Having an international overview of the development of fashion linked with craftsmanship, the Belgian footwear designer Katrien Herdewyn represents a clear example of tradition combined with technology and modernity, such as 3D printing. With a background in engineering, material sciences, and nanotechnology, the young designer is breaking down fashion boundaries and creating some truly remarkable footwear pieces with the help of traditional shoemaking techniques and 3D printing.
In 2014, Herdewyn founded her own shoe label, Elegnano, which has continually emphasized the use of 3D printing technologies and continued use of traditional Italian craftsmanship. As the designer points out, however, she is not simply interested in using 3D modeling and printing technologies for the sake of using them, but has found that they have allowed for new possibilities in terms of creative shoe designs.
“With my background in engineering, I try and combine new technologies with traditional craftsmanship,” Herdewyn explained in an interview. “I believe this is where the future lies. 3D printing offers so many possibilities; you can do anything you can imagine. But when it comes to shoes, a designer always has to take into account that you have to be able to wear and walk in the shoe. I want to design shoes that are high tech and high fashion at the same time.”
Herdewyn’s Elegnano label features very elegantly designed but stunning shoes, described as determined, fashionable, and graceful all at once. The collection, which is aimed at a relatively exclusive commercial market (with prices ranging between 400 and 700 euros), is only one side of the designer’s work, as she is continually experimenting with new shoe structures and forms to try and come up with innovative and avant-garde styles.
Over the years, the young Belgian designer has seen her shoes featured in exhibitions and fashion shows around the world, including in Belgium, the Netherlands, London, and Paris. Herdewyn and Elegnano have both been recognized multiple times with various awards and accolades.