Koh Samui Interview: Filipino Shoe Designer, Joco Comendador

“Medica Materia” by Migotilyo Manila


Spring/Summer 2010 was the year Alexander McQueen shocked the world with his translation of an amphibian alternate world. Since then, the memory of that particular show still remains etched in the memory of many worldwide. Some have attempted on carrying on McQueen’s legacy by producing collections of thought-provoking and highly eccentric pieces. One, though, rises above the common trade of high fashion shoes – and perhaps, in his own way, pays homage to the mindset and aesthetics set by the late Alexander McQueen.


Armadillo Shoes “Königin” (Red) by Joco Comendador

Photo Credit: Armadillo Shoes “Königin” (Red) by Joco Comendador jococomendador.com
Photo Credit (first image): “Medica Materia” by Migotilyo Manila migotilyomanila.wordpress.com

Set in a most unlikely location, Joco Comendador is a Filipino shoe designer that rose in acclaim due to his creations of the most “wearable” killer shoes this country has ever seen. It has stretched as far as garnering international recognition for his exceptionally detailed aesthetics for shoe design. His shoes have walked the runway of equally acclaimed Filipino designers during the local fashion week and are slowly making their way in the global arena. Comendador invokes favorites of pop culture in his designs and as a result, creating unique designs that take inspirations from anime, monsters and even, Pokemon! And that homage to infamous icons popular among the youth set him apart from the late McQueen as it injects his own personality in creating bold and provoking designs.

And while Manila thrives in artistic energy and creative flourish, only the rare few have dared to go further than the common framework. Joco Comendador is a prodigy who is set on making his mark in the world.

I was lucky to be able to have a quick chat with the Manila-based shoe designer, Joco Comendador, who shares a little bit of himself and a little of what we can expect from him in the near future.


"Jilted Brides" by PROJECTRIKA

Photo Credit: “Jilted Brides” projectrika.blogspot.com


Tell us more about your creative background and how you started the path of shoe designing ?

– If by creative background you mean a design/art related education, I have none (except my Aesthetic class), but if by creative background by means of self-teaching I have tons of them. The big reason why I took up the path of shoe designing is because I can’t afford to buy a pair of shoes from a designer I look up to.


Why shoes, in particular? Not clothes or jewelry?

– I am more into architecture, into shape into designs that has a “solid” form. Clothes need a body to wear them in order for them to have a “form”. Shoe on the other hand doesn’t lose it shape whether it has a wearer or not. Jewelry, well i don’t like wearing jewelry. haha I feel heavy when I wear a necklace or watches, etc.


Describe to us your style aesthetic.

– I really don’t know what my style is. I’m very random. Sometime’s I design something simple, the next I design something outrageous. One thing’s for sure though, my designs lately are inspired by pop culture like what I see on TV especially cartoons and Pokemons.

“Valkyrie” Crystal Energy pumps by Joco ComendadoPhoto Credit “Valkyrie” Crystal Energy pumps by Joco Comendador jocomendador.com

Where do your shoe designs take their main inspirations from, whether its fashion, lifestyle, or pop culture?

– Definitely pop culture


What are the influences of your previous collections?

– Lady Gaga until I moved on and delved into other dimensions for inspirations


Who would you love to see wear your shoes in the near future, both local and international?

– Locally: Anyone would do. I’m not picky.

– Internationally: Lady Gaga seems too mainstream now. I’m into Nicky Minaj, Kesha and Katy Perry. Oh, I would love to see Coco Rocha work a pose wearing my shoe designs and the V/S Angels too!


“Lady in the Water” Fashion Spread on Preview Magazine (June 2012) featuring my Blue Pearl pumps and Pink Coral shoes

Photo Credit: “Lady in the Water” Fashion Spread on Preview Magazine (June 2012) featuring Joco’s  Pink Coral shoes jococomendador.com

As a shoe designer, what is your ultimate goal, especially when it comes to establishing yourself in the fashion industry?

– As a designer, my ultimate goal is to let out my creativity; to share my vision with other people; to satisfy myself by making my ideas/sketches into reality – into things that can be touched and worn.


For what audience or kinds of people do you design your shoes for?

– They say only really brave (or crazy) people can wear my shoes. I guess those kind of people. I really don’t care.


When people see Joco shoes, what do you want them to think?

– “Wow, shoes like that exist?!” 


"Feathered Shoes" by Joco Comendador

 Photo Credit: “Feathered Shoes” by Joco Comendador jococomendador.com


What kinds of stores do you usually shop in?

– Clothing stores like Topman, Oxygen, Uniqlo. I also go to shoe stores where they sell women’s shoes like Melissa (my favorite). I unfortunately don’t go to designer stores. I still don’t have the financial capacity to spend on designer stuff. Aside from fashion retail store, I go to food stores. I love food. I love eating.


Where do you usual design? Do you have a design hub where you do all your work?

– One thing’s for sure, I design when I’m bored in class. It all starts there. Boredom gets me get all creative. And one boring class is the perfect place for me to sketch – where I start designing.


Tell us a little something about what we can expect from you and your upcoming collection’s.

– Pokemons


"Crimson" by Joco Comendador

Photo Credit: “Crimson” jococomendador.com
By Marika Callanganprojectrika.blogspot.co.uk
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