French sportswear giant SALOMON, synonymous with Alpine gear, has been at the cutting edge of performance-oriented design since opening its first workshop in 1947. The brand’s advanced approach to engineering – which gave us the world’s first self-release ski binding (nicknamed “your guardian angel” for its ankle-saving technology) – has long been mirrored in its aesthetic innovation, and Salomon has pushed its design experiments even further forward through collaborations with a range of fashion industry mavericks including Comme des Garçon’s Rei Kawakubo, Palace Skateboards, and Parisian retailer The Broken Arm. Now Salomon has joined forces with the renegade Italian techwear brand GR10K to reimagine the combat-ready Fell Raiser Mid model as a lightweight, high-grip shoe they call the TERRAIN-VORE.
Drawing from the base and superstructure optimized for the boot’s original use in the field, the remixed Terrain-Vore’s colorway channels the raw tactility of marble slabs and construction gravel – inspired not only by heritage and function, but by Peter Weiss’ Die Ästhetik des Widerstands (“The Aesthetics of Resistance”), which interprets art as a “trail” between cultures.
To co-create the visual landscape of the Terrain-Vore, GR10K tapped Silber Freare: “a proxy identity” for the Berlin-based photographer formerly known as Satoshi Fujiwara. Partnering with this new artistic entity, described as a “necessary ghosted airbag injecting a sacrificial subjectivity into … the violent image marketplace of Commercial Fashion Photography,” suggests another project aim: to rethink and redesign resistance – to the elements, to our changing environment and climate, to stagnation, or perhaps to resistance itself.
Fujiwara constructed his career via hardcore motion-capture, museum presence, and fashion campaigns for A List brands, but he soon became more interested in a practice of “refusal” than of promotion. That’s when he began to execute his commercial work under the moniker Silber Freare, “a distributed identity format that could cope with and waste any attempt at defining professionalism within an asymmetrical system of artistic production.” Artistically reborn, Satoshi developed an ongoing series of digital photography investigating “the sense of distance between the state and citizens” through detailed images of equipment used by law enforcement. This critical body of work, which resembles “a photomicrograph of skin tissues and drone footage” distilling the clash (real and perspectival) between citizens and these institutions of authority, is what drew GR10K to his work.
The collaborators met “on the shore of a small Italian reality,” where Freare shot the experimental campaign for Salomon x GR10K Terrain-Vore on rocky terrain. The aim: commercial content without creative restriction. The images of the product in motion a critical lens into the realm of consumption, and radical presentation into the production of advanced gear that adapts to contrasting environments, identities, or functions. Reflecting their radical approach to the Terrain-Vore launch, GR10K sent us an atmospheric treatise that stakes out the post-urban, post-outdoor, rugged and fusional terrain for and from which the shoe was designed. GR10K’s brand vocabulary, like Freare’s, is mysterious as it is polemical, part technical manual and part manifesto. Here’s how they tell the story of the Terrain-Vore:
UNIT – 2021
“Self Determination Checklist Defining Id and Comms”
The complex mail-based process coming up to the stabilization of a peculiar outlook for a new hiking shoe represents a mandatory creative buffer state made up of small meliorations and obsessive color palette picking. Optimization comes with filigree interventions. Composing media outlets is another normative option of detailing that puts an end to the industrial complex of shoemaking. Testing image viability, bending aesthetics, and landscape performance into a set of high-thought jpegs, making up the immaterial value and eye-worm trap conquering the aspiration of foreseeable buyers and enthusiasts. There are areas of fashion photography that expand the traditional outcome of garments performance, shoe picture making is one of these formats.
Salomon Fell-Raiser was always informally labeled the Terrain-Vore, a joke on Salomon’s multipurpose aim at occupying all formats of terrain, from urban walkways, extreme mountain pikes, and tactical invested parcels of deserts. The shoe was directly picked by military-grade listings of the catalogue not to maintain a worldwide fascination with defense style choices, but as an operation on strolling.
Devised by Lucius Burckhardt as an expanded format of investigation of external, environmental and social conditions, we thought that defense-graded footwear as worn represented the amplest format of terrain. It is a manifestation of a social group that does not fit within current creative footwear users nor bankers-on-a-weekend hikers. In a way, it was a critical outlet for curiosity.
The Salomon x GR10K Fell Raiser Mid will be available on the Salomon e-shop and at selected retailers from October 14, 2021. Watch THIS space to stay up to speed, and keep scrolling for close-ups of the new TERRAIN-VORE.