Negrense shoe brand gets DTI’s Good Design Award



Homegrown shoe brand, Lakat Sustainable Sneakers, was among the recipients of the prestigious Good Design Award Philippines of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recently.

The DTI, through the Design Center of the Philippines, bestowed the Negrense show brand and four others the Good Design Award under the Object Making category.

“If there is one emotion our winning entry can convey, it is hope. Lakat Sustainable Sneakers embodies the hope for a future where fashion and sustainability co-exist harmoniously,” co-founder Michael Claparols said upon receiving the award.

The winners of the Good Design Award Philippines 2024. | DTI photo

The homegrown sustainable sneaker brand also took home the Green Award, an accolade given to projects, products, or services that represent that highest level of sustainable design.

“By using eco-friendly materials and supporting local communities, we aim to inspire a positive change in the industry and show that it is possible to create stylish, high-quality products without compromising our planet’s well-being.”

The department recognized a total of 32 awardees across five categories, namely, object making, material innovation, image making, systems and service design, and place making.

Winner Lakat Sustainable and the other entries were judged in their products’ form, function, innovation, user experience, and “malasakit”.

The Design Center of the Philippines, in a statement, shared, “This year, we received 204 entries from around the country. Since we launched the Good Design Award Philippines in 2019, we have gained significant traction and expanded our reach to as far as Tawi-Tawi.”

According to the jury, “Lakat Sustainable sneakers are a welcome alternative to bulky athletic shoes made from synthetic or animal-based materials. This product is light on the feet, handmade from natural fibers and farmed rubbers, and has a simple, pared-down look that makes it versatile.”

“The company’s focus on mindful sustainability extends beyond the product, to the solar-powered production process involving local weavers, to the packaging, which is made from agricultural waste.”

Winners of the Good Design Award Philippines are automatically considered for the Good Design Award Japan, which will happen on Aug. 7 and 8 at Chiba, Japan.

Humble, sustainable beginning

Lakat founders Michael and Banj Claparols receiving the trophies from the Good Design Award Philippines 2024.

When Lakat Sustainable Sneakers was launched in 2021, the social enterprise endeavored to create high-quality sneakers utilizing a supply chain that was 100 percent local, ethical, and eco-conscious.

Engaging local communities of farmers, weavers, and shoemakers was also integral to the brand’s journey in sustainable design.

Founders Michael and Banj Claparols said, “The Philippines is the world’s second biggest producer of pineapples second to Costa Rica. It is the biggest producer in Asia. This is an industry that supports a lot of communities across the country.”

It also happens that the leaves from pineapples are typically unused, and are often discarded as waste.

“Our goal was to find meaningful and relevant uses for this abundance of discarded pineapple leaves. In doing so, we are able to help farmers earn additional income. The big idea is to create value from discarded pineapple leaf fibers through material innovation and product development,” they added.

Homegrown shoe brand, Lakat Sustainable Sneakers, wins the Good Design Award Philippines 2024 for Object Making and the Green Award for sustainable design excellence.

In partnership with the Philippine Textile Research Institute’s (PTRI) Technology Business Incubation Program, the socio-eco enterprise gained access to technology that would allow them to produce sustainable yarns and fabrics using Philippine pineapple leaf fibers.

After the yarns are pre-treated, spun and dyed at the PTRI, these materials are then sent to the Negros 9 Weaving Community in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.

The Lakat founders added: “Our brand is largely defined and fueled by a complete production value chain. The rubbers we use are sourced from family-run farms in Mindanao. We also work closely with shoe makers to assemble our sneakers in San Mateo, Rizal.”

Throughout the entire production process of Lakat Sustainable Sneakers, over 200 families have benefitted from the homegrown brand’s operations. | KBC