It’s fair to say that design has changed drastically during the turn of the 21st century.
Sustainability is embraced, fabric waste is reduced, and consumers are more conscious about what they put on their backs. While the fashion industry is one of the world’s most polluting industries, designers are brands alike have worked toward eco-friendly practices that keep our environment safe. Bio-based materials have become a prime source of innovation in the sector, seeing brands gear toward mushroom leathers, carbonless rubbers, and more.
In the footwear realm, brands are looking to the future by crafting new technologies that allow for ultra-fast and modern designs. Established in 2022, emerging label ALIVEFORM has already made an impact and is redefining 3D-printed kicks with a fiercely pioneering attitude.
The Japanese label wants to provide a greener tomorrow while honoring Earth’s natural elements. Founded on organic matter and growth, ALIVEFORM brings science into the mix. Founder Pek Shun Ping takes pride in print-to-order methods grown from natural materials and reflects this concept across ALIVEFORM’s latest collection.
Titled “ARMIS,” the offering includes four new designs: the Armis Low, Low+, Mid, and Slide — all boasting skewed linear structures that appear in motion. Entering the UK market, ALIVEFORM recently launched its forthcoming collaboration with London’s HOUSE OF ERRORS. The TOPO-01 embraced a laceless construction and ribbed blueprints that melt together, creating a layered effect. The collaborative model marks HOUSE OF ERRORS’ first foray into footwear, with the buzz amassed since its unveiling foreshadowing ALIVEFORM’s progression towards global domination.
Hypebeast joins ALIVEFORM founder Pek Shun Ping to speak about the concept behind his brand, where he sees 3D footwear going in the future, and his preference for technological design practices.
Hypebeast: When did you start ALIVEFORM, and what is the concept behind it?
Pek Shun Ping: ALIVEFORM started in August 2022. The brand seeks to explore the theme of “Nature x Future” through footwear. Speculating and expanding design possibilities with 3D printing, exploring the intersection between nature and science
You create futuristic 3D-printed footwear with a sustainable outlook. Where did this idea come from?
Starting with a broad view of the overall industry’s limitations when it comes to footwear manufacturing and how the advantages of 3D printing technology could help provide a better solution. One of which is the ability to print on demand, creating pairs only when needed, thus eliminating the potential waste of leftover stock. Another is the use of a singular material and independent production process, uncluttering the complex supply chain.
Where do you see the future of 3D-printed footwear going in the future?
Everywhere. My peers and I — from Scry, Zellerfeld, and more — are helping to normalize and pave the way for mass adoption. The advantages will be immense and so obvious that most major brands will be a part of it in due course.
Your designs often reflect the beauty of nature. Walk me through the ideation process behind your designs.
Often inspiration strikes when observing nature, from physical forms like the perforated leaves of the monstera plant to phenomena like the growth pattern of brain coral. Each of these observations comes from the essence of what is to be conveyed and amplified through design.
“Often inspiration strikes when observing nature, from physical forms like the perforated leaves of the monstera plant to phenomena like the growth pattern of brain coral.”
How do nature and science collide in your work?
I interpret science as nature decoded and understood, designs are brought alive in a combination of nature-inspired organic forms, computational design, and growth algorithms found outside.
Walk me through the printing process once your on-paper designs are complete.
3D modeling would be the next process, as well as analyzing the printability of the design. Once that is done, the digital file will be sent for sample printing. The sample print will be tested for comfort and adjusted digitally. The whole sampling process is repeated till both aesthetic and function are fulfilled.
Why have you chosen to pursue 3D printing rather than regular footwear design techniques?
Regular footwear design techniques are well established, and in a saturated footwear market, I do not see myself creating another footwear brand. With 3D printing, I see the value in the unexplored and untapped potential of what printed shoes could be. Fundamentally, I am obsessed with the technology behind it and want to be one of the pioneers in the new era of footwear.
What is the goal of ALIVEFORM, and what do you hope to change within the footwear industry?
The goal of ALIVEFORM is to bring innovative designs to a wider audience and acceptance of 3D-printed footwear. I do not hope to change the footwear industry as a whole but to see more brands exploring 3D printing.
Walk me through the design process behind ALIVEFORM’s latest mini collection, “ARMIS.”
Armis, the Latin word for armor, is a homage to nature’s protective designs. The collection is inspired by resilient forms of cacti and seashells functioning as natural shields. Similarly, ARMIS encapsulates and supports the foot, offering cushioning and protection to the wearer.
Where do you intend to lead ALIVEFORM in the future?
Moving forward, ALIVEFORM will still be a footwear-focused brand with expansion into wearables while still retaining the essence of the brand.
What can we expect in the near future from ALIVEFORM?
More collaborations, new collections, and more physical presence!
Shop ALIVEFORM’s “ARMIS” collection now via the brand’s website. Products are made-to-order and take 4-6 weeks to produce once an order is placed.
In other news, the Palace x New Balance Made In UK 991 was fate in the making.