The Marikina Man Who Makes Shoes: Dan Torres’ DANT Handcrafted Footwear is a Menswear Dream

    Dan Torres had quite a 2017. His footwear brand DANT has truly began to flourish, showing in several catwalks in the collections of such fashion staples like Randy Ortiz (and soon, another big named designer we were sworn to secrecy not to tell!). This year, Dan is looking nowhere but up. He even shared with us several behind the scenes photographs of a new collection he has collaborated on with Randy Ortiz. And we’ve got to say, that we’re excited as ever. Check out the inventive colors of Ortiz’s always pristine menswear looks matched and finished with DANT’s classic, artisan footwear:

    A behind the scenes look at the new collection of Randy Ortiz in collaboration with DANT

    A behind the scenes look at the new collection of Randy Ortiz in collaboration with DANT

    Last weekend, we bumped into Torres, and picked his brain about shoes. The twenty-five-year-old (and third generation shoemaker from Marikina) is almost an expert on the matter. He and his team make everything from hand, outsourcing premium materials (like crocodile leather) locally and abroad to satisfy his fast growing list of clientele. With a fairly new business, Dan already has a long list of devout fans including socialites, celebrities, high-powered politicians, athletes and even international movie stars (old school action hero Steven Seagal had shoes made when he visited Manila). We caught up with the young entrepreneur over drinks and asked him several questions about his exciting enterprise.

    LIFESTYLE ASIA: Hi Dan! How are you? Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you parents and where did you grow up?

    DAN TORRES: My parents are 2nd generation shoemakers, making me a 3rd generation shoemaker. Growing up, my parents would often take me to their shoe factories and show me the process of how shoes are made. I grew up in Marikina, the shoe capital of the Philippines.

    LA: How did you get into the shoemaking? Was it simply because you grew up around it?

    DT: I always loved handcrafted shoes from brands like Valentino, Louboutin, and Louis Vuitton. I noticed the Philippines didn’t have any big named shoemakers, even though we have such a beautiful shoe history. So I decided to start the first Philippine luxury shoe brand. I didn’t want to ask for money from my parents so I sold my car and got started on my first handcrafted shoe.

    LA: And what’s how DANT was born? Tell us, what is your vision for your company?

    DT: I want DANT to be known globally as the first handcrafted luxury shoe brand from the Philippines.

    LA: How did you come up with the name?

    DT: I wanted it to be simple and minimalist. It’s actually just my name.

    LA What kind of man wears DANT?

    DT: People who want individuality and extraordinary design. Handcrafted shoes are an art that few people appreciate, and if properly taken care of, a pair of DANT shoes can last you the rest of your life.

    LA: Walk us through your artistic method. How do you begin and how do you end the process of making a shoe?

    DT: I always begin with browsing through leather stores. Based on the new arrival of materials, I experiment with different designs. I don’t sketch my shoe designs. I draw them directly on the mold to better imagine how the finished product will look. Then I make a prototype.

    LA: Who are your biggest influences?

    DT: My designs are inspired by Christian Louboutin, Tom Ford, and Alessandro Michele (Creative Director for Gucci). These designers combine classic styles with a mild twist in the most innovative ways.

    LA: Educate us about shoes. What shoes are appropriate for what situation?

    DT: I can’t speak for all shoes or situations because they are so many. I’ll give one though: patent leather shoes are perfect to wear in formal events paired with a stylish tuxedo.

    LA: How can someone order from you?

    DT: They can order from our website, www.dant.ph., or our Instagram page @dant.ph.

    LA: What are you future plans for DANT?

    DT: First, I want to spread awareness of DANT throughout the Philippines over the next few years, starting with our first brick and mortar store. If we succeed, we’ll take it international!

     


    by Chino R. Hernandez

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