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BARCELONA | There’s much more to fashion than just its looks. Clothes are a life attitude, a statement, a definition of who we are and how (and how much) we want to reveal to the world about ourselves. These statement do not sound so new. But, what if we were missing a very important part of the picture. What if fashion had sound, a smell... What if clothes and accessories were an injection of life. Well, Barcelona’s shoe maker Arrels firmly believes this is actually the case. The Brand is less than one year old and their innovative concept is stealing hearts and minds across the globe. Arrels’ shoes are an antidote against pessimism and  stereotypes. Their shoes are a call to the unexpected; the elixir to life. “I want my clothes and style not only to look nice, but also to sound nice”, cyborg artist Neil Harbisson points out. He is Arrels' ambassador. Most importantly, he has identified a chromatic musical tone for each model thanks to his electronic antenna that allows him to listen to colors. Llaudet and his cousin, Pepe Llaudet, launched the brand as a remembrance to their families' roots in the Catalan textile industry. They wanted to pay homage to the rural life as opposed to the increasingly dehumanized cities of today. According to Llaudet,  Arrels shoes are made of Barcelona. Here the preposition “of” (and not “in”) plays a crucial role. Arrels means “roots” in Catalan. And loyalty to one’s roots is the starting point of Arrels’ journey. The shoes have been crafted with all the inspiration they can get from Barcelona and the Mediterranean lifestyle. "The Mediterranean gives us all the inspiration that we have; and also Barcelona because we just love living in this city. The music also inspires us because we don't understand life without it", Llaudet tells us. Arrels' shoes want to share this positive life attitude with the use of bold colors and the right dose of sense of humor. Co-creation is at the core of Arrels. So the design process is strictly linked to music, illustration, photography and many other disciplines. “I’m a very curious person. And I always liked graphic design, art, music and perfumes. That’s why I wanted to have a bit of all these things that inspire me in the brand”, explains Arrels co-founder, Javier Llaudet. In other words, these are shoes for the “rural urbanites”. The designs of Barcelona based artists such illustrators Lara Costafreda and Catalina Estrada; grafitti artist Yoshi Sislay; and Graphic Design studio Hey are well proof of that. They all contributed with bold approaches to the conventional shoe by bringing together the Mediterranean essence: “the urban spirit and the rural soul”. The basis of Arrels’ creative process is the very good relationship that they have with the artists they work with. Together they’ve developed some of the edgy patterns that make Arrels special. "We have a very good relationship with all of them [the artists]. It's very important to us to work with very creative people and, most importantly, people with a good heart",  Llaudet points out. Photos courtesy of Arrels.

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