Designer: Helen Furber
Location: London, United Kingdom
Category: Soft Goods/Apparel
Award: Student Winner
Proposing a cradle-to-cradle approach to fashion footwear creation, construction processes, materials and product life-cycle have been examined and re-designed. Icica wedge relies on the principles of modular construction and mechanical grip to replace glue. The result is a striking shoe with components which can be separated (for recycling/biodegrading) post-consumption.
The modular Icica construction allows different materials to be combined in a shoe and then separated for recycling/biodegrading. Materials testing and implementation of an end-life programme is the next step, establishing a programme for re-collecting and recycling materials, or adopting materials which can be recycled in the mainstream. Testing is required for each new material adopted, aiming for maximum reuse and potentially working with a recycling firm. The use of bio-based plastics as opposed to petroleum-based is another step, though more in-depth analysis of materials needs completing before the product is brought to market. Strict sourcing is imperative, producing as ethically and ecologically as possible. Manufacture is European and ethical, producing for the luxury market and utilizing skilled craftsmen. The use of organic leather is key to more ethical production of leather. Likewise replacing exotics with fish/ostrich means hides are a meat industry by-product and supplied by Atlantic leathers, the tannery is run on hydroelectricity and naturally heated geothermal water. Organic cotton organza is used in one upper. Trims are off-cuts. Materials in packaging are recycled unbleached card and embossed where branded, with shoe-bags made from organic brushed cotton.
Core77: What's the latest news or development with your project?
My current main focus is a full-time design role but I'm hoping to find a sponsor to evolve the project in the future into a market-ready product.
What are some of the challenges you encountered developing your project?
I learned a lot throughout the project and made many mistakes. One that springs to mind is not to use modelling clay to adjust the last (form used to mould the upper of the shoe), as after several hours of careful moulding the toe dropped off! I also had a bit of a nightmare when it came to the photography, having organised the shoot with the fantastic David Abrahams (in my then living room!), 2 days before deadline and my 3rd model cancelled on me an hour before the start. I ended up running around topshop oxford circus asking people what size feet they have, and luckily my model just happened to be in the queue to pay...
Read on for full details on the project and jury comments.