Tuesday, August 31, 2010

SCREAMING SHOES by Mafelou Leagogo Agriam

Do you want to stand out in a crowd? Do you want to look stunning without trying hard? Do you want to be noticed without making a scene? Do you want to feel like a celebrity with the best-looking pair of shoes? Walk in Shoe Up! by Nielette because it’s the only one of its kind in the world. To say they are unique or unusual is too trite; they are flamboyant.

The latest obsession of Nielette “Tweety” Tupas-Balleza is creating flats and high shoes that scream of sheer individuality, flashiness and out-of-the-box designs and styles. Tweety’s shoes can be described as sparkling and showy, flippant and frivolous, richly-adorned and ornamented. Needless to say, her own happy feet proudly shoe-off, errrr, show-off her shoes; whenever she walks by, not a few eyes turn toward the flashy footwear, gaping.

Women who will fall in love with Shoe-Up by Nielette must have a lot of oomph. Tessa Prieto Valdes easily comes to mind. Just maybe if she opts to wear a simple black dress rather than her usual carnival gowns, and a pair of Shoe Up! by Nielette to match, she will still be the dandiest woman in town. What makes Tweety’s creations distinct are its garnishing: feathers, Swarovski gems, beads and baubles, ruffles, knick-knacks, flowers, sequins, earrings and necklaces, shiny buttons and anything cutesy and glittering. How did she come upon this novelty idea, you may ask?

One time while on vacation in Bangkok, Thailand, with her husband Parly, Tweety chanced upon a shop selling shoes decorated on the spot at the shopper’s specs. Fascinated, she bought a pair for herself and had shiny angels glued on them. The outcome was simply far-out and at that instant she was inspired.

“I thought I could do the same stuff in the Philippines, and even better than what they were doing (in Bangkok), “ she exclaimed in a quiet corner of her Zen-influenced house in Jaro, where just a few number of her enormous one-of-a-kind odds and ends define her preferred home decors.

Today, 18 designs characterize her line, exclusively done for her in China. The basic footwears, however, are manufactured in a Marikina factory while Tweety and her workers embellish them.

A client can have customized shoes.A woman may want the names of her children on them if she’s married or her boyfriend’s name if she’s single. She may want images of the sun, stars or moon on it. Would you like a smiling sun or one that’s crying? The creative ideas are simply limitless and the business prospect exciting.

“I’ve always wanted to have a legit business of my own,” Tweety said. “Many of my friends were surprised to find out I put this business sooner than expected.”

Many also are not privy to the fact that Tweety has always had an artistic side. She was an avid watercolor painter in high school at the Stella Maris College in Quezon City, and represented her school in inter-school art competitions. Her artistic genes may have emanated from her mother, the former Barotac Viejo Mayor Myrna Causing-Tupas. “You should see the photo albums she has made. They are meticulously and beautifully decorated,” Tweety enthused.

If curious about Tweety’s shoes, Shoe Up! by Nielette may be viewed up-close in the internet through the shoe brand name. A lot of people have visited the site. One of them, a renowned, Manila-based Filipino designer – unnamed until negotiations are firmed up – wants Tweety’s pairs paraded on his runway fashion show. Another, a potential European client, has ordered 1,000 pairs from each of Tweety’s 10 designs. The young shoemaker, however, takes his wonderful proposition in stride, inviting instead the foreign client to visit the Philippines first and see her products first-hand. He has accepted her invite.

Because positive words have spread around, local orders are thus forthcoming. A bride wants Tweety to do her wedding shoes, with fancy and elaborate things on them. Birthday girls, anniversary honorees, debutants, prom girls who need to stand out during their milestones know Shoe Up! by Nielette will do the works. But why wait for a special occasion to shine? Make everyday a screaming I-feel-great day while striding on the pavement in Shoe Up! by Nielette. It’s a shoe-in, baby.

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