The Felt Shoes are the foundation pieces in the Natural Selection collection. Made from 100% wool felt of high quality from Daimer Filze  , essentially felt tubes are moulded into and around 3D printed forms using millinery techniques. Binders are stratigically added to vary densities creating hollow heels and suspended foot beds. This reduces components and weight. It is because of the cellular qualities if the tangled non woven fibres, the strength, structure and elastisity needed is achieved. Retaining a mondernist approach, plausibility is played around with in the aesthetic of the shoe.

Natural Selection The Objectification of the Shoe

The project started with the examination of how 3D printing could alter footwear architecture and identify new design constructions. Observations were made that whilst the potential of this new technology offers many benefits the materiality was limited. There seems to be a lack of natural materials used. This lead to the critical theory 3D print is the right process but maybe using the wrong materials?

So practical research was made into the use of non wovens as a potential material arrangement which could be developed by specialists to drive the materials used in 3D print.

A collection of varied natural non woven materials were selected and applied to a methodology in a masters educational context. By concentrating the fibres and adding binders, the properties and characteristics could change, producing both soft and hard material over one continuous surface.

Innovative materials used in the product and furniture industries were “borrowed” and applied to fashion footwear raising further challenges as to what materials are acceptable, in a trend lead fashion context. The design form was the element unifying the collection.

As the project progressed it became evident, synthetic biology will converge with 3D print to offer solutions to these issue. A designer’s understanding of trends and emotional qualities of materials make them key to drive the new technologies in fashion and science.

A special thanks to all my sponsors and supporters

J.Dittrich & Sohne
Daimer Filz
Nano Solutions

All photos
Stephanie Potter Corwin