So, tell me how this collaboration first came about?
Guillaume Philibert: PUMA has always been a very big part of my childhood. I always loved PUMA products, because back in the day, there was always a link to sports – all these athletes, it was quite diverse when it came to athletics. The experience I had buying and wearing PUMA footwear actually helped me design my own products at Filling Pieces.
Through a mutual friend, Ronnie Fieg, I got in touch with Yassine [Saidi, Global Senior Head of Lifestyle at PUMA], and we got along very well. Then all of a sudden there was a conversation about how we, as two footwear brands, could work together on a project. We sat down and looked at the strengths of the companies; Filling Pieces is a very small, independent, up-and-coming footwear label, and of course PUMA is one of the world’s biggest athletic companies. It was interesting because if you approach [this project] like you would from a smaller label, you have all this craftsmanship, all these materials from Italy and a more luxury approach to footwear, whereas we can’t make athletic footwear because we don’t have resources or factories, unlike PUMA.
I think for PUMA, it was interesting to work with a brand like Filling Pieces because you have this craftsmanship and taste for luxury leathers and luxury footwear. Where the market is going now, high-end is coming closer to streetwear, and of course there’s a difference in price and brand awareness, but it’s getting very close. If you look at Givenchy, Kenzo and Balmain, you see that the ready-to-wear stuff is very much inspired by streetwear and vice versa. So those two markets are coming very close together and for us at Filling Pieces, we try to bridge that gap with our product and that was a very interesting space for us to work in.
How did you choose the silhouette?
G: We actually got together and worked on the Blaze of Glory, which is quite a well known PUMA silhouette. The name of the concept was “Deconstruct to Rebuild,” so we actually looked at the shoe and completely took it apart. We mixed and matched different fabrics that we’ve used in the past and are very known to the Filling Pieces clientele and applied them to the collaborated shoe.