Shoes made without any glue or stitches fashionably merge style with sustainability
by Dora Haller
Dutch footwear designer Anna Korshun creates leather shoes that don't require any glue or stitches. Almost magically constructed, the upper and outer soles are clicked together and then wrapped by a rubber layer that ensures a solid connection. The upshot is a clean and simple aesthetic, and even more beneficial; a streamlined production process that uses fewer materials. We recently spoke with Korshun to learn more about her curious approach to design, sustainability within the fashion industry and her initial inspiration for stitch-less soles.
How did you come up with this concept?
I got inspired by a chair of an Israeli furniture designer Gil Sheffi, a very beautiful wooden chair that doesn’t contain any glue—which I found to be a revolutionary idea. He used pink rubber instead of glue, and the force of the wood itself. I was already working in the shoe industry, so I knew all about the toxic material—mainly glue—that shoes contain. Also, I wasn't happy with the time-consuming and labour intensive way we produce shoes, and I always thought that it really should be easier and quicker than that. When the Dutch SFA decided to support me a year ago, I developed the Click Technique, which allows a sustainable manufacturing process. I recently sent an email to Gil Sheffi to thank him for being an inspiration for my line.
Does it mean that everybody can click together the upper and the outer soles and "build up" your shoes themselves?
No, it's not like IKEA. Nonetheless, my shoes are not prepared by professionals. They are produced in the Netherlands by a local social working workshop. For me this is another added value.
Do you think that the shoe fashion industry is heading towards a direction of a more sustainable production?
I always had mixed feelings about the fashion industry. I graduated in product design, which requires neither seasonal changes nor a trend following, but rather a more sustainable thinking. Fashion changes much too fast for me. It always seeks to produce more and produce short-lived designs, so that the shops would be constantly full. I believe that we need to rethink this concept, to pay more attention to where the products come from, how they are made and how long they are going to last. For me these are the important questions, and whether it's the future of the fashion industry or not, that is where I am heading.
What are your projects for the future?
I am currently experimenting with 3D printing techniques. I seek to design entirely biodegradable shoes made out of potato plastic, a natural alternative of conventional plastic with the same properties. Also, I am working on a winter collection, a line of boots created with the Click Technique, because summer usually lasts only two months in the Netherlands, which is, for the moment, the only country where I sell my designs. Although, at the beginning of July, I participated in Who’s Next Paris, one of the world’s leading fashion trade fairs held biannually, where more buyers were interested in my line. Thanks to that, starting next spring, you can also find my creations in Abu Dhabi and South Korea.
Images courtesy of Anna Korshun