More than 70 beautiful women will wear the shoes crafted by local footwear designer Jojo Bragais after he was tapped as the footwear sponsor for this year’s Miss Universe pageant happening on May 16 (May 17 in Manila) in Hollywood, Florida.
Speaking to Manila Standard Entertainment, Bragais shared that the Miss Universe partnership, by far, is his biggest break in the fashion scene since he started establishing his name as the preferred footwear in the local beauty pageant circuit.
“Women feel empowered whenever they wear high heels, and that’s what most women tell me whenever they wear my shoes. Most beauty queens that I have worked with told me that they feel incomplete without their high heels on,” Bragais started.
“A Binibini contestant once said that she bought my shoes because she was looking for the best pageant shoes. For her it’s ‘game on’ whenever she’s on a Bragais,” he added.
All the contenders of the 69th Miss Universe will receive two pairs of shoes. The first pair comes in options of three shades of cream, cocoa, and caramel to complement the candidates’ skin tone. The three shades are also custom-made to withstand the color effect of stage lights. The second pair will be in silver.
“We’ve sent out more than 200 pairs of shoes. We are sending extra pairs as well in case there will be issues in sizes,” Bragais said.
For the famed shoe designer, his Miss Universe partnership serves as an opportunity for him to be an inspiration to all local shoe manufacturing businesses in the Philippines. He perceives it as a sign of success not just for himself but also for local brands.
“I want to represent the country to show the world that Filipino hand-made shoes are of the best quality and can be at par with brands in the international scene,” he stated.
The shoe-making business started out as a hobby for Bragais. In 2013, he started his shoemaking business. A year later, his friend, Yvette Santiago, joined the Binibining Pilipinas wearing his shoes. In the same year, Pia Wurtzbach also wore a Bragais pair when she joined Binibining Pilipinas.
He was tapped to be the official footwear of Binibining Pilipinas in 2015 and when Pia Wurtzbach won Miss Universe, Bragais’ shoemaking business skyrocketed.
“I started from scratch. From the time I opened my shop, it took two months before I made my first sale. I had so many questions and doubts so I didn’t think that I’d reach this far, that a lot of people will support Bragais,” he said.
“I want my shoes to be available to real people. Real fashion should be available to real people. My wish is just simple, for people to love my shoes,” he ended.