Sarah Diab

In Conversation With: Sarah Diab

February 11, 2022

 Global Footwear Awards winner,  Sarah Diab, discussed The Fibonacci Mule , GFA 2021 winning design.

Global Footwear Awards (GFA) has begun its global search to identify visionary designers in footwear. The Fibonacci Mule was awarded the best in Women’s Fashion category for brand level as well as the winner of GFA x Shoe Girls Up and Coming Female Brand.

The Fibonacci Mule is the 2nd piece of Sarah’s Collection of 2 Luxury Footwear. For the creation of the collection, Sarah worked with Skillful Artisans and Engineers form Egypt, Italy, Uk, Russia, Ukraine, Pakistan and Refugees from Syria. Inspired by Geometrical Patterns in Nature. Sarah was inspired by how patterns in nature amazingly follow a proportional system, in which one element or more are related to each other in a proportional ratio, known as “Nature’s Code/Golden Ratio”.


Returning from Japan in 2018, Sarah Diab, Egyptian designer, decided to get back to her homeland “Egypt” and follow her life-long passion for footwear and fashion. Sarah travelled to Italy and Switzerland in 2019 to study footwear design and manufacture. In the same year she graduated in footwear design during her stay in Milan. Coming from a multicultural background, Egyptian with Sudanese roots and mother to Japanese/Egyptian children, Sarah values multiculturalism and diversity.


GFA talks with Sarah about the winning project:

What was most important for you when working on this project and what were the biggest challenges you faced?

Luxury for global citizens, luxury that is not a product of consumption but an expression of identity. Global citizens are directed towards a culture of purpose and as a designer my mission is to achieve an equilibrium in my designs that reflects the ethics and values towards both earth and humanity.


What is your guiding design principle?

Design thinking is the backbone of my design work.  I am keen to ensure a long life cycle and a lasting emotional attachment with every product design. 


How do you think your own culture and environment has shaped your personal and professional creative vision?

Being an Egyptian with Sudanese roots and mother to Japanese/Egyptian children, I value multiculturalism and diversity. I focus on reflecting the fluidity between Arabian, Asian and African influences in my designs.


What advice would you give to future aspiring footwear designers?

 “Go out, widen you exposure and don’t be afraid to experiment. It is difficult to be inspired behind closed doors”. This is a valuable advice that my lecturer shared with me while I worked on my graduation project in Milan 2019.


How has the pandemic affected your work and design process?

With the pandemic striking the world, we all had to rethink our behavior and how we interact with Nature. I believe as fashion designers, we have a great role to reshape what we call fashion and what fashion is, by taking in consideration our impact as early “as the design stage” with an aim to value nature and mankind.


How/when did you discover that you wanted to work in design?

Fashion in general has always been an interest to me, it is a unique tool to represent an identity and pay homage to heritage. I developed an interest in design at a very young age and my mother, to whom I am most grateful, has been the main source of empowerment.


How do you feel about the topic of sustainability and social impact in regards to footwear design in general?

Footwear production goes through many stages to reach the final product, if we are not mindful, the process could be harmful to the Planet. Sustainability, artistry and heritage are at the core of my designs. The work process involves a diverse team of artisans and engineers form Egypt, Italy, UK, Russia, Ukraine and Pakistan. Giving back to humanity and supporting local communities, I work with Syrian refuges in Egypt, and local Egyptian craftsmen and women. The creation process of The Fibonacci mule, for example, has been an opportunity to value nature, combine Innovative Technology with Craftsmanship. The Fibonacci mule, is inspired by geometrical patterns in nature and how they amazingly follow a proportional system, in which one element or more are related to each other in a proportional ratio, known as “the Golden Ratio / Fibonacci Sequence”


Where do you get motivation and inspiration from for your work? 

I find inspirations in nature, people and cultures. The travels to Europe and Asia and the people, who I have come across with, have been an interesting source of inspiration.


How do you deal with feedback?

I see feedback as a valuable input to anchor creative work to what customers really desire. The quicker the feedback, the faster you can pivot or persevere.


Which designer in the footwear industry do you most admire and why? 

Manolo Blahnik and Salvatore Ferragamo. I admire originality, creativity, craftsmanship and elegantly feminine designs.


The Global Footwear Design Awards (GFA) is announcing winners for its second edition, showcasing a variety of exceptional creative potential across 20+ categories in all levels; Brands, Independent and Students. The GFA recognizes visionary design talent from around the world with an ambition to provide the highest recognition to footwear designers in all categories including sustainability and social impact.

View other GFA 2021 Winners here


The Global Footwear Awards

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Los Angeles, CA 90021 USA

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