Stories of homelessness have never been told like this before. Jo Cope x Boutique by Shelter joined creative minds in aid of Shelter the United Kingdom housing and homeless charity for creative social campaign to tell the stories of homelessness. The show featured a collection of handmade artworks inspired by the personal experiences of real people facing homelessness. Ten international artists, shoemakers and designers were paired up with a person that Shelter has helped through its frontline services. From shoes made out of an old sofa, to the use of the latest CAD software and 3D printing. 


I was paired with Amy-Jo who I am delighted to share has come out the other side. When designing the item, I was struck by her strength of character and therefore aimed to honour this in the design.


Amy-Jo’s courage and tenacity inspired the directional shoe form, the pointed toe of the shoe cuts through any resistance… in a way taking flight. Amy-Jo’s name is projected to become the heel. Her name is a homage to her bravery, having come through the experience of homelessness and her name is a symbol of her power to rebuild her life. A reminder that when life’s circumstances start to come apart (like the components of the shoe), Amy-Jo is central and has the strength to pull things together, to move forward. 


Simply, she is an inspirational muse.


Her story shows homelessness can happen to anyone, often after personal illness, caring for a loved one, divorce and redundancies.  Homelessness quickly fragments our world, separating families and support including doctors, schools and our communities at a time most in need.  


Amy-Jo’s journey meant moving miles away from her community in a remote setting, as a quick solution, she needed to get back to her support, to her community. We hope ShoesHaveNames helped to raise the awareness needed to make her proud of her accomplishments and her story can help raise compassion so other’s journeys are a bit less challenging.


The Design was inspired by Amy-Jo and influenced by the wonderful form manipulations of the great artists Tony Cragg and Malin Bulow. The work was developed using iterative clay, paper and drawing developments, HOWEVER it was only when explored in Rhino CAD that the concept came together showing that this medium is a vehicle for conceptual creativity.


A special thank you to Jo, Hattie, Richard (at Shelter) and Ravensbourne Research.