Possessing a notable background in sportswear, Yassine Saidi has gained a fundamental knowledge of the business behind powerhouse brands. Utilizing his skill set,Yassine plans to expand the PUMA name while using great sporting history as the primary source of inspiration. In the midst of his busy schedule of overseeing design, development, distribution and marketing at PUMA - Yassine sat down to answer a few questions gearing up for this week's release of Blaze of Glory.

What were your initial thoughts of Guillaume’s idea for the Puma Blaze of Glory?

Our plan was to create something unique. Something different in storytelling. That’s the whole point of collaborating. To bring something different to the market place. When I saw the first design, I knew it was mission accomplished because the design clearly demonstrated both PUMA sports and Filling Pieces’ design. It was a risky bet, because it was the first time 2 footwear companies collaborated and we showed that it could be very successful. We basically talked about doing something together. So from day 1 I was confident that he would do something strong. I really thought merging our products and style was very comparable.

How did you feel when Guillaume said he wanted to deconstruct the toe box and remove layers from it?

I think deconstructing and rebuilding are just key words in the design process. We are very protective and careful of the design but we also wanted to give FP the opportunity to alter the upper to create their custom style. I was not against it; I was actually for the idea.

How did you react to the final product?

The creation process went really really smooth. Not a lot of our partners makes only footwear. Filling Pieces understands footwear and know how to make it look good. They’ve been very true to their astethic. We’re very similar in DNA and design, which is why the design is so strong. The first sketch we have is the shoe you see today. So when I saw the final product, it was nice to see that first sketch come to fruition

How was it to work together?

The chance we have in our line of work is that we meet each other in every corner of the world.  We’ve been together in Asia, we’ve been together in the US, we’ve been together almost everywhere; because we’re just following fashion weeks and places where our businesses are. So we’ve been constantly in talk. Our process is so energetic, so organic in the way the team brought this concept together. It was fairly easy to get to where we are today. I also think we’ve learned a lot from each other in design and from the project.

What kind of consumer did you have in mind when working on this collaboration?

I was thinking about the sneaker consumer in general that is looking for a luxury version of an icon within the sneaker culture. It was always the objective to bridge the gap between the sport sneaker and the luxury sneaker. So it covers both sides, sneaker culture, and luxury.

How much free reign did you give to Filling Pieces? Was there anything you didn’t let them do or were there times you had to reign them in?

No constraints, it has been a really organic process. Since they know footwear, they know what they can do and what they can’t do. I just made sure both brands were represented well.

Yassine, were you surprised the collaboration was going to be in black and white?

Well at first, we had two versions. A white base and a black base. And we decided to only choose one color way. But who knows what’s coming next, maybe there will be something in the future.

What sets this collaboration apart?

Every collaboration is different because every relationship is different and everybody works in a different way.  What set this one apart is that we created a completely new product, that’s the main difference. 

Do you think the Filling Pieces DNA is evident within the shoe? Why do you think the brands work so well together?

Filling Pieces is clearly evident throughout the shoe. We let Guillaume go crazy and if you look at any FP shoe and compare it to the Blaze, you can clearly see FP’s DNA. The brands work so well together because they’re both on the same page when it comes to design and creativity.

Did you think Guillaume would pick the Blaze of Glory model?

Guillaume has been wearing PUMA for decades. His favorite siholouete is the blaze of glory. So that was a great starting point for him to instill FP Design.

Were you two in mutual agreement over which direction the shoe should take?

Both brands are represented. Partner takes the lead on design and direction. Me and Giullaume are very close and have known each other for a long time. So that’s why it was really organic, because we’re a lot alike.

 Article and Images Courtesy of PUMA