The Platform Show – a bazaar dedicated to showcase the young Filipino talents in terms of fashion and the arts. It was held at the Ronac Art Center last March 18, 2012. Each booth highlighted unique pieces from promising young designers and artists with different advocacies, styles and flairs. The clothes, bags, shoes, accessories and other articles were all amazing and fresh. When Sarah Meier, one of the organizers, was asked why they used the metaphor of a platform, she answered that the present day youth always had something to say and the platform represents self-expression, passion and conviction (or at least that’s how I understood it). True enough; the venue was swarming with college students and yuppies that tirelessly searched the booths for items that would represent them and their personal cause. I was one of those people. And I found a perfect “sole-mate”.
In a sea of grunge, avant-garde and ghetto-inspired pieces, one booth stood out for me - Manila Sole. Their line of shoes for men are all handcrafted and produced with a genuine Pinoy touch. They even name their collections after Filipino heroes like Rizal, Aguinaldo and Bonifacio. The designs truly reflect the Filipino spirit – simple, relaxed, resilient and enduring. Rex Somera and Noel Lanto, the patriots behind this venture, envision shoes as more than just footwear but also a simple mean to honor the Filipino heritage. But there’s more to these shoes than meets the fashionista eye.
Aside from its outright call for patriotism, another thing that struck me about this brand is its passion and concern for the environment. The soles are made entirely of recycled rubber from trucks and airplane tires (How cool is that?). When that detail was mentioned to me, everything that was said after became a blur. I knew from that point on, I MUST get a pair. Getting one doesn’t just mean supporting a local brand but I know that this small purchase already did a big contribution to the attempt to lessen the wastes produced and contained in the metro.
Colonial mentality is overrated. The creative geniuses with passion and heart for more than the superficial is right here in our backyard. All that was needed for the voice of this cause to be heard is the proper platform. Manila Sole provides a new perspective to fashion, it is more than just a brand; it’s a cause, a campaign, a lifestyle every Filipino should have.
Photo from the Official Fan Page of Manila Sole