Silvia Fado creates hydraulic heels

With a strong interest in architecture and a background in knitwear design, Silvia Fado completed a Master in Fashion Footwear at the London College of Fashion with Distinction. For her first collection, Kinetic Traces, Silvia was intrigued by the relationship between the movement of the body and Fashion footwear design on the one hand, and high performance Sports footwear and body movement on the other. She wanted to explore the philosophical and aesthetic consequences of changing the dynamic of that relationship. The principal functions of footwear are often sacrificed in Fashion. This project brings Sports footwear fundamentals to high-end fashion. Sports footwear design is based on function and wearability, which are not features commonly applied in Fashion footwear. 

Silvia has been analysing comfort elements in footwear, particularly impact absorption, shoe weight, traction (the relationship between shoe and surface) and upper durability. She sought to bring these concepts into the design of high-end women’s high heels. The central concept of the project 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. 

Silvia has been working with an architect that helped her to study the interacting forces in the structure of the high heeled shoe during movement. A collaboration with a photographer made possible to see the continuous movement broken down into individual parts as a diagram. To realise the absorption function, Silvia introduced an element of internal movement into these structures. Moreover, she collaborated with an engineer partner to develop these mechanisms and an industrial partner to enable production of the final product to an appropriate standard for the target market. Impact absorption was developed using different mechanical methods not typically used in Fashion. The methodologies used in the project include traditional making (leather work, traditional machinery making, metal work, wood shaping) and rapid prototyping (3D milling machine, laser cutting and 3D printing). Her shoes has been exhibited in London, Paris Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Dutch Design Week and Barcelona 080 Fashion Week.

Designer | Silvia Fado