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Stuck In A Creative Rut? Dig Deep Into The Emotions, Chi Gibbs Attests

Sometimes all it takes is a lot of heart to pull us through.

If you find yourself struggling on the creative front, turn to Chi Gibbs for her hand-to-heart solutions as realized in the process of creating the Air Jordan 2 Low Titan. 


Just as the fierce noontime light pierces through the glass windows of the room we found ourselves in for brunch, the voice of Chi Gibbs begins to crack. It is understandable, of course, especially since she was detailing her latest creative milestone, designing an iteration of the Air Jordan 2 Low Titan. But more than that, however, it was the genesis of the entire endeavor that got her all choked up. “Can I just say, whenever Nikko [Ramos] talks about the shoe and my grandfather, talagang I get out of the Zoom call kasi nagte-tear up ako. It’s a massive honor, and to honor pa my grandfather, it just makes it so much more [special],” she says, tilting her head up to avoid another stream of tears.

Basketball is king in the Philippines, that is a fact. But in the same breath, family is held at an even higher, immovable regard. So, the parallel of the two, which Chi Gibbs anchors her life on, makes the most sense in the grand scheme of things. Skewing towards the vibrant and playful, the artist used this passion project as a platform to not only echo the strongholds of sport and kinship for the Filipino, but most importantly, paying homage to the legacy of her grandfather, basketball champion and legend, Caloy Loyzaga, and his team. “Actually, the idea of honoring my grandfather came from them. That’s how much of basketball nerds these guys are. I can’t find the words to say how much this is meaningful to me, but I hope you see it in the shoe,” she explains. 

”They were actually inspired by that era, because my grandfather and his team, they were the only Philippine team that ever placed in the FIBA World Cup in ’54, which also happens to be my favorite era when it comes to fashion and colors,” shares Chi Gibbs, going into great detail about how her version of the Air Jordan 2 Low Titan came about, especially with the prominence of orange and green in the now coveted colorway. “We really drew from photos of that an era, from fabrics…we saw them in suede and corduroy, which are also on the shoe as well. And their jerseys were green and orange, too. Every single detail finds its way back to my grandfather and his team.”

Love For The Game

As much as the endearing effort is bursting at the seams with heart, Chi Gibbs opens up about how in the midst of the process, she found herself having a huge imposter syndrome. A normal part of most, if not all creative undertakings, the overwhelming sense of fear of not measuring up to expectations is part and parcel of the journey. Recognizing this, it was the never-ending support of her family, as well as of the Titan team, that helped her see the vision through. “When Titan first approached me and told me they wanted me to work on a project with them in collaboration with Jordan, I was stunned. Then when they added in that they wanted it to be a tribute to my grandfather and Philippine basketball history, I cried,” she recalls with a sharp shot of laughter. “I’m super grateful to the Titan team. I mean they’re a bunch of basketball guys that chose a swimwear designer to design a basketball shoe for them. I think that’s a testament to how much they champion women and give women an avenue to tell their stories.”

While this isn’t the first time Chi Gibbs designed a shoe for a brand, it is one that is near and dear her heart in many aspects, so the psychological standoff was perhaps necessary to really wring out the best possible outcome for the Air Jordan 2 Low Titan. “The creative process for this project was unexpectedly easy. It was emotional process, but it felt like everything fell into place,” she says. Considering many artists hurdle through the same challenges, whether it be imposter syndrome, burnout, or a creative rut, her go-to solution is to really dig deep through a well of emotions. Here, she reasons, you cannot go wrong because it comes from a place of love, intention, and authenticity. It isn’t fool-proof, of course, but as one creative continues to harness this truth, the gaps close in with every stride. In addition, she advises, “Constantly put your art out there! You never know who’s watching or paying attention. In my case it was a bunch of basketball guys from Titan that believed in me and entrusted me with this huge opportunity. Who would have thought?”

The Enduring Vision Of Chi Gibbs

The feeling never gets old, Chi says of seeing her vision come to life in different people. From her family and friends, to contemporaries in the creative and content creation landscape, and even the former Vice President, Atty. Leni Robredo, it still brings her an immeasurable sense of joy. “With this Air Jordan 2 Low Titan though, it’s on another level of meaningful. I’m most excited to see this pair worn by women who aren’t necessarily into streetwear. Women who never thought they’d wanna cop a basketball shoe,” she says. 

For Chi Gibbs, this is more than just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design a shoe for a global force in competitive sportswear. Taking into account the love for the game and family, being able to create in this profound capacity is forever etched as a core memory for her. Turning a lot more sentimental, she realizes that in a predominantly male-focused world, this dream come true is a victory for women, too. “To be given this opportunity feels like a massive honor,” she expresses. “Not many people get this opportunity to begin with, let alone Asian and Filipino women. I’m hoping it opens more doors for creatives like me.” 

Take it from Chi Gibbs, all you need is a distinct point-of-view, unrelenting hype from a support system, and yes, a whole lot of heart. Everything else will just fall into place.