Nov 9, 2016 | By Tess
Even as a child, Belgian footwear designer Katrien Herdewyn was fascinated with shoes, and knew she wanted to be a shoe designer. What she might not have realized as a young child, however, is how crucial 3D printing would be in her future designing process. With a background in engineering, material sciences, and nanotechnology, the young designer is breaking down fashion boundaries and creating some truly remarkable footwear pieces with the help of traditional shoemaking techniques and 3D printing.
In 2014, Herdewyn founded her own shoe label, Elegnano, which has continually emphasized the use of 3D printing technologies and continued use of traditional Italian craftsmanship. As the designer points out, however, she is not simply interested in using 3D modeling and printing technologies for the sake of using them, but has found that they have allowed for new possibilities in terms of creative shoe designs.
In integrating 3D printing into her process, Herdewyn partnered with Belgian 3D printing company i.materialise, which helped the young designer learn about additive manufacturing and how it could help to realize her boundary-pushing shoes. As she explains, she did not know how to 3D model when she decided that she wanted to use 3D printing for her shoes, so she set out to find specialists to help her. The important part, she says, was to properly communicate her drawings and ideas to her 3D modeling partner so that they could transform her shoe concepts into a 3D model.
“With my background in engineering, I try and combine new technologies with traditional craftsmanship,” Herdewyn explained in an interview. “I believe this is where the future lies. 3D printing offers so many possibilities; you can do anything you can imagine. But when it comes to shoes, a designer always has to take into account that you have to be able to wear and walk in the shoe. I want to design shoes that are high tech and high fashion at the same time.”
Herdewyn’s Elegnano label features very elegantly designed but stunning shoes, described as determined, fashionable, and graceful all at once. The collection, which is aimed at a relatively exclusive commercial market (with prices ranging between 400 and 700 euros), is only one side of the designer’s work, as she is continually experimenting with new shoe structures and forms to try and come up with innovative and avant-garde styles.
Herdewyn works primarily out of her Belgian footwear studio, but also continues to work closely with i.materialise, which provides her with 3D printed prototypes and parts, and with Italian leather makers who supply all the quality leather used for her shoes.
Over the years, the young Belgian designer has seen her shoes featured in exhibitions and fashion shows around the world, including in Belgium, the Netherlands, London, and Paris. Herdewyn and Elegnano have both been recognized multiple times with various awards and accolades.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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