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London Fashion Week Celebrates Two Decades of Experimental Footwear at the Royal College of Art

Two decades of experimental and creative footwear at the Royal College of Art will be celebrated this week during London Fashion Week, with a British Fashion Council exhibition of work by 16 of the College’s graduates. 

Pictured above are some of the most memorable creations by RCA Footwear alumni on show at Out of Step at London’s Somerset House – an exhibition open only to trade and press.

Curated by Ellen Sampson, footwear designer and RCA PhD Fashion student, the show features pieces that demonstrate ingenious production techniques, such as Marloes Ten Bhomer’s Redmâchéshoe, playful and critical thinking as seen in Eelko Moorer’s work, or work that is simply beautiful such as Chau Har Lee’s Perspex heel and Heather Blake’s footwear.

‘There has been a real upturn in conceptual footwear over the last few years, but the RCA has been doing this for over two decades. We wanted to show the output of the Footwear programme over that time,’ said Sampson.

She added: ‘The rise of fashion film and music videos has fuelled an interest in the sort of show pieces that are being used in performance. There’s an overlap with art. It’s at the boundaries between art and fashion that the most creative work happens.’

According to Flora McLean, RCA Fashion Footwear, Millinery & Accessories tutor, the avant-garde designs are ‘shining’ examples of experimental methods of shoe construction, mastery of technique and new invention.

‘RCA students are encouraged to play with materials, systems and design, alongside traditional methods of making to discover new possibilities for footwear,’ she said.

Out of Step runs from Friday 14 February until Tuesday 18 February 2014 at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA. Opening hours are 9.30–19.00 (closing at 18.00 on 18 February). 

Open to press and trade only