By Diane Small
Shoe brand United Nude is at the forefront of promoting zero-waste 3D printed shoes.
Working with avant-guard designers such as Iris van Herpern and architects such as Zaha Hadid and Ren Koolhaus, United Nude is paving the way for innovative technology to revolutionise garment production.
United Nude’s collaboration with Iris van Herpen is not too shocking, as she is probably the leading fashion designer in the use of 3d printing today.
The Dutch designer cut her teeth at Alexander McQueen in London before presenting her first collection in 2007 in Amsterdam. In 2011 her avant-garde designs attracted the attention of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the Haute Couture ‘board’ in Paris, of which she is now a guest member.
That same year, she was chosen by Björk to create the dresses worn on the cover of her album Biophilia, and her 3D printed dress was listed in TIME magazine as one of the fifty most important inventions of the year for its innovative use of material and technology.
Collaborating with clothing designers isn’t unheard of in shoe manufacturing; however, working with architects is slightly more unusual for a shoe company.
Then again, Zaha Hadid isn’t your typical architect.
A designer of cars, furniture, buildings and now shoes, Hadid’s signature curved lines define the style of these futuristic NOVA wedges.
Based on her 30 years of experience working with complex structural principles on all scale levels, Hadid developed an innovative cantilevered system that allows the staggering 16cm (6.25 in) heel to appear completely unsupported.
The shoe’s composition encapsulates the seamless integration of materials, inventive engineering and perhaps surprisingly–the highest standards of comfort. As Hadid’s most recent expression of this symbiotic association, the NOVA shoe design transcends the disciplines of fashion and architecture.
So what’s next for United Nude? A very limited edition of these Iris van Herpern Thorn shoes, it seems.
The shoes combine liquid slow moulded uppers and sharp-spiked stones with a towering 19cm heel and hidden platform. The spikes, made of hand cut stones such as Labradorite, Tiger’s Eye, Leopard Jasper and Moss Agate, pierce through the upper between the platform and heel, creating a semi-precious ‘floral’ arch of thorns that form the focal point of this ferocious bootie. Thorn will be produced in very limited numbers in various colours, such as glossy nude, glossy black and matt black.
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