Through teaching footwear design over the past few years I’ve witnessed the transition in the importance of sustainable manufacturing. Having marked countless student projects on sustainable manufacturing I had a bit of a eureka moment where I sort of thought. “I should probably be doing this myself”.
The birth of the project
For me the best analogy for sustainable footwear production is smoking. There was a time when athletes used to endorse and help market cigarettes. Today this idea seems ludicrous. In the future we will look back in disbelief and ask ourselves: “Why did our ancestors create so many expendable consumer goods made with toxic materials throwing them so carelessly in to landfill at their end of life”. It’s obvious we should think more carefully about the things we make and what they’re made from. This was the birth of Serisole; made from natural, renewable and biodegradable materials.
The creative process
One of the hardest things when working with natural materials is merging them with footwear manufacturing processes. Often they don’t go hand in hand. Try telling the owner of a 3rd generation shoemaking factory that he shouldn’t be making shoes the way he has for the last twenty years, without plastic. It’s not easy!
On this project collaboration with my partner has been crucial. Collaboration means an extended skill set, suddenly you have access to a whole other realm of expertise, things you wouldn’t normally know how to do are simply a phone call away. The power of two combined experts in achieving a goal is always better than one.
At the time of writing this we are in our fourth week of Coronavirus lockdown. It’s unavoidable to mention the effect the virus will have on the world economy. Hopefully this is a time for change where people will consume less and buy better. We’re a company making a singular product from natural materials, a wardrobe staple as opposed to seasonal throw away. In this sentiment, we think Serisole has a place in the future.
When you bring experts together from different fields this can be really fruitful. Although there’s no point in having two experts from exactly the same field working together, it’s when you cross-breed expertise that new things can happen. It’s inspiring to be around other experts, it’s like opening up a box of brand new tools all at your disposal.