Except for being our new favorite Instagram account, Rombaut has also become our favorite footwear brand as of lately. It’s safe to say they outshine all other vegan shoe labels—and most conventional ones too—when it comes to innovation and, frankly, coolness. The fashion crowd is definitely vibing with Belgian designer Mats Rombaut at the moment, who’s being hyped by publications like Vogue, i-D and Hypebeast for his clean minimalist/maximalist aesthetics, but also for his quirky Insta feeds. Mixing image building or strictly commercial posts with his very literal interpretations of “vegan shoes”—to him meaning actual fruits and veggies (with zero walkability)—has made Rombaut one of the most interesting brands to follow right now.
Calling themselves a vegan, unisex and eco-innovative brand, Rombaut offers limited edition collections of shoes that have been artisanally crafted in Italy. The underlying vision for the line is to promote an ecological way of life and a more equitable future by modernizing our general way of thinking, and merge strong aesthetics with humanist values. Amen. Materials play a big part in this, which are all plant based, sustainably engineered and free from toxins or animal-derived substances. These are usually not oranges, banana peels or cabbage when it comes to the actual collections (in opposition to the Insta pics), but there definitely have been things like stone, tree bark, natural rubber, cotton cellulose, coconut fiber and pineapple leaves involved in the process; so, pretty close.
And speaking of alternative materials and eco innovation, what do you say to this: For the Spring-Summer 2017 collection, Rombaut put actual solar panels on top of a “futuristic runner”, as a nod to the brand’s environmental commitment (—don’t sure if it actually generated power though). This time around it’s all about the “cowboy sneaker”, which might make you feel powerful, but in a much less obvious way. Not sure if they approve or not, but i-D just called them “ugly shoe hybrids of your nightmares”, and tough we think that’s a tad harsh, we’d probably go for a less conspicuous style ourselves, like the all-white “Boccaccio”.
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