Your bridal shoes will be your feet’s best friends during your wedding day, and this is a crucial purchase early on in wedding planning. We’ve heard a lot about custom-made bridal shoes lately, and we took time to talk to one of the rising bridal shoe designers in the wedding industry, Jefferson Si. Get to know more about his beginnings, the process of making custom-made bridal shoes, and more below!
Bride and Breakfast: What are the beginnings of the label Jefferson Si?
Jefferson Si: While I was in college, I learned about the speedy decline of the Marikina shoe industry while working on a paper covering the same topic. And so I decided to act on it! Fueled by my interest for shoes and the desire to save a dying tradition, I partnered with a friend and launched an online retail shoe line. All our shoes were made in Marikina. That’s what got things rolling back in 2014.
In January 2015, my best friend asked me to make her a pair of bridal shoes–two weeks before the wedding! I delivered the shoes the night before the wedding, and thankfully, the fit and style were perfect. She was very pleased and told me that the moment she put them on, it’s as if she had always known she’d wear that pair for her big day. For a year, she referred me to her friends who were about to get married. Sometimes, she would even ask me to make a pair that she could gift to her friends.
I slowly gained confidence after hearing positive feedback from my brides, and in 2016, I decided to launch my namesake designer label, Jefferson Si, with the goal of producing beautiful yet comfortable custom-made shoes!
B&B: When did you realize that the label was filling an important gap in the wedding industry?
JS: Before I began designing bridal shoes, the most common feedback I heard from brides was that they could only have pretty shoes for their wedding if they splurged on international luxury labels. I still hear that to this day. The thing about imported brands is that while they are gorgeous and top quality, it’s not the most comfortable for Asian and Filipina feet. This almost always means having to change into another pair later on in the day, altering your entire bridal look.
B&B: What’s the process of making a shoe come to life?
JS: Shoemaking is a complex process. On average, a pair of handcrafted shoes would pass through at least seven to eight people–from sourcing, design, pattern-making, cutting, assembly, finishing, quality control, packaging, up until the actual delivery. It is indeed a labor of love!
B&B: What about your creative process in designing a shoe?
JS: My design process begins with getting to know my client. I draw inspiration from her love story, personal style, lifestyle, and quirks.
I would describe Jefferson Si‘s aesthetic as dreamy yet practical. It’s luxurious and worthy for a bride to walk down the aisle in. But it’s also timeless in the sense that it can be repurposed. When I create designs, I always consider that my client should be able to use their custom-made shoes after their wedding or intended event.
B&B: What are the challenges of being a shoe designer?
JS: Learning the language of the cobblers in shoemaking was quite challenging. I also had to update them with what’s trending, since most of the products they were using to make shoes were in the style of the 70s and 80s–Marikina’s golden years. It’s a learning process for me and my team as I get to know more about the tradition, and they get to break out of the mold of past designs.
But a good thing about being a hands-on entrepreneur is I get to address all these difficulties myself. Every day is a learning opportunity to make up for every setback. I am very much indebted to my team in Marikina.
B&B: What’s next for Jefferson Si?
JS: A lot’s on the table for Jefferson Si, but as of now, we’re preparing to become more globally available, especially with the growing number of international and overseas clients we have. Stay tuned for Jefferson Si‘s men’s and groom’s shoes as well!
After this chat, we can say that we were in awe. It was indeed refreshing to get an insight about custom-made bridal shoes and the work that goes into it. Just thinking about it, there are endless possibilities in conceptualizing your shoes from the ground up. That makes it so much fun and personal! We love that it’s versatile too. We hope we were able to share something new to you brides! As always, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the wedding planning process!
Photography: Bogs Ignacio, Nooget Lifestyle Photography / Venue: Villa Milagros / Coordination: Bride Idea / Muse: Angelica Alita / Makeup: Carissa Cielo Medved / Hair: MJ Rone / Styling: Alfy Almonte / Bouquet: Dave Sandoval