Experimantal shoe design by Marloes ten Bhomer

Marloes ten Brohmer 
- Describe yourself as a designer and as a person.
- Stubborn and righteous.

- What are the main differences between both descriptions?
- Counts for both.

- What was your first created item you where proud of?
- The first time that I made something that was ready for real use; it was a porcelain cup in my BA and it opened a desire to make things that are both fantastical and real.

- How did you decided to design shoes?
- While studying 3D (product) design at the ArtEz, the Netherlands, I was introduced to footwear design by one of my tutors, Marijke Bruggink, founder of the very successful shoe label Lola Pagola.
Within my role as product designer, I find shoes a very interesting and complex subject matter. It combines a full spectrum of design concerns from material knowledge to engineering and highly intuitive aspects. Next to my own agenda I have regarding design, which deals with designing objects that ignore or criticise conventions in order to make the product-world less generic. Shoes need to be structurally sound. Making shoes in a non-conventional way and still making them technically accurate is a real challenge.
In addition to these challenges I am very drawn to the fact that shoes, by being very close to the body, have a strong influence on the person wearing them, both physically and emotionally.

- Your shoe concept. What are the main message you are trying to send using your design?
- My work consistently aims to challenge generic typologies of women’s shoes through experiments with non-traditional technologies and material techniques. By reinventing the process by which footwear is made, the resulting shoes serve as unique examples of new aesthetic and structural possibilities, while also serving to criticise the conventional status of women’s shoes as cultural objects.
My research into feet and footwear has resulted in a variety of experimental conceptual pieces, some of which have been developed into technically sound (wearable) shoes, others which are produced solely as sculptural pieces. The existence of both directions within my practice generates a layer to the work that comments on the perception of functionality, and the context within which they sit (in galleries, museums, or in boutiques) challenges the audiences’ preconceptions about the shoe.

- When did you first get the idea to use new technologies and other materials which is not common in fashion industry?
- My background is in product design and that is where my interest for and knowledge of different materials and technologies come form. My main aim with my work is to get away from conventional style clichés and codes, such as sporty, girly, feminin etc. Rather than designing shoes based on customer profiling, which I think mostly leads to stereo typed footwear, my approach to footwear is to use materials and technologies to discover the shoe anew.

- What were your very first steps to get into fashion industry?

- Although I design shoes, I wouldn’t necessarily say that my work field is the fashion industry. Context of my work varies from fashion, design, crafts, art and sometimes technology. I mainly work towards exhibitions, by applying for grants, self-initiating new work and responding to open calls. This has also lead to several commissions.

- Where do you seek for inspiration?
- Abstraction, materials and technology are my inspirations. The inherent logic and mystery in machines and their highly specific language of efficiency are a major influence on my work. This language has as much to do with concealing as it has with revealing and within this contradiction lays a multitude of opportunities for interpretation. My work explores this void.

- Do you have some special rituals before you start to create?

- I always like my workspace to be very organised before I start a new project, but I guess that is more a way of procrastinating and clearing my head than a ritual.

- What are the basic values for you as for designer?

- I think that it is very important to understand the context in which you operate and not all contexts have a platform yet. You might need to create it yourself.

- If you can name it what is your biggest achievement in your career? Do you feel that you need to march and fight to get public attention?

- I think a great turning point in my career was the commission for a solo exhibition at the Krannert Art Museum Illinois from Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judy Hoos Fox. This exhibition provided me with the opportunity to contextualise my work within an installation and writings. Since then, my work has been received in a larger context that deals with making, manufacturing, technology, industry and DIY production. I am currently a Stanley Picker Fellow and am looking forward to broaden the context of my work here as well.
Ever since I graduated I have received a lot of press attention. I always enjoy the mix of reactions I receive about my work, ranging from the sepsis to unquestioned trust in the feasibility of wear and production.

- Now you are based in London. How it influences your expression and ideas?
- I have been based in London ever since I started my studies in Product Design at the Royal Collage of Art. I haven’t had a practice elsewhere. I do think that living and working in London forces a decision early on in your career to make your practice self-sufficient in some way.

- Future plans, dream collaborations and hopes?
- My future plans have always focussed on broadening the variety of contexts in which the work sits, ranging from art/design exhibitions, industry consultancy and academic positioning to private and public commissions.

Al the moment I am focussing on the Stanley Picker Fellowship in Design 2011, which will provide me with a more academic approach.

Ultimately I would like to produce a piece of footwear that is positioned completely outside the footwear industry, manufacturing, sales etc. I think that the fashion and footwear industry model of seasonality, bulk orders, the catwalk etc. is ready for an update.

1 comment:

  1. The material in the Tods shoes sometime is usually an issue as well if you buy your women's sneakers. The good hiking shoes will be the one made for water repellent capability. If your Tods shoes might be easily wet, it can cause some problems for a feet such as blister as well as some other nasty effects.