim to present the dreams it has for the craft from personalization to sizing, to ways of supporting local, and even to creative traceability and ownership in the digital age, the utmost intention is to inspire Filipinos to be part of the growing community. Zapateria Managing Director Glice Batulan said, “Shoes are made by people for people, we hope that in the future, more will share our love for this craft and be proud to wear shoes that are specially made for them.” 

The studio acknowledges and makes the most out of bringing tradition into the digital space while keeping its soul intact with the hope that through creative innovation, showcasing the future of handmade will draw further appreciation for the craft that has survived over a century and pave ways to pass it on from one generation to the next. 

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