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Marla Marchant

Master’s Project Woven high heels a gaze at traditions to resignify the ritual and beauty of craftsmanship

MA Fashion Footwear London College of Fashion


Woven high heels A gaze at traditions to resignify the ritual and beauty of craftsmanship.

Craftsmanship embodies the hand and mind of the people who create it. It is a testimony to the beauty and inheritance of the traditions, being one of the duties that still remain with its distinguishing trait of being passed down through familial generations. Nowadays, the quality and details are rarely seen in traditional handcrafting Shoe making is an example of craftsmanship that has been rethought, creating a contemporary image. Unfortunately, within industrialization and mass production craftsmanship has been less and less appreciated, both economically and spiritually. The result is that the calibre of their quality has deteriorated, bearing no relation to the quality work their grandfathers or teachers used to produce, which required great attention, taking care with the smallest details, and giving all the time necessary to produce a superior product. Accordingly, weaving is the main theme of this collection, where craftsmanship has been rethought. Creating a contemporary image that invites us to visit the past in order to glimpse the future has been achieved by modernizing traditional techniques and accessing the latest technologies which use alternative materials. This happens through respecting its relationship with the past, while accepting new ways of working and making them their own.

Objectives The objective is to develop 8 experimental shoes which state a particular point of view and conception of craftsmanship and to introduce new elements and experimental techniques to the filed. The collection should show cohesiveness on its own, having a relationship and being conscious of the wearer’s body and how extreme high heels modify their silhouette. The aesthetic enhances the weightlessness of female body, creating the illusion of hanging from a net, tying the feet down and bearing the netting into a three dimensionality. It pursues long and thin shapes while the body’s expression plays to be restricted, appearing fragile and instable from a podium that empowers it.

MASTER FASHION FOOTWEAR’S PROJECT

The aim of incorporating handcrafted pieces and processes is not only because the concept originates from weaves and their relation with hand-making; it also enhances the idea of working with rustic materials and processes. This is a response against the fast fashion and overrated luxury which lead to impulsive consumption, disposable products, and brands as a signifier of status, rather than design and quality. This approach rejects the uniformity and repetitiveness of mass production, where the imperfection of the craft process is usually thought of as a failure.


FINAL COLLECTION LINE-UP


SPECIFICATION SHEET


SPECIFICATION SHEET


SPECIFICATION SHEET


SPECIFICATION SHEET


Style number

1

Date Last number Upper material Upper lining Sock lining Out sole

30 November 2012 SL22055 white sheepskin white pigskin white padded sheepskin natural vegetable tanned leather traditional cardbord insole and shank rapid prototyped titanium structureand white leather strips 6 inches

Insole Heel Heel height Platform height Top lift Logo

Notes The out sole is stitched to the upper, which is a sort of moccasin shoe (pattern number 2). The shoe is traditionally lasted. The sock lining is removed to weave the heel which is attached to the insole by hand stitches, rivets and washers.

thread

heel

natural vegetable tanned leather silver

sock lining rivet

Pattern Sock lining

Color palette

white

Top lift

Sole

SPECIFICATION SHEET

sock lining insole shank out sole

washer insole heel out sole


2

Date Last number Upper material Upper lining Sock lining Out sole

30 November 2012 SL22055 white sheepskin white pigskin white padded sheepskin natural vegetable tanned leather traditional cardbord insole and shank rapid prototyped titanium structureand white leather strips 6 inches

Insole Heel Heel height Platform height Top lift Logo

natural vegetable tanned leather silver

Notes The out sole is stitched to the upper, which is a sort of moccasin shoe (pattern number 2). The shoe is traditionally lasted. The sock lining is removed to weave the heel which is attached to the insole by rivets and washers. sock lining rivet

Style number

Color palette

Pattern Sock lining

white

Top lift

SPECIFICATION SHEET

Sole

washer insole heel out sole


3

Date Last number Upper material Upper lining Sock lining Out sole

30 November 2012 SL22055 white sheepskin white pigskin white padded sheepskin natural vegetable tanned leather traditional cardbord insole and shank rapid prototyped titanium structureand white leather strips 6 inches

Insole Heel Heel height Platform height Top lift Logo

natural vegetable tanned leather silver

Notes The out sole is stitched to the upper, which is a sort of moccasin shoe (pattern number 2). The shoe is traditionally lasted. The sock lining is removed to weave the heel which is attached to the insole by rivets and washers. sock lining rivet

Style number

Color palette

Pattern Sock lining

white

Top lift

SPECIFICATION SHEET

Sole

washer insole heel out sole


4

Date Last number Upper material Upper lining Sock lining Insole bending Out sole

30 November 2012 SL22055 white sheepskin white pigskin white padded sheepskin white sheepskin natural vegetable tanned leather traditional cardbord insole without shank rapid prototyped titanium structure and white leather strips 6 inches

Insole bending Heel Heel height Platform height Top lift Logo

natural vegetable tanned leather silver

Notes The upper, which is a sort of moccasin shoe (pattern number 2), is lasted and cut to fit the heel. Then, the outsole and sock lining is removed to stitch the out sole to the upper and the upper is hand stitched to the heel structure. The heel is attached to the sole by rivets and washers. sock lining rivet

Style number

Color palette

Pattern Sock lining

white

Top lift

SPECIFICATION SHEET

Sole

washer insole heel out sole


Style number

5

Date Last number Upper material Upper lining Sock lining Insole Out sole Heel

30 November 2012

Heel height Platform height Top lift Logo

SPECIFICATION SHEET

Pattern Sock lining

rapid prototyped titanium white padded sheepskin vegetable tanned leather white sheepskin rapid prototyped titanium structure 8 inches 2 inches natural vegetable tanned leather and white leather strips silver

Notes The sole is molded through a boiling process. The sock lining, insole and out sole are glued together and hand stitched to the heel structure.

Color palette

white

Top lift


Style number

6

Date Last number Upper material Upper lining Sock lining Insole bending Out sole Heel

30 November 2012 SL22055 white leather strips

Heel height Platform height Top lift

white leather strips rapid prototyped titanium structure 10 inches 4.5 inches natural vegetable tanned leather and white padded sheepskin

Pattern Sole

Color palette

white

Top lift

1

SPECIFICATION SHEET

Notes The top lift layers are glued together and hand stitched to the heel structure. The upper and sole are knotted around the titanium structure.


Style number

7

Date Last number Upper material Upper lining Sock lining Insole bending Out sole Heel

30 November 2012 SL22055 white leather strips

Heel height Platform height Top lift

SPECIFICATION SHEET

Pattern Sole

white leather strips rapid prototyped titanium structure 10 inches 4.5 inches natural vegetable tanned leather and white padded sheepskin

Notes The top lift layers are glued together and hand stitched to the heel structure. The upper and sole are knotted around the titanium structure. Color palette

white

Top lift


Style number

8

Date Last number Upper material Upper lining Sock lining Insole Out sole Heel

30 November 2012

Heel height Platform height Top lift Logo

SPECIFICATION SHEET

Pattern Sock lining

white leather strips red padded sheepskin vegetable tanned leather white sheepskin rapid prototyped titanium structure 10.6 inches 2 inches natural vegetable tanned leather white

Notes The sole is molded through a boiling process. The sock lining, insole and out sole are glued together and hand stitched to the heel structure.

Color palette

white

Top lift

red


Creative and Technical Development


Woven heel Fabric structure manufacturing has led to re-think in weavings as semi translucent surfaces could be used in high heels and upper. Also, a woven structure seems suitable to build a three dimensional weaved object. The first attempts were made of fabric and wire and the main problem was to develop a self supported pieces strong enough to sustain the weight. Due to this fact, the same weaving was being created in metal in order to find out how it will look like.


The first prototype

DESIGN PROCESS

The first prototype was not capable to support the weight but it was useful to figure out how to put all the component together. The heel was made of a steel sheet and pieces of metal were inserted in the leather to add resistance.


FIRST LINE-UP


Gaudí Gaudi´s design method consisted of hanging models and designing the structure through several ropes and weight. The ropes were interlocked together and the weights were displayed along the ropes. Once the model was finished, it was turned on, working as a compressed structure. Gaudi was inspired by nature, where he believed that the perfect shapes could be found and owing to this method he could obtain natural curves, which were ruled by gravity. These perfect catenaries were suitable for the design of the Sagrada Familia.

(Burry, 2007)

He has developed a code to create and represent geometric surfaces, such as primarily hyperboloids, hyperbolic paraboloids, conoids and helicoids in various sequences of dimension. He designed the Nave of the Sagrada Familia using these ruled surfaces. His buildings were cohesive despite of the complexity of the shapes, seeming unfeasible and fragile.

(Burry, 2007)


Design Experimentation Gaudi’s method was used to develop the experimental mock-ups and a 3-D model to visualise the object and create some graphics.

The final mock up was made by layers, which enabled me to have a better control of the tension of the elements and understanding of the process.

The experimentation consisted of several ropes that were hanged from a frame and some weight was added to find a pattern through the movement of the weights and interlocking the ropes. Once the modelling was finished, it was painted with polyester resin to set everything in place.

The weights were replaced by the last, which was hanging on middle of a frame by a mesh made of cotton ropes and resin.

DESIGN PROCESS

More pieces were made in order to develop each element., The ideas was utilise as little joining as possible to obtain the final shape.


Peng-Yi Ho’s collaboration


PROTOPYPE LINE-UP 2


SECOND LINE-UP


Manufacturing process and materials The manufacturing choice was the longest process during the master programme. Extensive material experimentation and research was required to balance aesthetics, design concept, functionality and cost. The goal was to build the thinner structure possible that was capable to support the weigh of the body. Laser cutter. The first attempt was laser cutting as a manufacturing process. The approach to this technique does not agree with the aesthetics or design concept. Also, the cost was higher what I thought.

Rapid prototyping A high heel was digital modelled to be printed in Plaster. The prototype would cast in stainless steel. This process was not feasible because of the piece was too thin and the density of


the material is not enough to support the weight. Furthermore, The heel and the shank were not connected affecting the stability and strength of the shoe.

EXPERIMENTAL PROCESS

Other two prototypes were modelled in order to correct the stability of the shoe and add resistance. They were not even printed as the sole was a solid piece, this increase the cost dramatically. Moreover, the measure and proportion does not look right, one side of the food seems bigger.


Carbon fibre Two methods were evaluated; using carbon fibre rods or carbon fibre mat and resin. The fist problem was the colour due to the collection means to be white. The rods may need the construction of metallic pieces as to hold them together. The structure has to be constantly compressed as to keep the shape. That would be made almost impossible the weaving. The prototype was made of wire, carbon fiber and resin. A sheet of metal was model around the last where the wire was shaped. The wire was past through the carbon fiber cable and some pins were attached to the structure to form the eyelets. The mock up was painted with resin. When the resin was dried, the pins were removed to sand the piece. This process could be repeated as many times as it is needed. Finally, white paint was applied to the surface. The result was poor, the structure was too weak that it does not resist the tension of the mesh.

A second prototype was printed in Nylon. The two joining pieces that need to be tested. The the weaving has to be improved but the meta well. The sole looked shapeless because the fl material. the first pattern was used to develop the uppe some corrections. The toe cleavage has to be l higher.


e model combines e attachment for allic welt worked flexibility of the

EXPERIMENTAL PROCESS

er, which needs lower and heel


Stainlees Steel

The result was good for a first prototype. The problems were that the metal twisted when the head was applied and it could not be reshaped easily The structure measurement was not accurate but the development of tools could reduce the variation of the structure. The frame has few point to hold the mesh and it did not look neat and well made.


EXPERIMENTAL PROCESS

y. e


Last number SL22055 A low toe cleavage court shoe patter made for the last number SL22055, which is 6 inches high. The drawings are a 1:2 scale pattern cutting. Commonly, the patterns cutting for that heel height are made in two piece, which are seaming on the inner side of the shoe. In order to do away with the sewing, it was developed one piece pattern. The leather is stretched on the last as to be molded. It has to be a good quality stretchy leather such as sheepskin otherwise the grain would be visible.

The result was a nice fitting and smooth toe shape, the main problem was matching the seam with the sole edge due to the court shoe is a sort of moccasin and has to be a perfect fitting. Also, the sheepskin was damage adding the toecap and counter.

upper and lining

out sole


Traditional pattern cutting The pattern cutting number 2 was developed using the traditional technique; the elimination of the seaming does not worth as to use the former method. Moreover, a proper skiving and tape could result in an unseen sewing. The fitting is good, the last edge match with the seaming and it is easier to last. In addition the shoe could be made of napa leather hiding the counter, toecap and heel joining.

out sole

a upper

d

lining

PATTERN CUTTING

sock lining


Titanium rapid prototyping is the most suitable manufacturing process to make wearable. The cost is ÂŁ100/hour for 10 millimetres of height. The first high end products would need 14 hours to produce 26 pairs, approximately 50 pound per pair of heels. The second high end products will cost 36 pounds per pair. The concept pieces would take between 20 to 40 hours to be printed per pair. As only two pieces are sponsored by E.O.S., the other 6 heel would be exhibition pieces made of plaster due to the cost. After I received the last sample, produced by E.O.S., I realised that the piece was to flexible and fragile to be lasted or weaved. Other affordable possibility was rapid prototyped steel but the machine can build structural pieces only if they are thicker that 3 millimetres and the heel attachments are between 0.5 and 1 millimetres.


Initially, the project was a conceptual collection that fitted better in artistic exhibitions where design process is started by developing experimental pieces without functionality and wear. This has to unique and visually provocative products that have overcome my own beliefs and apprehensions of traditional footwear, replacing its components and changing the traditional structure. Developing a conceptual collection could be more profitable for learning process as it is crucial to understand conventional manufacturing methods in order to develop experimental pieces and to come up with new shapes and materials. The results are increment of knowledge and acquisition of new skills, exploring the creativity and ability to find solutions. Being aware that the current fashion industry demands that objects have to be produced in large quantities to broaden the range of potential markets and customers, at least two commercial designs have to be part of the final line up. In addition, E.O.S., which is the company that will sponsor the project, is willing to print two rapid prototyped titanium heels if we could develop a commercial product; the main concern was the cost. Finally, the collection is composed of: 2 high end products, 2 couture high heels (made to order) and 4 concept pieces. The pieces have not been printed yet because the sponsor company is needs to decide first which particular models have the best commercial value before making an investment in printing them. The creation of a commercial piece through this manufacturing process, considering its elevated costs, requires further appraisal. Everything that has been done is based on their experience and suggestions. E.O.S. has to do accurate evaluations of the structure and bear out the costs and manufacturing process and commercial aspects. Since it is not under my control and the costs are extremely high, I have decided to conclude my master’s project with a digital representation and keep working on them as a personal process. The digital presentation is 8 stl files of the heels (stl file can be rapid prototyped), 2 renders of each piece and the 360 degree animation of each heel realised by Thomas Makryniotis.


final collection and creative development