launch gallery

Footwear designer Silvia Fado
executes shoes to architectural
and industrial perfection

Whoever’s walked a mile in Silvia Fado’s shoes would know they’d be walking in an exquisite pair. But tropes aside, the journey to shoemaking was not without its detours for the Spanish designer, as with any career trajectory. Initially a student of architecture, the Barcelona native soon realized that her calling lied in fashion and design. Upon years of professional experience in knitwear, she ultimately arrived at her unequivocal passion for footwear. An apprenticeship and Master’s degree later, she is now charging forward with her own brand and own breed of footwear.

Portrait courtesy of Silvia Fado

Creativity and art are my way of expressing myself—the path and the result of my ideas becoming reality. I love art and all its possibilities, how it allows artists to talk, express their thoughts, and engage with the public to create synergy. There are lots of very talented people and they should never stop creating and showing their talent.

I have been always interested in clever and functional design, and it’s what I seek to transmute in my designs. My thesis focused on footwear function itself by analyzing performance and motion. Additionally, architecture and engineering strongly influenced my work.

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For my latest collection Kinetic Traces, I was intrigued by the relationship between the movement of the body and fashion footwear design. And, on the other hand, high performance sports footwear and body movement. I wanted to explore the philosophical and aesthetic consequences of the changing dynamics in that relationship. The principal functions of footwear, function, and wearability are often sacrificed in fashion.

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This collection brings sports footwear fundamentals to high-end fashion. I’ve been analyzing comfort elements in footwear and I sought to bring these concepts into the design of high-end women’s high heels. The central concept of product development was impact absorption, which was studied from a mechanical point of view because heels are structures, which are affected by many different forces during the process of human motion. In collaboration with an architect, an engineer and an industrial partner, I developed hydraulic mechanisms inside the heels to produce impact absorption during motion. The methodologies used include traditional making (leather work, traditional machinery making, metal work, wood shaping) and rapid prototyping (3-D milling machine, laser cutting, and 3-D printing).


To execute a project from idea to reality involves a lot of dedication and hard work. A lot of trying and experimenting till you get the desired functional result. The joy and labor involved with this collection was to develop bespoke pieces with the engineers to make the hydraulic systems work, for that I had a great team collaborating with me that I’m really thankful for.

Innovation in shoemaking is to use new technologies that allow you to create and develop adventurous, improved outcomes. If I can improve one thing about the shoemaking industry, it would be quality and knowledge in the manufacturing. If all brands dedicated more effort in realizing a good product we would all be wearing proper shoes that are healthy and comfortable for our feet.

For the future of fashion, I see brands and retailers knowing more about their shoppers than ever before. The use of social media and all the technologies that we have nowadays will help improve the relationship between the creator and the buyer.

If I could make shoes for one person in this world, it would be Kate Moss. I love her style and she makes everything look even more gorgeous. She is a style icon and definitely would help to promote my shoes.

As for the types of shoes I adore, I couldn’t choose only one style. I love all modern beautiful shoes. Color-wise, I tend to go to black but I also love bright beautiful colors. The type of shoes I’m not too crazy about is vintage, especially second-hand ones. I have an obsession about perfect new leather and how amazing and smart it looks.

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My work ethic is to always have in mind the customer needs, creating beautiful, functional and unique products. My purpose is to continue working hard to keep the level of work and create a brand known for its strong, innovative collections.

I’m currently working on my next collection and putting together my studio. I am developing new samples and working on my brand’s promotion and clientele. My biggest challenge at the moment is getting it started and making my dream come true.


When I’m not working, I’m socializing or doing sport, I like cinema, art, music, photography and things related to them. I surround myself with people who are honest, normally creative, funny, transparent, and faithful. What I really appreciate is people that are kind and sincere. Throughout this process, my family and friends have been really supportive, I couldn’t have done it without my parents’ help and all the people that have so kindly collaborated with me on my work at some point.

Inspiration finds me when I do research. It’s my way of getting inspired; looking into other disciplines that interest me, such as product design, architecture, engineering, furniture, art…

If I had to choose between my heart and my head, I think one can’t exist without the other. Your ideas need to be felt, and your feelings need to be thought. What I believe in the most are my ideas and my goals. Also, to follow my instincts in accomplishing interesting and functional outcomes. The most important thing to me at the moment is my personal project. I’m concentrating all my efforts on that now, and it’s something that I really want and that am really fighting for.

My WILD Wish would be to be successful with my project and be able to dedicate my time to it for the rest of my life.


launch gallery

For more info on Silvia, visit her website or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

text by: Karen Lam

photography by: Eliska Kyselkova & Elixabete Lopez

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