The love story between Achilles Ion Gabriel (Lapland, 1987) and Camper began long before he took over the global image of CamperLab, back in 2019. “He must have been about seven years old. I was skiing in Finland and I only had a pair of ski boots that weren’t good for walking in, so my cousin lent me his camper. They were quite large to begin with, but they were also four sizes larger than mine. That’s how my taste for her chunky shoes began.” Although the distance and the climate seem to speak of opposite worlds, the designer has managed to reach a point of inclusion between his northern background and the craftsmanship developed in the Mediterranean that the Majorcan footwear firm has been promoting for decades, giving rise to a versatile language , funny and understandable in the whole world. His ability to generate aesthetic codes without gender and delve into the infinite archive of this family business founded in 1975 by Lorenzo Fluxà –with humor and a strong surrealist component as the flag of his creations– have been the keys to consolidating Camper as a benchmark at the forefront of footwear, a role that Achilles fully took over in the fall of 2020 following the departure of its previous creative director, Romain Kremer. “As a Finn, working for a Spanish company and being marked by Mallorcan culture is automatically surreal, as I mix inspiration from a culture I didn’t grow up with. So anything from a supermarket to a beach is pretty new territory for me. I look at it like a child”, he confesses to SMODA. Finnish designer Achilles Ion Gabriel. This spring-summer 2022 collection full of designs destined to become new icons for our feet, explores those customs that are so much ours that fascinated Achilles since his arrival on the island. “The collection is set in a rural house on the shores of the Mediterranean, surrounded by nature in which a relaxed and carefree attitude towards life prevails. A hot summer in Mallorca where you can experience things like siesta (which is a concept that we don’t have in Northern Europe)”. That notion of practical convenience for both indoors and outdoors runs through every piece in the collection, as well as a nod to the construction toys we used to have as kids. “A place where free time becomes an opportune space for creativity”, specifies the creative. Defining himself as a ‘colorful brutalist’ when classifying his work reflects that spirit of play, of the desire to live life positively, squeezing it to the fullest that characterizes Achilles, and that he transfers to each last of this new collection. “It is inspired by an attitude, a way of thinking where the world is seen through rose-colored glasses. A happy and positive way of approaching life, in which humor and a certain playful and eccentric touch prevail, evoking the idea of not taking oneself or life too seriously”. And in which sustainability sets the pace of the creative process at all times. With a catalog of more than 500 references that reach 40 countries – entirely created in its own workshop factory in Inca, in Mallorca – reducing waste as much as possible, opting for recycled and recyclable materials, in addition to promoting the durability of the product, are duties inescapable both with the brand’s DNA and with everything that surrounds us: “At Camper we are convinced that the best way to be sustainable is to create products that have the best quality and are durable over time. If a product is durable you will not need to buy more, which translates into a lower impact on the environment. If we could make a shoe last nine months, we would reduce the carbon footprint by up to 30%”. Selecting eight of their sandal models with which to fill the coming months with good vibrations has been a difficult task. Achilles has guided us through the process, unraveling some of the careful details that surround the creation of these future icons for the summer. 1. The winning hybrid An icon with the soul of a sneaker. The Peu Stadium model from the Majorcan brand combines the best of a sneaker with the blessing of wearing an open shoe when the heat wave arrives. This spring-summer, the Peu Stadium sandal renews its avant-garde silhouette with a semi-open structure with straps that you can recycle in winter into a different shoe for each day, depending on the color of socks you choose. Innovation and sustainability set the pace for its long-lasting design: composed of an ergonomic last that makes walking much more comfortable, its XL EXTRALIGHT® sole is made with 51% recycled EVA material. “When we talk about design and actions we can take to reduce the impact of our collections, it all starts with the materials. The impact of the C02 generated by the material represents up to 88% of the total emissions of the carbon footprint generated by the product. This is why it is so important to control the material”, explains Achilles. With a cover in organic cotton and leather certified by the Leather Working Group (LWG) that guarantees environmental compliance, it also has straps made from PET plastic -recycled from the oceans- to enhance the technical finish. On sale for 135 euros. 2. Architecture at ground level No frills and to the point. The Set sandal proposes giving absolute prominence to our feet with a design based on sustainable, adjustable and perforated leather straps in a striking mix of colors such as black, burgundy, white and pastel shades. Its name, says Achilles, is inspired by construction toys, “imagine it as a set of blocks that you need to build. hence the set [conjunto, en inglés]”. The sandal made with recycled PET straps and a leather lining made without chemical elements respects both your skin and the environment: “We only work with certified materials, placing a large part of our strategy on recycled materials that generate the best carbon footprint emissions. , while helping to reduce overall waste and implement new end-of-life solutions,” explains Achilles. The Finnish designer’s favorite model is one of the last members to join the family and stands as the perfect shoe to wear from the festival to the office (without going home). For sale for 145 euros. 3. The new palaThat calm attitude so typical of the Mediterranean, of a half-fitting sandal and always flat, lives on in Brutus as a celebration of the Balearic heritage promoted by Camper. “This season I’m bringing back the style of Brutus footwear but as a sandal,” says Achilles. This light version of the crossed shovel, a summer classic on the islands, is updated in round colors such as red or baby blue and with the novelty of the Vichy print, which recalls childhood vacations and the landscapes of Mallorca. “They remind us of the Vichy checks on the blankets that accompany us on long days at the beach,” explains the creative director. With a last made of sustainable leather and recycled cotton, it is postulated as that addictive shoe that you will not want to take off until the end of the summer. For sale for 120 euros. 4. A new classic First designed in 2016, the Kobarah sandals for the first time allowed our feet to fantasize about becoming a sculptural entity on their own. Six years later, Achilles Ion Gabriel updates its design with new colors (orange and grass green). “I love colors, I work with them in a very intuitive way. For me it’s like putting together a healthy palette that’s fresh, fun but wearable.” With recyclable materials such as organic sugar cane or Eva rubber, sculpted on a one-piece mould, it is very reptilian. Both because of its name (a nod to the cobra) and because of its circular and sinuous design, it is reminiscent of the skin of a snake that coils around the foot, while it breathes and remains comfortable thanks to the presence of the wide heel. On sale for 125 euros. 5. The crush on ‘Euphoria’ “Sculpture” heels are already a hallmark of Camper that Achilles Ion Gabriel has perpetuated since his arrival. If with Kobarah the firm revolutionized summer footwear with a design as ergonomic as it is futuristic, the Finnish designer marks a before and after in the history of the mule with his original version of the lollipop heel called Dina. Robust as well as feminine, on her rubber sole sits a wide and slightly square last based on an anatomical OrthoLite® Recycled ™ insole, which slows down the shock and increases the sensation of comfort in the tread. The baby pink and canary yellow tones give it that 2000 touch that is conquering this summer thanks to TikTok and series like Euphoria. On sale for 99 euros. 6. The ‘conscious’ flip-flop From an iconic sleeper to a sandal of the future. The Wabi model has gone through a thousand faces but always leading the agenda of sustainability and ethics that Camper professes, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact as much as possible in the production system. This summer, it aspires to conquer the lighter footprint with its sandal made in part with recycled and recyclable TPU plastic (much more flexible and durable). The sole retains the rubber for greater durability. “When we talk about a shoe, one of the great challenges [en materia de sostenibilidad] resides in its sole. It is a very important component that can ensure the durability and longevity of a shoe, which is why you cannot have a sole made from a 100% recycled composition, as this would decrease its performance”, reflects Achilles. “But as our biggest challenge is against virgin plastic, we continue to introduce a part of natural or recycled composition in most of the soles that we have in our collection, including TPU soles, rubber soles and EVA soles.” With an infinite color chart such as red, light yellow or barbie pink, among others, the best is inside. We can finally say goodbye to the annoying sand on the beach and the saltpeter in the water thanks to its removable insole, which allows you to clean it thoroughly while the footwear is oxygenated. On sale for 65 euros. 7. The festival hitThe Karole model wants to disrupt the court sandal as you knew it until now. The T-strap that was all the rage in the 1940s meets the new times in bubblegum pink, along with a rectangular toe and a firm and prominent sole. Thanks to the comfortable insole made of OrthoLite® Recycled™ and a rubber mount, you will be able to dance for hours without rest in the verbenas this summer, as they keep your footing firm with an extraordinary grip. On sale for 150 euros. 8. The definitive nautical The rise of water sports and outdoor activities demand a versatile sandal that grips our foot with firmness and style. The Match model denotes power in both directions with an aerodynamic design, based on adjustable recycled PET straps and has a lightweight EVA sole. “Not only do we work with materials that certify their sustainability in the lining and upper part, but even components such as straps and laces come from an organic or recycled origin,” says Achilles. That feeling of being protected under extreme lightness is not the only one of its uses. You can recycle it on urban land 24 hours a day in endless colors, such as black and white (winning binomial), red and light blue or yellow and white. On sale for 89 euros.
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