If only because of her desire to make wearing heels easier on women, Silvia Fado deserves an honored position in the history of footwear.
All joking aside, at So Catchy!, we’re thrilled by the ideas developed (as part of her Master’s project) by this Barcelona native now living in London. Before moving there three years ago, Silvia studied Fashion Design in Barcelona as well as Milan. Upon finishing her degree, she specialized in tricot. After a few years in the fashion industry, she decided to begin a graduate degree in footwear at the London College of Fashion.
Moved by curiosity, innate intelligence and, to our minds, the fact of being a woman whose feet have been subject to horrible mistreatment at the hands of beautiful, yet painful, high-heeled shoes, Silvia decided that her project would be dedicated to just this: how to make heels more comfortable.
So she began to study, began working with a multi-disciplinary group of architects and engineers (before entering the world of fashion she had studied two years of Architecture at university) and in the end came up with shoes with hydraulic heels. And her idea is for heels to one day be as comfortable as trainers.
We’re sure that you’ll be interested in what she has to say…
SO CATCHY!: Why did you decide to head to London to study Footwear?
SILVIA FADO: Since I finished my fashion degree I wanted to do footwear, it has always been my passion and I decided that it was the right time to do it.
SC!: Tell us about you project.
SF: For my latest collection, “Kinetic Traces”, I was intrigued by the relationship between the movement of the body and Fashion footwear design on the one hand, and high performance Sports footwear and body movement on the other. I wanted to explore the philosophical and aesthetic consequences of changing the dynamic of that relationship.
The principal functions of footwear are often sacrificed in Fashion. This project brings Sports footwear fundamentals to high-end fashion. Sports footwear design is based on function and wearability, which are not features commonly applied in Fashion footwear.
I had been analyzing comfort elements in footwear and I sought to bring these concepts into the design of high-end women’s high heels. The central concept of the project development was impact absorption, which was studied from a mechanical point of view because heels are structures which are affected by many different forces during the process of human motion. I developed hydraulic mechanisms inside the heels that are able to produce impact absortion during motion.
I collaborated with an architect, an engineer and an industrial partner to develop the mechanisms to a professional level.
The methodologies used in the project include traditional making (leather work, traditional machinery making, metal work, wood shaping) and rapid prototyping (3D milling machine, laser cutting and 3D printing).
SC!: Where did the idea come from?, were you inspired by anything in particular?
SF: I have been always interested in clever and functional design, that is what I wanted for my Master project collection. During my research I was looking into footwear function itself, analyzing performance and motion that would be the bases of my project. I have a strong interest in architecture and engineering which always influence my work.
SC!: What’s it like to wear one of your pairs of shoes? What good do you think your research has done?
SF: Is like being in the future (haha)… Not seriously, it’s like the evolution of heels into trainers, like having small machines with hydraulic systems under your feet; I just wanted to make women’s lives easier. The result is quiet conceptual though because my collection is designed to be exhibited not sold, but could be the beginning of something much more commercial and wearable.
SC!: How did this collaborative effort with engineers and other professionals come about? Was it a worthwhile experience?
SF: I wanted my project to have a very professional level, to have the standards of high-end fashion, the target market. There was only one way to do it, finding very good professionals interested in collaborating; so I contacted people I knew from when I was studying architecture and they were really excited about the project.
The experience was great, they were really helpful and amazing professionals, I am very pleased with the results and I learnt a lot from them.
Want to see more of Silvia’s footwear? Click here!
SC!: What are you planning on doing with the collection?
SF: I am trying to exhibit and advertise them in the media, to have a very strong portfolio.
SC!: What projects are you working on now?
SF: Finding a position in a well-known brand in product development or footwear design.
SC!: Your favorite footwear designer is…
SF: I like very clean and minimalistic shapes. I am very interested in New York designers, especially Alexander Wang and Jil Sander. I also like few designers from Paris such as Maison Martin Margiela, Céline and Robert Clergerie.
SC!: Can you suggest any magazines or online publications?
SF: I think Vogue is essential for all designers, especially trends and accessories in my case. Apart from that, depending on the specialization, product and target, it could vary a lot. Personally, I like Dazed and confused, Dezeen, and Citizen.
SC!: Finish the sentence: “I can’t live without…”
SF: The trendiest shoes of the season.
SC!: What is your most sought after goal?
SF: To be in charge of one of my favorite designers’ footwear teams.
Translated by Michael Padilla