WWD Digital Daily
Philippe Starck’s New Sustainable Sneaker
why for me, elegance is longevity. In the end, it's more intelligent.”
Starck spoke as an on-trend “de-influencer,” joking that even if you go into a store and see the most beautiful chair of his own design, it's OK to take a pass. “Stop and say, `do I need it?' If you don't, don't buy it. Eighty percent of the time it will be `no,' and it's a simple change to make.”
Developing the shoes required years of research. It was a three-year design process for Starck, and an eight-year process for Baliston founder Karim
Oumnia to develop the sensory tech through his company Digitsole.
In addition to the gait analysis and custom insoles, the sensors monitor the state of the shoe and notify the user when it's time for a new pair. Using a subscription model, the customer receives a replacement shoe and can send back their old pair for free.
If AI shoes seem a little far-fetched, Starck is positive about the use of AI to create more efficient solutions.
“Today all the problems we have all come from a flat step in our curve of evolution,” he said. Humanity is stuck in crisis. “We need help, and we need to have it coming from something a lot more intelligent than us, because we have in front of us a lot of problems we are not able to solve,” he said, citing nonextractive energy alternatives as something AI could tackle.
He also ties it back to the Baliston shoe, noting that with the current AI` tech analyzing someone's gait, he sees the next iteration being a completely bespoke shoe. Starck also wants to work on 3D-printed shoes, so that people can reduce waste.
“I'm 100 percent convinced this will happen, and it will happen quickly,” noting the positive prospects of tech, adding: “The way you are using AI makes a difference.”
“Technology is the tool to improve sustainability,” added Oumnia.
“It's a huge commitment from us to say everything we produce we are responsible for, and we will take care of it,” he said, noting the scale of what the clothing and footwear industry contributes to landfill. “Can you imagine if even 10 percent of the industry today would do the same?”