The origin of the bakya can be traced back to pre-colonial times, and it is actually gender-neutral footwear. Since the mass production of rubber-soled footwear in the early 20th century, the wooden bakya was relegated to specialty crafts. Yet, local makers became creative with their designs and turned the homely bakya into fashionable sandals and prized souvenirs.
During the 1970s, the bakya fit right in with the trend of platform shoes and wooden clogs and reached new heights by having thicker soles. This decade saw the rise of the androgynous style brought in by the LGBTQ+ and women’s rights movements. Filipinos, even in menswear, embraced disco, glam fashion, and of course, big shoes and the bakya.
For a centuries-old tradition, the bakya came through into the ever-changing Filipino fashion scene.
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