by Adam Štěch
There is a fresh new wave rising in Czech fashion. Relatively young names have come onto the scene, and several new events have been established to showcase their work. In recognition of the talent, we've gathered three exceptional fashion designers—coincidentally, all graduates of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (AAAD) in Prague—who are helping to pioneer the future of shoe design.
A graduate of Fashion and Footwear Design at AAAD, Marie Petráková's footwear design has an emphasis on sustainability. Petráková is determined to create accessories while keeping the future in mind—using natural materials such as wood and leather—and connecting the world of high fashion with an eye for craft and ecology.
Her tendencies are evident in a collection of wooden platform shoes designed for Paris-based couturier Anne Valérie Hash. Hash approached Petráková to design a series of simple yet sculptural shoes for her Spring/Summer 2012 collection. The result is a strong collection featuring platforms made out of bright wood with colorful details on the back. Minimalist leather pads and straps complete these architectural shoes. Petráková used a similar form for another collection of platforms aptly called Simply for Simple for Prague concept store Simple. For this series, she designed wooden platforms with a leather body and added materials, such as brass or silver for a slightly flashy finish.
Currently working as a freelancer for Camper, Eliška Kuchtová also created her own personal project called Cutulum as a student at AAAD in 2011. Kuchtová is interested in shoe archetypes and customer comfort. "We focus on details and technical processes of orthopedic and heavy-duty shoes. Our custom-made patterns, driven by our creative and innovative thinking, are made to make the shoes as comfortable as they could be," she says.
The first model in her collection is Pioneer, a shoe inspired by mountain trekking footwear. Made out of abalone, the body of the shoe is stitched to the rubber sole for a flexible, yet durable fit. A similar-looking Frankenstein model came next, which is made out of white leather and is aimed to individually mold to each customer's foot. The details include a polyurethane sole with relief graphics by illustrator Maria Makeeva, who has contributed to Cutulum with posters and other illustrations as well.
Also a graduate of AAAD, Pavla Podsedníková designed her futuristic collection of women's shoes as her final student project. Called Instant Shoe, the collection explores the possibility of 3D-printing shoes in custom sizes from digital scans of feet. The concept is based on individual production of specific sizes along with the customization of shoe forms. Made possible by 3D printing, ABS vacuum shaping and carbon fiber, Podsedníková is able to produce perfectly tailored footwear from a library of designs.
"In a time when everyday items are mass-produced, I feel the need to find a way back to individualization. Due to the need for another boot structure than those normally used, I cast my own feet, and according to them created a new boot," says Podsedníková. Her current work can be found under her label Naranu, which she founded with photographer Patrik Borecký and fashion designer Markéta Šohajová.
Images by Jana Šašková and Tomáš Mikule