Felipe Fiallo creates footwear with innovative and bio-based materials

[On the cover: the designer Felipe Fiallo in the lab]

Originally from Ecuador, Felipe Fiallo is an eclectic personality who came to fashion after studying industrial design – which resulted in various projects including a hotel that looks like a ship and a drone-plane – and has knowledge of technology and biology. Different sectors, but which converge and integrate into his eponymous brand created in 2019 and focused on footwear. This eclecticism, straddling innovation and working closely with artisans, has been recognised in a series of awards, from the ITS Fondazione Ferragamo Award in 2020, to the Vogue Talent 2021, and recognition as the winner of the Fashion Digital Made Contest 2021 for Fab Lab’s bio-based collection.

Felipe’s shoes represent a new generation of accessories that combine futuristic design, research on green and recycled materials, but also attention to functionality, in a continuous contamination with the digital world. In fact, the sole – which is more like a shell that encloses the interchangeable upper – is 3D printed, the upper experiments with materials that come from fungi, algae, bacteria, and other biodegradable elements. The most recent development concerns the upper made of Kombucha, the tea leaves which, through a fermentation process and a particular processing, take the form of a malleable material suitable for footwear. Or, a legacy of the designer’s knowledge of biology, the salt crystals that are “grown” for 12 hours according to an “overmineralization” process. The printing of the material as if it were a cast is also innovative, giving life to the two halves of the shoe to be assembled to obtain the complete shoe.

Experiments and technologies, thus, which are futuristic and which start from nature to create “alive sneakers”, as the designer himself defines them.