Talking Footwear - Daniel Bailey
ConceptKicks is an online platform dedicated to all things footwear design. Shining the spotlight on the many amazing and often unsung footwear designers across the industry, as well as inspiring the next generation. We caught up with founder Daniel Bailey to get his thoughts on the current shifts in footwear and which brands & designers are pushing new ideas forward in this key sector.
DB - So 2018 was an undeniably great year for footwear, and it seems that 2019 won’t be any different. A strong start to the year with the release of a plethora of beautiful silhouettes, and some sneak peek’s at the recent mens fashion weeks, it looks like brands are continuing to push the industry forward with progressive proportionality and unique constructions. But the one key element is a move toward hybrid formal shapes taking centre stage across all of the main fashion weeks.
Here are my pick of brands that are pushing things forward for 2019 /
1017 ALYX 9SM
Blurring the line between two seemingly juxtaposing styles: formal and tactical, Matthew Williams’ brand, 1017 ALYX 9Sm amalgamates utilitarian functionality with a crafted, high quality, dress aesthetic. From removable chunky Vibram outsoles, to exotics and knitted uppers, ALYX is bringing together materials and constructions in new and super interesting ways. With Williams’ sneaker collaboration with Nike also releasing this year, his imprint on the industry will definitely be felt in 2019.
London designed, Portuguese made brand Auxiliary is coming off of a strong showing at this past Paris Fashion Week. Inspired by vintage audio equipment and analogue technology, the brand have come a long way from their first promising sneaker silhouette. And are now pivoting a little (while keeping the brands DNA) towards some super progressive, more classically inspired mens styles. With an emphasis on craftsmanship and clever plays with proportion, expect to see the brand’s aesthetic reinterpreted into some new formal and unique silhouettes for AW19.
Parisian/Chinese brand Both continues to usher in new ways of envisioning vulcanised footwear. It’s rare you find a vulc brand in stores like Dover Street Market and Antonioli, but that just speaks to the progressive nature a construction quality of their footwear. In 2019 they’ll continue to add to their unique offering of silhouettes, experimenting with the Vulcanising construction method, and they may even surprise you with an unexpected collaboration or two.
Having recruited industry leading designers, artists and material innovators, Concept Kicks have worked hand-in-hand with Timberland’s skilled designers and craftsmen directly in the heart of their Dominican Republic factory to both challenge and re-think boot making processes, CONSTRUCT: 10061 looks to release an small collection of their experiments this summer. Focused primarily on Timberland’s iconic 6-inch yellow boot
Taking apart discarded footwear and re-constructing them into footwear masterpieces, London based footwear designer/artist and unofficial deconstructed-aesthetic influencer, Helen Kirkum is looking to have a big year. With various upcoming collaborations and special releases/collections, look for Helen’s unique footwear collages to make waves in the coming seasons.
More of a design philosophy, Nike ISPA (Improvise, Scavenge, Protect, Adapt) is a collection of products designed for everyday athletes, specifically ones that spend a large amount of time in urban environments. Urban survivalists if you will. These are environments that offer multiple performance challenges, from rapidly changing climates and transportation issues to pollution and overcrowding. Nike ISPA already established itself in 2018 with the React WR LW Mid and has already delivered a personal favourite for the year in the Air Max 270 SP SOE. Look for them to continue delivering beautifully designed product based on their ISPA philosophy this year.
Venice, CA based shoe making atelier, No.One is a rarity in todays heavily outsourced footwear industry. Making each shoe in their Californian atelier, No.One’s attention to craft and detailing is second-to-none. Having just released their DELTA sneaker and teasing the release of their upcoming GAMMA boot, No.One is setting the bar for American made, non-traditional high quality footwear. Working their way slowly through the Phonetic Alphabet (starting with their ALPHA, BRAVO and CHARLIE models), you can expect them to eloquently deliver at least one more edition to their system later this year.
PETERSON + STOOP
Dutch shoe making duo, Jelske Peterson and Jarah Stoop have been making shoes in their factory for quite some time, though they recently shared their first collection at PFW. Known for their beautifully crafted “Wavy” Storm Welt construction (they now have a “Double Wavy” construction too), and asymmetric heeled sole units, Jelske and Jarah re-purpose old iconic shoes (like AF1’s and Chuck Taylors) and reinvigorate them into PETERSON + STOOP master pieces. With their latest collection receiving high praise, Jelske and Jarah are a duo to keep an eye on in 2019.
London based unisex brand and lifestyle collective, Primury continue to deliver incredibly intricate yet minimal and clever silhouettes. From their super unique “taped” outsole pattern, to their corrugated cardboard textured toe bumpers, the Primury collective is planning on taking their unique design language to new and unchartered territories in 2019 (I know this, because I’ve seen some of the initial proto’s). Look for Primury to continue to playfully balance their clean aesthetic, voluminous proportions and unique detailing over the coming seasons.
A personal favourite, Y3 never seems to disappoint. With unique sole constructions and playful layering, Y3’s upcoming collection looks progressive yet is still extremely wearable. Look for Y3 to once again set the standard for progressive sneaker wear this year.
Honourable mentions: AMBUSH, Comme Des Garçons, UNDERCOVER, Sacai, Mugnaio, Feng Chen Wang & drei.