IWC JOINS FORCES WITH GUILLAUME PHILIBERT, AMSTERDAM-BASED DESIGNER OF PREMIUM SNEAKERS
Dutch designer Guillaume Philibert is the founder of Filling Pieces, a streetwear brand that specializes in manufacturing handmade high-quality sneakers. While studying architecture in Amsterdam, Guillaume detected a rising yet unmet demand for premium sneakers at a fair price. Guided by the principle to bridge streetwear and high fashion, he dropped his first collection in 2009. Since then, Filling Pieces has grown into one of the most highly regarded independent footwear brands known for its premium quality, handmade manufacture and its distinct look.
BRIDGING THE GAP
On how Guillaume started up Filling Pieces
I studied architecture and I always had this big passion for products, especially shoes. At the age of 19 while studying architecture and being a broke student, I couldn’t really afford the higher brands, like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc. I was a little bit tired of the sneakers that were made by Adidas and Nike. I was looking for something a little bit more dressed up, a little bit more qualitative, but I couldn’t really find it on the market. That’s when I started exploring to build a product design for a shoe that was bridging the gap between high-end and streetwear. And that’s how it started.
On how he approached retailers
Everything was quite honest. Of course, you have a conversation with a certain retailer where you name-drop some potential stores that replied to your email, but I’ve always had this approach of, “this is what I’m doing, I hope you’ll like it, and if you don’t, well, that’s a shame, but on to the next thing.” I don’t really believe in the whole pretending to be more than you are. […]
I emailed probably 1000 stores, of these 1000 stores, maybe 20-30 stores replied. And some of them were interested. So, I went in with suitcase or my little sample trolley to patiently explain about the product, the quality, the fits, the design details, or why they should buy it.
THE BRAND THAT BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER
On how much Amsterdam played a role
There are so many aspects about Amsterdam or the Netherlands which are interesting. My parents are from Suriname which used to be a Dutch colony. And obviously, the Dutch people colonized a lot of places in the world. That’s also why the Netherlands is quite multicultural, right? You have so many Surinamese people, people from Indonesia, you have so many different ethnicities, which kind of makes Amsterdam also a melting pot of different cultures. Later in this conversation, we’ll get to how that is inspiring me or the brand. But there’s so many different ethnicities that all come with different cultural backgrounds and style, and that’s also why the style in the Netherlands is very mixed and diverse.
On what Filling Pieces stands for
Our products and what we do, should be the connection between different people. There’s a gap that we want to bridge with a certain product. But the brand is way more than just a brand that wants to bridge two different segments in the market. If you look at streetwear: streetwear comes from black culture, and high-end fashion was for the white elites. Everything that we’re doing, we’re trying to bring people together. “Bridge the Gap” is our “Nike – Just do it!”: our purpose, our slogan. We feel that our brand and products are able to connect different people, cultures and disciplines. That’s why we do so many things besides products – like events, workshops, … empowering different people. This is something really relevant and important for positive change.
Guillaume Philibert sporting the Big Pilot’s Watch 43 Ref. IW329301
The Amsterdam Filling Pieces Flagship Store on Spuistraat
The Filling Pieces flagship store in Amsterdam celebrating its partnership with IWC is transformed ...
... into a monochromatic “Woodland” world until 17 October, 2022
The Filling Pieces “Low Top Ghost Woodland” and IWC Pilot's TOP GUN “Woodland” Chronograph taking center stage.
IWC X FP’S COMMON VALUES
On what IWC and Filling Pieces have in common
I’m very proud of being able to serve such a big audience. That’s I think also one of the reasons – and the cultural part of the brand – why I got approached by IWC to become one of their brand ambassadors. Because the values of both brands really align. IWC is about craftmanship, storytelling, beautiful crafts from decades until today, very relevant and iconic design. And this is something that we as Filling Pieces and I as a designer really believe in: that besides making products, we want to create or at least empower positive change.
On what we can expect from the collaboration “IWC x FP”
There are so many comparisons or like-mindedness when it comes to product design and how the brands speak out a certain message. And that’s when we started out first having raw ideas about working on a product together. We will be launching a limited-edition Filling Pieces sneaker completely designed and built in the ethos of the monochromatic TOP GUN watches. We were able to work on the Woodland color which is a Pantone-patented color together with IWC, and we were able to design a full shoe in this color scheme. Obviously, all the responsibility and sustainability angles of IWC were respected, and the technology and innovation that they have in their products was translated to a smaller scale about what we do. So, we’re very grateful to be able to work with such a known name, but also the craftsmanship and experience that comes with it is something that we learn a lot from.
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IWC AND FILLING PIECES SNEAK(ER) INTO THE WOODLAND
IWC x Filling Pieces present their premium sneaker Low Top Ghost Woodland. Find out more about the collab & Filling Pieces’ Woodland themed pop up in Amsterdam.