Birkenstock’s distinctive, ergonomic slippers are big favorites of both “ugly shoes” fans and those committed to a healthy lifestyle. The German brand’s designs have always enjoyed great popularity, with their classic and timeless, double-strap Arizona slippers being one of last year’s best-selling products. A piece of good news for comfortable footwear lovers is that, besides debuting a renewed design for their Tallahassee model, Birkenstock has launched a collection of brand new slippers in collaboration with the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design of London.
Students of the university’s Fashion History and Theory Department began researching the Birkenstock archives back in 2018: they were looking for inspiration in the American, Italian, Japanese and German archives of the brand. To design new slippers, they wanted to choose a base model that has retained its contemporary effect: this is how they ended up picking the Tallahassee model, and created a new version of it with a fresh combination of colors.
The research was followed by a fashion project, in which Design Master’s students reimagined the classic look of the iconic brand. Finally, four concepts were selected for mass production designed by Alex Wolfe, Saskia Lenaerts, Alecsander Rothschild and Ding Yun Zhang. The new designs concentrate on Birkenstock’s characteristic sole structure, and the collection’s pieces are made forward-looking by padded, armor-like details.
The brand’s collaboration with a fashion school to create the collection is an innovation in itself—as Oliver Reichert, the brand’s CEO, emphasized, “investing in education will always be investing in the future”.
Tallahassee photos: Neil Godwin
Photos of the new models: Matteo Carcelli