Filipino American artist DJ Javier collaborated with skateboarding shoe company Vans to design three new pairs of kicks celebrating Filipino culture.
Raised in Goleta, California, DJ Javier began developing his artistic career in high school. His bold artworks marry graphic design and fine art and can be found across the nation in cities like Los Angeles and New York.
DJ Javier describes his style as, “graphic designer meets professional doodler meets surf rat meets rap music connoisseur.”
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Vans invited DJ Javier to design a new version of the Sk8-Hi top, Slip-On VR3 SF shoes and Slide-On Sandals.
For the $105 Sk8-Hi top, DJ Javier added the head of an orange and blue carabao — a water buffalo in Tagalog — with a golden nose ring and eyes, snuggled in a bed of orange-eyed skulls. The carabao is striking, contrasted with the blue and white pattern of the shoe. The carabao is a powerful creature in Filipino culture, symbolizing resilience and perseverance.
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A trio of sampaguita, the national flower of the Philippines, is drawn in the same color scheme on the inner ankle of the shoes.
On the sidewall or midsole of the shoes, DJ Javier creates a blue and white graphic pattern inspired by the Philippines flag, alternating the flag’s triangle with the sun and three stars in between the classic checkered pattern of Vans. DJ Javier calls this design fusion, “Checkerbayan.”
For the $85 Surf Slip-On VR3 SF shoes, DJ Javier used the same color scheme as the Sk8-Hi tops. He used the Checkerbayan pattern through the heel and sides of the Slip-On. Two skulls — one on top of each shoe — stare at each other with hollow eyes. The left skull is wearing a salakót, a Filipino straw hat for sun protection, while the right skull resembles Lapulapu, a legendary Filipino warrior hero, with a bandana and long hair.
The sidewalls of the Surf Slip-On VR3 SF shoes have a bright orange “mabuhay” pattern. Mabuhay means “long life” in Tagalog and is typically used as a greeting or toast.
The Slide-On Sandals, which have not yet been released, are the same dark blue as the other two shoes except for the designs on the straps. The left shoe’s strap features two orange aspins, the mixed-breed dog indigenous to the Philippines, in front of a wooden hut. One aspin is on its back legs mid-bark, chained to a post. The other aspin is lying down and looking to the side. On the other shoe’s strap, a skeleton is surfing, suspended under a massive wave. There are palm trees and clouds in both. The Slide-On Sandals are set to release in early July.
The Sk8-Hi top and Slip-On VR3 SF shoes were launched June 12 on Vans’ website and have already sold out in most sizes within a week. Fortunately, another batch of shoes will be released along with the Slide-On Sandals in early July.
Featured Image via Vans x DJ Javier