A talk between Yassine Saidi from PUMA and Filling Pieces Founder Guillaume Philibert

Before you get your hands on the exciting new silhouette by PUMA x Filling Pieces, get into the minds behind it. Yassine Said from PUMA and Netherland's well known founder, Guillaume Philbert give you the insights of the collaborative works right here. 




What were your initial thoughts of Guillaume’s idea for the Puma Blaze of Glory?

Our plan was to create something unique. Something different in storytelling. That’s the whole point of collaborating. To bring something different to the market place. When I saw the first design, I knew it was mission accomplished because the design clearly demonstrated both PUMA sports and Filling Pieces’ design. It was a risky bet, because it was the first time 2 footwear companies collaborated and we showed that it could be very successful. We basically talked about doing something together. So from day 1 I was confident that he would do something strong. I really thought merging our products and style was very comparable.


How did you feel when Guillaume said he wanted to deconstruct the toe box and remove layers from it?
I think deconstructing and rebuilding are just key words in the design process. We are very protective and careful of the design but we also wanted to give FP the opportunity to alter the upper to create their custom style. I was not against it; I was actually for the idea.


How did you react to the final product?
The creation process went really really smooth. Not a lot of our partners makes only footwear. Filling Pieces understands footwear and know how to make it look good. They’ve been very true to their astethic. We’re very similar in DNA and design, which is why the design is so strong. The first sketch we have is the shoe you see today. So when I saw the final product, it was nice to see that first sketch come to fruition.


How was it to work together?
The chance we have in our line of work is that we meet each other in every corner of the world.  We’ve been together in Asia, we’ve been together in the US, we’ve been together almost everywhere; because we’re just following fashion weeks and places where our businesses are. So we’ve been constantly in talk. Our process is so energetic, so organic in the way the team brought this concept together. It was fairly easy to get to where we are today. I also think we’ve learned a lot from each other in design and from the project.


What kind of consumer did you have in mind when working on this collaboration?
I was thinking about the sneaker consumer in general that is looking for a luxury version of an icon within the sneaker culture. It was always the objective to bridge the gap between the sport sneaker and the luxury sneaker. So it covers both sides, sneaker culture, and luxury.


How much free reign did you give to Filling Pieces? Was there anything you didn’t let them do or were there times you had to reign them in?
No constraints, it has been a really organic process. Since they know footwear, they know what they can do and what they can’t do. I just made sure both brands were represented well.



Yassine, were you surprised the collaboration was going to be in black and white?Well at first, we had two versions. A white base and a black base. And we decided to only choose one color way. But who knows what’s coming next, maybe there will be something in the future.


What sets this collaboration apart?
Every collaboration is different because every relationship is different and everybody works in a different way.  What set this one apart is that we created a completely new product, that’s the main difference.


Do you think the Filling Pieces DNA is evident within the shoe? Why do you think the brands work so well together?
Filling Pieces is clearly evident throughout the shoe. We let Guillaume go crazy and if you look at any FP shoe and compare it to the Blaze, you can clearly see FP’s DNA. The brands work so well together because they’re both on the same page when it comes to design and creativity.


Did you think Guillaume would pick the Blaze of Glory model?
Guillaume has been wearing PUMA for decades. His favorite siholouete is the blaze of glory. So that was a great starting point for him to instill FP Design.


Were you two in mutual agreement over which direction the shoe should take?
Both brands are represented. Partner takes the lead on design and direction. Me and Giullaume are very close and have known each other for a long time. So that’s why it was really organic, because we’re a lot alike.



What is Filling Pieces’ take on the Blazes of Glory?
We have a lot of detailing in our shoes, it’s what we’re known for. There is a lot of detailing in this shoe and luxury fabrics built into the shoe.  For example, the laces, the toe cap, the buttery soft lip around the shoe. We added elements to make it a more luxury, high-end shoe and if you look at all of the details on the shoe. For example, the four or five layers on the toe box we changed to three layers to give it a slimmer, narrower look which is a real Filling Pieces design. The strap across is also something we use in a lot of our shoes. It’s more athletic, which fits to our collections. Then if you look at the rest of the shoe there is a lot of padding. For example, on the lateral part and that’s what we are known for in the heel area of the shoe. The tongue is our signature piece, the cut is designed for wider pants that you can sit behind and for slim fit pants to sit over the tongue. All of the texturing is in leather which we felt had a better look to rubber.

How would you suggest they are worn?
The shoe looks very luxury, then all the athletic tooling gives it a sporty look. Personally of course we have a certain preference of how to wear it, shown in campaign shots. With it being a high end shoe you can wear it out and also to the gym. So you can wear it anywhere.


Did PUMA give you a brief on what you can do with the shoe?
We were able to change the whole outfit. But when we thought about it, we though it wouldn’t be PUMA anymore and that wouldn’t be right. So we chose a PUMA shoe and we designed the fabrics, the tongue, the toe caps and the detailing. In terms of fabrics, it has had an upgrade. When it comes to Filling Pieces, we are a small label and that’s why we are very flexible with who we can use for fabrics. PUMA being a larger corporate company have restrictions of licensed suppliers. So we obviously had less options with PUMA, but that only made us become more creative with any limited means that we had.


Was it easy to give away your designs traits to another label?
Actually the shoe pays tribute to the Blaze of Glory. The Blaze of Glory I remember from 1993. I have been working on the shoe and the silhouette for the last two years but I believe what Yassine and his team did to the shoe is about paying tribute to the style and to the generation because it comes from 1993. So it celebrates the style and the brand. So for us it’s not giving away a style, it’s bringing the style and a new to a new consumer. 


Is there a reason you chose to execute it in black and white?
Yes, the whole idea behind the shoe was to have lots of detailing. So we could have gone crazy with colours but if you look at our lines it’s all fairly calm colours that we do and it black is something you can do in so many different ways and fabrics to give the shoe another type of contrast. We felt that the black and white shoe would be the strongest colour-way and with the detailing we wanted it would make it that bit more special.


Was there any specific inspirations you drew from for this collaboration?
The major inspiration was from the best of the Filling Pieces collection. From the strap to the toe caps, these are details from our bests we took to the Blaze of Glory


Do you use anything from your architectural background?
In terms of designing shoes, I always get things from an architectural point of view when it comes to techniques and lines. Also when it comes to concept, technique and functionality in architecture are very important. I think how PUMA designed it already was great, we just made it slimmer and more accessible to our consumer.


What do you think about working with PUMA?
Guillaume: Working with PUMA was great because they showed us how as a big company there is a lot of creative people and smart people with ideas of how to create the shoe. They have more restrictions than Filling Pieces, but in terms of creative minds they don’t have any restrictions.


Did you have an idea in mind before you began?
Guillaume: I never expected it. I’m very grateful to have had the chance to work with PUMA. As I said before, we’re always working towards the future. We came together two years ago and there was this moment of joy when the opportunity came about. Then we spent years working on it before release and I think the coolest moment was when I put it on and people on the streets liked them. It was such a big project for us. 


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