Visual Artist Fil-Am Showcases Pinoy Roots, Culture With Sneaker Collaboration

DJ Javier_Vans
Fil-Am visual artist DJ Javier poses with the Vans shoes he designed in this photo on his Instagram on June 10, 2022. (Instagram/_djjavier)

A Filipino-American visual artist has collaborated with a popular shoe company to design shoes that honor his Pinoy roots and heritage.

Based in California DJ Javiervisual artist and designer, announced that his collection with Vans is now available worldwide.

The shoe company said he was a multidisciplinary artist known for his bold works.

“We’ve partnered with him on a silhouette pack that honors his roots and blends Filipino symbolism with SoCal culture,” he said on a Instagram post.

“SoCal” is short for Southern California, famous for its local surfing and skateboarding culture.

Javier has designed three shoes, namely a Vans slip-on, high-top sneakers and slides.

Each design element shows their Filipino culture, such as the Filipino flag checkerboard, the carabao (water buffalo), the sampaguita, the rice field worker and the “Nipa Hut”.

The high sneakers have the following design notes:

  • Filipino “carabao” water buffalo representing the hard work and resilience of Filipinos.
  • National flower of the Philippines, sampaguita flower
  • Redesigned Vans checkerboard, “Checkerbayan” using the Philippines flag embedded in the artwork.
  • Red, yellow, blue and off-white colors inspired by the flag of the Philippines.

In the meantime, these are the notes with the slip on:

  • Filipino warrior and farm worker skull motifs on the upper.
  • “Mabuhay” Tagolog saying “long life!” (Used as a greeting or to express good wishes).
  • Redesigned Vans checkerboard, “Checkerbayan” using the Philippines flag embedded in the artwork.
  • Red, yellow, blue and off-white colors inspired by the flag of the Philippines.

The Vans variety of slides, according to Javier, will be available “later this month.”

“This project represents Filipino culture, identity and people. It represents the history of immigration,” Javier wrote on his Instagram.

“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’s message came in r/Philippinesa discussion site subreddit dedicated to Filipinos and all things related to the country.

Briana R. Cross