Footwear designer, Jayda Hany, started off aspiring to be a womenswear designer, but her aspirations changed while studying architectural engineering The American University in Cairo. It was in school that she started to realize the close connection between footwear design and architecture—she had, "always viewed the shoe as a moveable, small-scaled structure." After finishing at the American University in Cairo, she went on to study footwear design at the London College of Fashion.
The transition from architectural engineering to footwear design was a big one, but she quickly noticed similarities between the two design processes, "I realized that footwear design and architectural/structural design are exactly the same regarding the design process—the research, the detailing, etc. The only difference would be the scale."
Hany's Connector collection points out something we often forget about shoes—their main function is to hold our weight. Her use of non-glamorous screws, rivets and 3D printed plastics screams, "this is how I was made" to the wearer. Highlighting the making process in a final design is something not often seen in the footwear realm, so this in-your-face take on the subject is refreshing. And the shoes are even attractive! The clunky materials come together to create beautiful forms that are surprisingly streamlined.
Architecture is a clear inspiration for the collection, but it runs deeper than you'd think—Hany's material choices and colors were specifically chosen to reinforce her architectural theme. In her own words:
"Connector is inspired by the Truss structural system, which is a cross-braced system consisting of a joint that connects truss members repetitively. All of the red pieces in the shoes represent the joint—they are 3D printed in order to have ultimate accuracy. The joints are then reinforced with stainless steel rods that utilize tensile and compressive forces to bear the weight—just like a Truss would do in a building—to achieve maximum durability. I used clear acrylic platforms that are cut on a CNC machine to achieve transparency, so the user can view how the shoe is composed. I intentionally used non decorative screws and rivets to emphasize the functionality and industrial look of the collection."
Connector is an extension of Hany's view that the shoe is a mobile structure meant to support the body's weight:
"A structure by definition is what supports a load and prevents collapsing. The body's weight, in this case, is the load that is carried by the structure, i.e the shoe. The only difference between a building structure and a shoe is that the building is designed to be static, whereas a shoe is used for walking, running, standing, leaning, etc."
Notice how cohesive the collection is—that's no easy task, considering the bulky materials she chose to use. According to Hany, the most challenging part of designing such a cohesive footwear collection was to keep her shoes as simple and to-the-point as possible. Simplicity was key in in her design process in order to keep her inspiration from getting lost in translation.
Another detail designers should take note of—check out Hany's clever 360 degree GIFs:
360 degree view of "Hybrid."
This is a great portfolio idea, especially when you want a potential employer to see your work in more detail, but they're based in another country. Hany is definitely an up-and-coming footwear designer to keep an eye on.
To see more details of the Connector collection (and more awesome 360 GIFs), visit Hany's website.
Emily is a freelance writer based in NYC with an interest in all things design, specifically the design process. When she's not writing about design, Emily can either be found taking care of her 31 houseplants, going on "nature" walks in her neighborhood or studying Japanese. Before going freelance, Emily was an Editor at Core77.