Camper and Bernhard Willhelm Honor 10 Years of the Himalayan Shoe

Camper and Bernhard Willhelm Honor 10 Years of the Himalayan Shoe

This iconic collaboration is back with a whole new look

This iconic collaboration is back with a whole new look

A decade after it's release, the Himalayan shoe by Camper still proves to be a true cult classic. First released in 2009, the Himalayan shoe is the brainchild of avant-garde German fashion designer Bernhard Willhelm and Camper shoes. Now, the duo is back to celebrate the birth of the iconic shoe with a major makeover and a whole new look.

Designed after football socks, the shoe takes on a sleek new look blending onto the foot in a trendy pull-on sock style. Compared to its original release, the 2019 Himalayan shoe is far more paired back with the use of black and white coloring and consistent textures. The outsoles of the shoe remain their most defining feature, a lattice-style structure for lightweight support and added height. Amidst the release of their latest collaboration, V sat down with Willhelm to discuss the past, present, and future of the Himalayan shoe.

Where do you draw inspiration from when you’re designing?

Right now from working from a distance. I'm travelling and working on my iPhone and also with my shopping skills at Goodwill. Then it’s sent to a production company in Japan and to my Amsterdam assistant. Then its reworked visually and interpreted. When Marcel Duchamp left Paris for New York the bottle dryer stayed in Paris...

From conceptualization to the final product, what does your design process look like?

Right now there's only fittings with pictures. I work with my own pattern archive from the last 5 seasons more or less (BW classics) and some new input by found objects/garments which come around accidentally...I don't force input. It's a 5 month work process. It's also a decision to have little/no input for graphics  I rely on my artist friends Stefan Meier (Los Angeles based) and Carsten Fock (Berlin based).

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Post modern Zen uniform.

You established your brand over 20 years ago and you’ve watched the fashion industry advance in many new directions. What have you learned in that time and how have you been able to stay ahead of trends?

After 20 years I'm more relaxed about making collections. I like the idea of wearability and easiness. I do not want to impress too much with looks anymore. Also this included not doing fashion shows anymore but more image making with film and video. It turned out to be very difficult to make money with designing clothes but easier with collaborations, I'm making smaller/unisex collections. We are doing well in Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York. We work with very modern people.

What was it like to work with Camper’s team in the creation of this celebratory collection?

We developed the old ‘wave’ sole with a lighter construction and composite. We developed a new knitted upper with the new Camper trainer factory in Vietnam so it’s based on an old sole shape but with all-new technologies. There's also a Zen/monk feeling to the shoes based on spiritual aesthetics from Japan (Obi bands, grading colours,  and graphics/weavings and Nepal furry ’goat’ textures for the knitted upper sock) and now for the new long socks also dip tye dye and colourgrading. We have done a lot of colourgrading looks the last 5 years and have brought it back into fashion. Colour and colour interaction is my speciality. 

Having already achieved many milestones in your career, what plans do you have for the future of your brand?

Post modern Zen is what I'm into right now. That includes also the pose and attitude of the model in the pictures.

The four styles from the collection are available at CamperLab's three global retail locations in Paris, London, and New York City, as well as on Camper.com

Camper

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