Rainy days is starting, though it is still impossibly hot. But what better way to wear in both hot and rainy weather than a pair of flip-flops?
I started designing the Fiona flip-flops line back in 2008 right before I went to China to work for an Australian company. I was designing for Hoc Yan on a freelance basis, which allowed me to travel monthly from HK to Manila and back.
Fiona flip-flops was Hoc Yan’s best seller product, it had really soft & comfy EVA soles & rubber thong straps which made it ultra comfy, plus the price was so much cheaper for its superior quality compared to other local brands. But Fiona flip-flop’s best feature was our prints.
As the Creative Director for Unitop, I guided my team well for the designs of Fiona flip-flops which has set some trends in the great print designs battle for the flip-flop’s footbed. Manila's craze for flip-flops was just beginning at the time I started the Fiona line, so I was able to anticipate and correctly predict market trends.
Within months of coming back to Manila and finally joining Hoc Yan officially, flip-flops became the hottest item on the market shelves. It was a real gold rush. Great efforts were made to capture the attention of shoppers with the designs alone. Local brands scurried up to this gold mine and international brands joined in as well. New brands were coming out of nowhere. Even the banketas were filled with local or imitation flip-flops.
I remember, we used to have at least 3 shipments of 40 footer containers monthly from Fujian China just for the flip-flops alone, which would roughly contain 70,000 pairs per container. Although we also had other flip-flops brands such as Journey, Footspot and Snoopy.
Amusingly, at least for me, SM supermalls immediately caught up with this fever (it really wasn't a surprise, hello! this is a money-maker). The footwear section of SM department stores, had an immediate face-lift: The installation of the flip-flops wall! It was almost as if they had a magic wand in hand.
Uncannily enough, I called it "The Battle of the Flip-Flops".
From the ladies, men's and kids, rows and rows of rubber flip-flops for everyone to choose with pretty good exposure, presentation and a lot of floor area, which is a far cry from the past.
And for the first time ever, the Philippine shoppers actually saw boutiques dedicated just for flip-flops. And oh yes, billboards, too!
We got Ms. Christine Reyes as our endorser for the Fiona Footwear line and this was our billboard along EDSA right across from Mega Mall.
"Midsummer Night's Dream"