Marie Laffont: Designing for the Future
Marie Laffont makes shoes for the futuristic unknown – where art, design, and environmentalism collide. Born in Paris, France, Laffont has always had an affinity for all things beautiful whether it be nature, art, or fashion. As a child she was enamored with the creative spirit that permeates the City of Light: “I’ve always admired art and artists from a very young age…. I started painting, drawing and sculpting at around 4 years old and never stopped.”
An Artisan Since Birth
Indeed, Marie Laffont continued her impressive trajectory as an artisan, working for luxury footwear brands such as Sonia Rykiel, Christian Louboutin, and Zac Posen; “before that I studied under Pierre Hardy.” Laffont’s affinity for all things creative also followed her to these fashion houses: “For every brand I’ve worked with, I’ve incorporated motifs or used techniques of visual arts to create designs…. When I create a pair of shoes, I often think about which artist would wear it and often name it after her.”
For Marie Laffont, “creating [her] own brand was always a coveted dream.” A dream that became a reality when Laffont was pregnant with her first child. “During my pregnancy, I couldn’t find the right shoe for me: flat but not a sneaker, comfortable but elegant,” the designer notes. At the same time, “wearing and producing a durable product is… important to me for the environment and thus for future generations… [as] a mother… nothing is more important to me than that.” So she began her namesake brand.
Marie Laffont knew from the start that her design process would follow very specific principles: “I didn’t want to have to compromise aesthetic for comfort.” As for the quality of the product, the designer hopes that her footwear will, over time, become as cherished as a childhood teddy bear; “I want my shoes to be as long lasting as possible; with time, I want them to feel like a pair of pants, a jacket or a coat that you’ve worn a lot but still is the best fit…. I want them to… form some sort of an emotional bond with their owner.”
Marie Laffont: Redesigning Ecological Footprints
These shoes are not only our #1 pick because of their comfort and durability, but because of their environmental friendliness as well. According to Marie Laffont, “the concept of sustainability has never been more relevant.” Staying true to this statement, she created a design process that limits waste and recycles precious materials. “All my shoes are handmade by amazing craftsmen in Italy and I use only high quality products. The sole, that I’ve designed from scratch, is made with 80% of recycled materials and the boxes the shoes come in are 100% recyclable & made out of recycled paper. The signature studs, which are fixed into the gros grain, are also hand applied in Italy.”
When asked about why sustainability became a part of the designer’s practice, she explains “I think the environment affects our happiness more than some of us realize. Air pollution, noise pollution, [and] climate are all factors that shape our life. I try to be mindful of that not only through my work, but in everyday life in general. I believe in giving back to the world and in being respectful, to people and the environment – and I want my son to grow up around this as well. Kids should not be the ones who pay for our mistake. And this is the main reason why I’m proud to produce shoes that are sustainable and long lasting. Shoes that are environmentally friendly and that stay with you for the longest time – I’m a romantic like that!”
Making Sustainability Matter
In today’s consumer-driven world, sustainability seems to be a buzzword that holds little weight – but not for Marie Laffont. This shoe designer views implementing sustainability practices in her company as a fight against social injustice; “our creativity should never have a negative impact on the environment – we owe it to future generations to be mindful of that.” Laffont also views these changes in the fashion community as a welcome challenge. Increased demand for sustainable products “provides an opportunity for artists and designers to rethink their approach from production to execution.”
From sustainability efforts we can get behind to unique and timeless designs, it’s easy to see why these shoes have become our 2020 favorites. And of course we had to ask Marie Laffont about the many adventures she’s had while wearing her own designs. “One time, I had to go try on my wedding dress and I was so late – I was running to my appointment while wearing my shoes (yes, they are so comfortable to run in as well!) and I bumped into Matthew McConaughey! They’ve been my lucky charm since then!” I’ll be wearing my pair next time I go to the grocery store – maybe some of that luck will rub off!
Written by Abby Coté