LAKAT Collaborates with Local Artists for Limited Edition LakArt Sneakers

February 9, 2024

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By 

Elle Yap

Sustainable sneaker company LAKAT announced the release of a limited edition collaboration with three local artists. LakArt sneakers, released in February to coincide with National Arts Month, combines the artists’ unique styles into a comfortable and usable shoe.

The collection features art from Doktor Karayom (a.k.a., Russell Trinidad), Lilianna Manahan, and Garapata (a.k.a., Dex Fernandez). The three contemporary artists were offered the collaboration due to LAKAT’s desire to push sustainable and accessible shoe art to the masses. 

“Seldom do we hear it as being perceived as art. And when we are presented with wearable art, it is often made such that it is expensive, elusive, and something that we cannot easily access or enjoy,” Luis Espiritu, the brand’s Consulting Creative Director, said. 

The goal of LakArt is to show that fashionable art sneakers can still be usable by consumers on a day-to-day basis. “It is accessible, functional, practical yet creatively fun,” Espiritu said. 

LakArt: Sustainable Shoe Art

Beige LakArt sneakers with red laces by Doktor Karayom.
Blue LakArt sneakers by Lilianna Manahan.

The artists had full creative control over their shoes’ designs. LAKAT worked with the artists’ ambitions to make sure their ideas were feasible. As Doktor Karayom shared, LakArt challenged the company’s suppliers with regards to how to bring the visions to life. 

“Nasubukan din ang limit ng suppliers sa hanggang saan ang kaya nilang ibigay or gawin based doon sa material na kailangan namin at yung requirement namin,” the artist shared. 

LAKAT as a brand is well-known for its use of local, sustainable sources for their sneakers. Their sneakers are all hand-woven with Pineapple Cotton Blend sourced from Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental. The rubber they use is sourced from Mindanao. For anyone looking for a vegan-friendly and environmentally-conscious brand, this is it. 

“Maganda ang brand ng Lakat because they support sustainability and locally-made naman. Ang feeling na 100% pure Pinoy yung talent sa sapatos,” Garapata said. 

The Artist’s Concepts

Lilianna Manahan, Garapata (a.k.a., Dex Fernandez), and Doktor Karayom (a.k.a., Russell Trinidad) and their LakArt sneakers.
From left to right: Lilianna Manahan, Garapata (a.k.a., Dex Fernandez), and Doktor Karayom (a.k.a., Russell Trinidad) and their LakArt sneakers.

Garapata describes his shoe’s design idea as an “infestation” of his signature character to the shoe. 

“Sa akin, garapata. Yun yung brand ko. And the idea of infestations. Parang infested shoe yung nagyari sa kanya. Titignan mo yung sole, may face. Parang yung shoe ay naging garapata na,” he said. 

Doktor Karayom’s design, meanwhile, shows the aftermath of a shoe stepping in the territory of wild engkantos.

“So para kang nakatapak ng laman-lupa or engkato tapos biglang may mga tumubong mga ano-ano. Especially bulaklak ang ginamit ko para medyo sweet naman ang itsura niya. Storytelling lang din.”

Meanwhile, Lilianna Manahan’s artwork approaches the materials of LAKAT to design something usable for the brand. She then added her signature character, Clarence, a bird who goes through little misadventures daily. 

“I play a lot with sculpted paper and I like sketching, so those are the two things I incorporated in my design of the LAKAT sneaker. I use a lot of sculpted paper to [kind of] mock-up different designs that would work well with the fabric they have,” she said. 

Challenges of Creating LakArt Sneakers

However, the artists themselves encountered challenges in their attempts to put their vision on the sneakers, from having to work with suppliers, to making a workable shoe based on their  visions.

“Since this is my first time doing a sneaker, there is so much you have to think about because it’s really gonna be in close contact with a person,” Manahan said. “So, I really had to think about usability, what everyone will like—not just what I’ll wear. My challenge was to keep the essence of my work but keep it palatable for more people. So, it’s a lot of cutting down for me, because I like a lot of detail.”

“Inisip ko rin ang durability ng sapatos. Kaya pinili ko ang silkscreen print dahil feeling ko, matibay siya compared sa ibang type,” Doktor Karayom said. 

Opening Doors for Further Art-Fashion Collabs

Light brown LakArt sneakers with teal laces by Lilianna Manahan.
Beige LakArt sneakers with white laces by Garapata.
Beige LakArt sneakers with white laces by Garapata.

The artists are hoping that the LakArt collaboration will open doors for other fashion brands to collaborate with artists for designs. More than that, there is hope that the project will push artists and companies to work using local, sustainable materials.

“I think, just the fact na it can be done and people see that it is done—you know, when you see someone starting something, not everyone’s the first to try it, so at least, if one person starts something like this, like, highlights Philippine material, craftsmanship, and artists, you know, other would be encouraged to do the same,” Manahan said.

Read more: Artist Dex Fernandez starts creative ‘infestation’ at Art in the Park 2020

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