ROMBAUT: Shoes for the Future

This one is for the gents….
and the ladies who know a gent.

ROMBAUT. It represents more than just a shoe. Expensive? Yes. Stylish? Incredibly. Worth it? Definitely. Think Rick Owens x Song for the Mute, sans the leather.

ROMBAUT sets a standard and a concept that stands for a more balanced future and a change within the fashion industry. While a lot of vegan designers can too often fall into the category of being tragically un-chic, really bloody ugly (this is slowly changing) and lacking any forward thinking, ROMBAUT challenges that notion and creates a benchmark for other designers to meet.

Mats Rombaut, the founder of ROMBAUT, is a 26-year-old Belgian based in Paris who went out on his own after over five years with world-renowned design houses Lanvin and Damir Doma. ROMBAUT aims to provide a way forward for a world in need of change and create a progressive concept for a more equitable and sustainable future. It sets an example for other designers to follow by proposing strong aesthetics and humanist values.rombaut-portrait

Image: Mats Rombaut

The motivation for ROMBAUT initially started as a challenge to create a 100% plant-based shoe and make a statement by going green. All fabrics and materials used in the footwear are sustainably engineered and contain no toxic or animal derived substances. Unlike animal agriculture and leather which are two of the most environmentally damaging things on our planet, ROMBAUT develops plant-based materials and strives to protect the bio-diversity of our precious environment.

The main material of ROMBAUT shoes is tree bark. Whether is be ‘Tapa’ bark from the mulberry tree in the south pacific or ‘Mutuba’ bark from Uganda, all materials are sustainably harvested and hold their own incredibly well. They are durable, beautiful to the touch and unique. However, coconut fibre, cotton and natural rubber from trees in the Amazon and Sri Lanka are also used. All shoes are crafted by hand in Italy and are flawlessly made. The colour, detailing and form are precise, essential and incredibly forward-thinking.rombaut-lama-high-top-sneaker-carbon

My partner is fortunate enough to have a couple of ROMBAUT shoes in his wardrobe and they are next level. Super stylish, durable and lightweight. I must admit, I was initially sceptical about how the bark fibres would wear and their durability, but i’ve now eaten humble pie and slapped myself silly for ever doubting a designer as talented as Mats Rombaut. Shame. On. Me.

ROMBAUT fuses together high-end luxury with an ecological awareness that strives to break down the barrier of luxury fashion becoming mass market. As i’ve said before, I don’t think it’s luxury if everyone has it, right? Or if it has a disastrous impact on our environment or another being has had to suffer for it. That’s not luxury.

Mats Rombaut has a admirable green, holistic and sound vision for the future. Even if you are not in a position to buy a pair of ROMBAUT shoes or accessories, I think it’s important to pay attention to the advancements that are being made in the fashion industry by people like Mats Rombaut. It is incredibly exciting and hopefully a strong sign of the future.ROMBAUT-SS14-6

In closing, I’d like the share a snippet of an interview Mats Rombaut had with Honest By.:

“I think what used to be luxury fashion has now become mass market. The imagery is repetitive, boring and doesn’t shock anymore. Luxury brands and high street brands work in similar ways and because of the ever-growing pace of the market, there is little room for experimentation. On top of that there’s a lot of hype, brainwashing and cruelty towards every living being. In-house people celebrate this cruelty and think as primitive hunters; that wearing animals and being cruel gives you a certain power and status within society. Most customers are in denial about what they wear and how it was made, they look at the branded piece and how much they desire it. Luckily, some people are aware and start changing mainstream habits. I believe more customers will look at the desirability of a garment in terms of its creativity, origin and uniqueness. Wearing the skin of an animal is no longer a sign of taste or privilege, making an educated decision is”.

What an amazing human. I think i’m in love.

You can check out ROMBAUT and find a list of stockists here.


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