Casual footwear takes a step forward
One of the newer entrants in the fashion market is Joy & Mario, a line of footwear designed in Los Angeles and manufactured in China. The brand, which sold its first fabric-covered pair in 2009, has been available locally since 2011.
Distributor Gretchen C. Santos told Inquirer Lifestyle that she began selling the colorful shoes at bazaars during the holiday season.
“I wanted to see first if it would click with Filipinos; I needed the instant feedback,” she said. She need not have worried since the low cost—P1,500 to P2,500 at the time—and the sturdy construction of the product attracted buyers.
The brand now comes in a number of product categories, all with a similar fabric upper design and skid-resistant rubber soles: slip-ons, ballet flats, peep-toes, hi-cuts, Velcro, laces and platforms
Since she began selling shoes, Santos has noted that the bestsellers are still neutrals such as navy, khaki and black as well as nautical striped and sequined pairs.
Comfort is key
“Although we carry a few men’s designs, roughly 80 percent of our items are for women. Our customers are mainly college women or those in their 20s,” Santos said.
The designs such as florals, dots, dashes and stripes complement women’s casual wear; they look good with jeans and a T-shirt, denim dresses or even rompers.
Aside from the fashion element, Joy & Mario puts a premium on comfort with its lightweight rubber soles. The slip-ons are also flexible so they can be rolled up, stuck in a pouch, and tossed into one’s bag without it taking up too much space.
The brand has yearly collections aside from special collaborations with graphic artists. Annual collections usually consist of 200 designs but Santos said she isn’t required by the principal to bring in the entire line. Instead she cherry-picks styles she feels will sell in stores.
“During the World Cup earlier this year, the brand came out with pairs in the colors of the national flags of the different teams. I didn’t choose any from that category because I didn’t think they would appeal to customers,” she said.
The current selection is available in department stores such as Robinsons Place Manila, Ayala Centrio in Cagayan de Oro, Landmark Makati, Wellworth at Ayala Fairview Terraces and SM Pampanga, but there are plans to open a standalone store.