Birkenstock releases MA fashion collection with Central Saint Martins MA Fashion course
The project features the four winning MA Fashion graduates and an iconic Archive re-issue style. Birkenstock’s partnership with London fashion institution Central Saint Martins is launching the result of a two-year project with the BA Fashion History & Theory and MA Fashion courses. Releasing four designs and Birkenstock’s first-ever Archive style.
Initiated in 2018, the project saw the CSM BA Fashion History & Theory course research and enrich Birkenstock’s prolific archive. Enabling students to immerse into Birkenstock’s culture and legacy to finally extract and define the core elements of Birkenstock’s history spanning over 250 years.
The result of this research translated into a second project with the MA Fashion course. Inviting students to give their interpretation of emblematic styles in their contemporary way, thus shaping the future of the iconic German brand.
One year later a jury of 12 renowned industry leaders led by Birkenstock CEO Oliver Reichert, MA Fashion Course Director Fabio Piras and fashion critic Sarah Mower MBE, were invited by Birkenstock to review all student portfolios and selected a shortlist of 10 finalists awarded as the winning designs with a first bursary award.
Over a year of product development, four of the student designs have qualified for serial production. Each design has the student’s name embossed in the iconic Birkenstock footbed.
‘Experiencing the challenge to realize the product innovation delivered by these students is a good challenge. We are proud to have a proven impact on these early careers and are counting this as one of our most relevant projects’ states CEO Oliver Reichert.
The release of the collection is supported by a short film, seeing the jury and the professors exchange their views on the final product with the students. The jury was headed by Sarah Mower MBE and included CSM alumni Mary Katrantzou and Roksanda discussing with Gert Jonkers, Claudia Croft, Mimma Viglezio, Osman Ahmed, and Nick Vinson.
The collection will be available with select stores worldwide and on 1774.com from March 2021.
Moto Sandal by CSM graduate Alex Wolfe (1991*)
Using BIRKENSTOCK’s expertise in orthopaedic shoe design Wolfe’s take on the Rotterdam Moto sandal challenges us with urban graphic as well as a striking upper leg design. Relying on BIRKENSTOCK’s very own eudermic material Birko-Flor he creates a flexible shield, whereas the foot lining of Nappa leather and suede offers a soft and soothing bed.
Cosy style by CSM graduate Dingyun Zhang (1995*)
Zhang’s pillow like version of the Arizona sandal takes inspiration from futuristic outerwear and oversized puffers. As a homage to comfort Cosy transforms the Arizona into a supportive, timeless classic. Its monochrome, contrasting color choice of snow white straps and black sole (and vice versa) fortifies the long-lasting design approach.
Terra style by CSM graduate Saskia Lenaerts (1993*)
As a reference to the classic Milano sandal, Terra’s prominent stitches replicates footlines, while Suede, Nappa and Nubuk leather offer comfort. Using contrasting colours like Black/White and Black/Ultra Blue the designer recreates the shadow play of an engraved footprint in the sand.
Bukarest style by CSM student Alecsander Rothschild (1992*)
Inspired by Brancusi’s contrasting use of different materials and textures Rothschild works equally with three kinds of leather to express his version of BIRKENSTOCK: Rustic Black oiled Nubuck leather or innocent white debossed leather, Rothschild offers a third version in shiny Silver.
Tallahassee Archive Style
To complement the student designs, the iconic Birkenstock Tallahassee Style from the 1990s sees a rebirth in contrast color designs. Uniting an artistic touch with long practiced craftsmanship the Tallahassee ornaments the foot without compromising comfort. As a woven coat the debossed leather enrobes the wearer like a second skin.
About CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS
CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS, as part of University of the Arts London (UAL), is a world-renowned arts and design college bringing together a diverse range of creative practices under one roof. CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS is alive with different ways of thinking, making and doing. Across art, design and performance, our students create the ideas, materials and actions for a better future.
What we do is always connected to others. Our community goes beyond building, beyond disciplines and beyond borders. From local neighbours to global partners, Central Saint Martins collaborates with others to build knowledge and transform objects, systems and lives for the better. We understand that good things happen when people work together.
At Central Saint Martins, we believe that art, design and performance can generate real, productive change.
BIRKENSTOCK is a global lifestyle brand with a heritage in iconic footwear, rooted in the creation of the BIRKENSTOCK footbed that can be traced as far as 1774. The notion of quality and function guides the brand in all its actions and across categories. The concept of all-round wellbeing is developed into footwear, sleeping systems and Natural Cosmetics, increasingly translating the lifestyle vision of the brand heritage. With more than 4,300 employees worldwide, this traditional, sixth-generation family-run business is also one of the German footwear industry’s biggest employers. BIRKENSTOCK was already using the term “footbed” in the 1910s, giving it the meaning which is commonly understood by consumers all over the world to this day – as a synonym for outstanding comfort when walking and standing. By the early 1970s, BIRKENSTOCK had become a global player. Manufactured in Germany, the sandals are now sold in more than 100 countries on all continents. BIRKENSTOCK also has a growing range of closed shoes, children’s shoes, and occupational footwear, as well as specialist products for orthopedic retailers, socks, bags, and belts. In 2017, BIRKENSTOCK added sleep systems and natural cosmetics (BIRKENSTOCK NATURAL SKIN CARE) to its portfolio of products. BIRKENSTOCK has 16 sites in Germany, in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Bavaria, and Saxony. The long-standing family-owned enterprise also operates its own sales offices in the United States and Canada as well as in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Denmark, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and Dubai.