The Chilote Shoe is a design-craft product made 100% by hand in the Chilean Patagonia using only repurposed and up-cycled salmon leather and natural wool.
This simple, noble, extremely comfortable and highly sustainable indoor shoe redefines the concept of inclusive design and conscious consumption. It is the result of the synergy created by three valuable assets; design guided craftsmanship, noble renewable materials from the Patagonia, and a disruptive socially inclusive manufacturing ecosystem.
The challenge was to create a highly sustainable opportunity that redefines the meaning of social inclusiveness, eco-materials and processes as well as what is desirability and commercial viability. In this context, we needed to go beyond the traditional limitations imposed on sustainability measures of current manufacturing practices where incremental steps allow only small iterative improvements.
Instead, we began focusing on the most eco-friendly materials and production methods available that were compatible with the local craftsmanship and social realities. Those limitations turned out to be the enablers of the Chilote House Shoe's universal appeal not only for it's aesthetic and functional qualities but also by providing a highly innovative story-line that embraces sustainability's requirements as an advantage instead of as a limitation.
In order to create something really meaningful and compelling we needed to deliver more than just a great product design, we needed to create a whole model or ecosystem around the product’s complete life cycle.
The best example of this would be it's groundbreaking inclusive manufacturing method that synchronizes a network of independent artisans, each contributing their respective craftsmanship in a virtual assembly line.
The manufacturer’s role within this methodology is completely untraditional being that most of the production is outsourced to small, self organized groups of individuals that form part of our production community. In turn, the company's core responsibilities are focused on raw material sourcing, local training workshops, shipping and receiving synchronization and iterative quality control procedures.
This innovative methodology creates measurable commercial and social value for all the participants involved in the products complete life cycle. Everyone from the artisan to the final consumer plays a key role as an enabler of the highly ethical model. All this information is shared with complete transparency and can be accessed by scanning the unique QR code assigned to each unit.
The Chilote House shoe is an example of how sustainable design thinking can enable groundbreaking inclusive production methods for highly desirable, responsable and commercially successfull products.