PROFILE: ROMBAUT - CRASH Magazine
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Vintage Chair / Appartement Témoin Wobbly Carpet / Designer : Wendy Andreu

PROFILE: ROMBAUT

By Alice Butterlin

When the Belgian designer Mats Rombaut launched his shoe brand in 2015, he firmly believed the future of fashion would be shaped by an ethical imperative to promote greater respect for the environment and the creatures that call it home. A vegan of many years, he naturally sought to connect his lifestyle and beliefs with his sneaker models. After several professional stints at Lanvin and then Damir Doma, which required him to work with leather and fur, he has now made the choice to forgo using animal products in favor of innovative materials. Little by little, using whatever he found at hand, Rombaut cobbled together new materials for creating accessories with pineapple fiber, tree bark and even coconut flakes, with each of these more or less fruitful experiments pushing him further down the path to revolutionizing ethical footwear. Rombaut’s fashion is expectedly close to nature, while offering an offbeat and fun style, accented with elements borrowed from every corner of pop culture. The designer revels in the idea of transforming an “ugly shoe” into a hotly coveted piece, taking a model from not to hot with just a little detail. With slogans like “Recycle or Die”, Rombaut belongs to a radical fashion movement that will fight tooth and nail to save the last vestiges of our suffering planet. The Summer 2020 collection, called “Dysmorphia”, played on orthopedic shoes and the notion of healing – an esthetic that at first glance seems infinitely removed from fashion – but Mats Rombaut sees things differently. Teaming up with engineers, developers and chemists, he has already invented entirely new footwear materials like Apinat Bio, a biodegradable thermoplastic used in the sole of an especially innovative pair of shoes.

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Photographer: Lucas Christiansen
Stylist: Pauline Grosjean
Model: Aoife Lou @the Claw
Hair: Massanori Yahiro
Make up: Louisa Trapier
Set Designer: Maxime Chaiblaine
Photographer assistant: Flora Aussant

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