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This shoe design is inspired by Rambo, a kalesa horse

When we talk about Intramuros, it is hard not to include kalesas in the conversation. Riding one inside the historic spot is an experience, with its colorful designs and coachman providing stories and information to tourists. But in the past, kalesas had been put on the hot seat as animal welfare groups because of their horses, which were deemed overworked and under poor health conditions.

These horses were the inspiration behind Ivan Fabia’s shoe design. Showcased at the recently concluded Filipino Footwear Design Competition 2023 (FFDC), his creation paid homage to the silhouette of the famous local horse-drawn carriages and the experience of the animals pulling them.

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Ivan Fabia’s ‘Rambo’ (Mentor: Unyx Sta. Ana | Manufacturer: Risque Manufacturing)

Dubbed “Rambo,” a name hailed from an actual kalesa horse, the shoes were made of plant-based leather materials from the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI). Ivan worked with mentor Unyx Sta. Ana and the artisans of Risque Manufacturing to make his vision come to life. His design featured kalesa wheels for heels, real horseshoes on its base, and inner soles with stone-like texture to mimic the horses’ experience as they roamed the city’s roads. Adding charm to the design are its gold embellishments and the name Rambo written in Baybayin.

As a former student of Mapua University, Ivan had seen what these horses go through every day. And through his design, he wanted to let people know about the animals’ role in Philippine culture and that they should get proper care.

“Going back to the competition’s theme of ‘Paa-hon,’ which means ‘progress’ and ‘moving up,’ for me, progress means no one should be left behind,” Ivan said during his presentation. “In championing Filipino culture and heritage, I want to be the voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Although Ivan failed to become FFDC 2023 grand winner, he took home the Best Storytelling and DOST-PTRI’s Choice awards with his “Rambo” design. To know more about Ivan and his works, visit @ivan.fabia on Instagram.

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Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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