South, nothing but an extraordinary nautical shoe [Designer's Inspirations]
By Abel Montserrat, Camper Designer
My love affair with footwear design began when I met one of the suppliers of the shoe store I owned at the time. He asked me to work for him as a shoe designer. Up until that point, I had only sketched ideas for clothing as I was studying fashion design. However, with practice and effort I also learned to sketch shoes, drawing was the only way I could explain what I’d imagined and turn it into something real.
When we were working on South, our goal was to come up with a cool summer shoe as unstructured as possible in order to achieve maximum flexibility and comfort. The Kiowa construction, originated from the indigenous craftsmen of North America and Inuit people, provided us the characteristics we were looking for. This meant that we had to work with Kiowa experts, in order to achieve the best results, because this type of construction requires experienced professionals to do the stitching.
South was inspired by what we saw on the street. When beginning a new project, we always analyse what people are wearing out and about in order to create useful products. But we also take this inspiration and allowed ourselves to be guided by our intuition, our sense of smell and even our dreams. Sometimes you jump straight out of bed and start drawing and, at first, the sketch seems totally bizarre but later it ends up as something really fantastic.
We called it South because this type of shoe has its influence from the sailing world. Also, when we started out with the idea of creating this design, we wanted to use the four cardinal directions you need to navigate…this eventually led us to the name of the shoe.
When I’m designing, I draw shoes that appeal to me personally, and in the case of men’s footwear I always try to come up with something I would actually wear. I like South because of its authenticity. I think this use of traditional craftsmanship enhances the shoe´s value. It allows us to create something beautiful from the skill and knowledge that our ancestors have passed down to us. Perhaps that’s why I don’t really consider myself a designer; instead, I think of myself as a cobbler, because there are many different ways of making shoes and, knowing and understanding the various constructions, gives us real freedom when designing a shoe.
If you ask me how I’d wear these shoes, my answer would be without socks… and with trousers!!!! ;-)