I began designing shoes in New York in my mid 20s. Now, almost a decade later, I am discovering a fundamental evolution in that which I seek intellectually, spiritually and subsequently from the material realm. I began to sense that culture was becoming increasingly inundated with saccharine laden, instant gratification delights, mass produced and marketed to promote a commercial cycle of gross consumption, obsolescence and waste. While I may even partake in the occasional indulgence, I decided I wanted to invent something more substantial, more nourishing for the soul. I traveled to Tuscany, near the hometown of Leonardo da Vinci, where I found a producer making footwear for many of the world’s most storied fashion houses. At this echelon of manufacturing, I had to consider the very concept of luxury. Is it meant to be an indicator of taste or wealth? Comfort or social status? Luxury may well encompass all this, but I wondered if it could be something more. In its highest form, shouldn’t luxury be able to convey something as ethereal as spiritual status? If a pair of eyes could be the windows to the soul, why couldn’t a pair of shoes do the same? Why can’t the limitations of time itself be unlocked by thoughtful design and surpassing durability? Living amidst Japan’s culture of unforgiving standards of service and quality, it becomes easy to adopt their augmented expectations of luxury. In pursuit of this form of craft, I confronted the premise that products made with quality at its core, inevitably possess a longer physical lifespan. It thus became an essential driving force behind the design, which meant the silhouettes, colors and materials used would have to transcend the cycles of trend, and defy the natural course of diminishing beauty and utility. Reinterpreting and balancing abstractions of vintage, currency and futurism became the purpose behind a product to evoke an appreciation that dares to endure years or even decades, and perhaps with age, becomes an object of even deeper affinity. In this spirit, I humbly offer FACTO.
- Victor Hsu
The Shinto Buddhists refer to it as Tsukumogami, a belief that certain objects develop their own spiritual essence over time. From the entropy that becomes the design, the design that through artisanship, brings to life a product, the soul is intrinsic to the core of FACTO. The event of conception occurs at a family-owned manufacturer in the Tuscan countryside. This is a behind the curtain look at the making of samples from the FACTO Spring 2016 collection. It is the artisans that imbibe each shoe with that vital spark, giving it life through craftsmanship, wrought from a sequence of intricate processes. It is insight into just who these people are, the pride they take in their work and the appreciation for the tradition of their craft. A step forward from this tradition, is a paper-thin NFC inlay embedded in the shoe, that will allow anyone with an enabled smartphone to discover the spirit of FACTO simply by placing their mobile device onto the shoe. Specific information will seamlessly appear on the smartphone providing details of the materials, the make and the shoe’s origins here, with the artisans, in Tuscany. This is the ANIMA FACTO.