We spoke to Palladium’s Global Product Line Manager Hommy Diaz to learn more about the brand’s latest collaborations and future endeavors.
Founded in 1920, Palladium originally made tires for the fledgling aviation industry. After World War II, with the decline of aircraft manufacturing, the demand for tires decreased dramatically. Using their resources and factories, Palladium opened a plant in Pont De Cheruy, France, to start producing footwear that was as hardwearing as their tires. In 1947 the legendary Pampa boot was born, and the functionality, comfort and durability proved so exceptional that the French Foreign Legion adopted it for their use. Today, the original design, classic lines and time-tested utility are just as appreciated as they were then. To learn more about the increasingly popular footwear brand, we spoke to Palladium’s Global Product Line Manager Hommy Diaz. See what he had to say below.
What were you doing before working as the Global Product Line Manager for Palladium?
Prior to Palladium I was spearheading the DC Lifestyle footwear Collection at DC Shoes.
How did your experience at DC prepare you for your current role?
The DC Lifestyle collection was a limited distribution product line that consisted of premium materials commanding price points above the DC Shoes performance and mainstream product lines. It was a great learning experience working with full grain leathers and the best textiles. This prepared me for my current roll because Palladium’s standards are nothing less than the finest leathers and textiles across the entire product range. I am happy to pick up with Palladium where I left off with DC Shoes.
How do you plan to merge Palladium’s history with current trends and the aesthetics of today?
Our collaboration with ALPHA Industries is a perfect example of how I have merged Palladium’s history with current trends and the aesthetics of today. Through the past decade, I have noticed ALPHA’s influence on many fashion brands. And during my first week on the job at Palladium I quickly identified that collaborating with ALPHA would be a perfect and relevant fit due to the parallels of both brands’ history and contributions to military wear. Palladium started out as a tire manufacturing company supplying the European air force. After the Second World War the manufacturing transitioned into making boots in 1947 for the ground troops. At about the same time ALPHA was producing the flight jackets for the air force and field jackets for the U.S. Army. The goal of the partnership was to create a platform to educate the consumer about the history between both brands. The product goal was to merge our core heritage pieces.
Offering a modern presentation consisting of the authentic satin flight nylon and recognizable colors of the iconic MA‐1 jacket applied to our Pampa boot upper pattern. The boots are also complete with the metal zippers from the jacket primarily as a function to easily remove your boots without unlacing them at the airport when traveling to explore other cities. The Pampa Baggy boots will be available in ALPHA’s Black, Sage Green, Maroon and Navy consistent with the highlighted signature orange lining. I couldn’t leave the MA-1 jacket out of the equation so I designed a custom slim-fit jacket with a unique color-blocking combining all four colors and Palladium’s signature trims. The goal was to offer one jacket that can easily be fashionably worn with any one of the four boots. The capsule collection will be available globally this year for the Fall/Winter 2014 season.
What does your design process generally consist of? Do you look at the material first or do you have an overall vision for each new sneaker/collection?
It depends on what part of the line I am working on. The collaboration with ALPHA was a combination of the two. The vision was to tell a story about the brand’s history in military aviation which sparked my interest and my vision to use the materials and colors of the MA-1 jacket. For the rest of the line, I visited material libraries around the world in search of materials first to inspire merchandising stories for the rest of the line.
Will innovative materials play an important role in Palladium’s future?
Innovative materials has always played an important role for Palladium and that will continue for years to come.
Where does Palladium fit within the ever-changing footwear landscape?
Palladium is a reliable boot that offers function first and then fashion. It’s an authentic boot construction with the comfort of a sneaker.
What separates Palladium from other footwear manufacturers?
Other boot brands represent function for the wilderness and workwear industry. What separates Palladium from other footwear brands is that we are “Engineered For City Terrain.”
Palladium has had a string of successful collaborations over the past year. Can we expect to see more?
Yes, we will have more collaborations to offer, none of which I am at liberty to reveal at the moment.
Do you have a personal favorite model or colorway?
I am currently wearing and enjoying the Pampa Hi in black with the glow in the dark outsoles in collaboration with Atmos Japan.
Shop Palladium’s current offerings here.