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This Filipina Is Introducing Local Artisanal Shoes to the World

Faith Mijares wants everyone to know that Filipino-made shoes are at par with international brands.

by Steph Sison | 6 days ago

"If only most Filipinos would be aware of how great our artisans are, they would definitely beam with pride."

Cultivating a local brand is more than just setting up a business. For Faith Mijares, this meant having a creative outlet, pursuing a dream, and sharing a piece of herself to the world. Her artisanal shoe brand, Annie & Lori, is all these things for her. And her sincerity shines through as she champions locally-made footwear where each pair is made with careful thought, worn by Filipinas in their pursuit of a life well-traveled.

Annie & Lori may have been born out of grief—which served as Faith's personal passion project to help her cope with the passing of her grandparents (whom the business is named after)—but the brand is poised to bring Filipino shoe craftsmanship to the global spotlight. Faith is determined to show that passion, perseverance, and quality pieces will be enough proof that the shoe business in the country is very much alive and continues to thrive. With her innate love for all things local, Faith lands a spot on this year's list of inspiring Filipinas making a difference in the local fashion scene. Below, get to know Faith as she tells us her plans for artisanal shoes and how Annie & Lori can be at par with international shoe brands.

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Silk button-down, P4490, H&M, SM Mega Fashion Hall. Knit dress, P2295, MANGO, Power Plant. Flat mules, ANNIE & LORI, annielori.com

What is Annie and Lori? How did it all start for you?

"Annie & Lori is currently a footwear brand that is proudly made with pure leather, and is meticulously handcrafted by artisans. At the core of our collection are minimalist styles, which evokes timeless elegance and sophistication combined.

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"The brand started out as a personal project. When my grandparents passed away, I knew I had to channel my sentiments to something productive and creative. I have ventured into other types of business in the past but this time I followed my passion and started something I really love. I named the brand after my grandparents, Annie and Lori, two special people in my life who inspired me to start the business."

What is your brand's overall aesthetic? What kind of Filipina are you dressing?

"I would say it’s simple yet beautiful and clean and timeless. We’re committed to delivering 100% pure leather artisanal shoes. 

"The Filipina who wears Annie & Lori is well-traveled. She can pair the sandals with almost everything in her wardrobe and she takes them with her anywhere. The girl who wears Annie & Lori is a style maven who can outlive trends."

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Does your brand have any advocacies? What makes your brand proudly Filipino?

"Empowering the community is our impelling cause. We visualize a locally sustainable trade by training and developing more artisans and providing work opportunities to keep families and communities together.

"It’s proudly Filipino because aside from the local materials, it’s handcrafted by Filipino artisans. If only most Filipinos would be aware of how great our artisans are, they would definitely beam with pride."


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Why do you think it's important to cultivate a local brand?

"It’s important to cultivate a local brand because Filipino craftsmanship is top-notch! It is at par or even better with other global brands.

"I honestly envy other countries who highly favour their own homegrown brands because they believe in it. I know it’ll take a while in our country but I do hope with brands like us and other great Filipino brands, one day we can be able to beam with pride as we use or wear homegrown brands."

What initial impressions did you have about having an online business and what has changed now?

"When I started the business online, I thought going online will be enough. But the demand for retail was there, and in return we wanted to reach out to our followers and make our products even more accessible, and since then we have been growing both online and retail."

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How would you describe today's Filipina in terms of fashion?

"I would say today’s Filipina is more experimental. She doesn’t just go with the trend. She wears a brand that will make her feel empowered. As one of our customers would say, 'I look at every pair of Annie and Lori and the first thing that comes to my mind are stories told—could be a story of hope, motivation, and dreams come true.' That's why I felt like sharing a bit of my journey and associate it in a way to what your brand is all about—a celebration of class, simplicity, style, femininity, and strength."


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What do you envision for your brand in the coming years?

"I’d always wanted to showcase to the world how great Filipino craftsmanship is, hence it’ll be great if more foreigners get to wear and appreciate the brand (which is quite starting to happen right now with our expansion in Australia)."

Please tell us something about yourself. Apart from growing your online business, what else do you do during your spare time?

"I was at the peak of my 10-year corporate career in a Multinational Company but decided to give that up and fully focus on Annie & Lori last year.

"My parents’ hometown is in Aklan—where Boracay is! So if time permits, I go there to relax and unwind. I love learning new things too! I take short courses online and offline to be able to fully immerse myself with the world of fashion and arts. I do travel as well from time to time to be able to learn other countries’ culture and get inspiration from."

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Produced and Styled by Yanna Lopez

Co-produced by Jam Nitura

Art Direction by Mark Buenaobra

Photography by Tarish Zamora

Hair by Mong Amado

Makeup by Patrick Alcober for Make Up For Ever

Shoot Assistant: April Lozada

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