Meet and Greet – Maud Van Den Broecke – shoe designer

May 4, 2012

I have met Maud a couple of years ago through mutual friends and hit it off quite easily. We share a love for charity shops, music and art and later found out about another shared interest: Shoes! Maud is interested in making shoes, I am interested in wearing them. Perfect!

Maud is in school to become a shoe designer and has told me about the projects she has been working on. She is so passionate about what she is doing that I thought I had to share it with my readers. I was very happy when she agreed to an interview, so here it is.

Where did your love of shoes and carefully crafted accessories stem from? 

My mum used to take my sister and I to get our feet measured for our school shoes, I remember thinking that it was really amazing that you could get shoes made for your own feet. When I was in my teens I found out about Cordwainers College and I think it was always in the back of my mind from then on really! I have always respected people who can make an object by hand that will last for years. Shoes are a great example of that as they are used so much.

Where are you currently studying and what was the path that led you there?

I am currently studying Footwear design at Corwainers, London College of Fashion. When I left school, I started a geography degree but knew that I wanted to make shoes. I was very nervous of doing something that I didn’t know if I could do already! Realising, after a few terms that writing essays wasn’t the thing for me I left the course and started an Art Foundation year to get me back into creative work. I built up my confidence and got into LCF to study footwear design, it is great to be on a course which is so hands on.

What was the project you’ve enjoyed doing the most so far? 

My last project was, so far, my favourite. I designed a collection of moccasins around the idea of travel, so it had to be lightweight and compact. I worked on the idea of the shoe being foldable and easy to carry. Because it was based around a moccasin, I really loved researching native North American, particularly the Athapaskan peoples, their culture is incredibly inspirational and beautiful. The project was quite experimental too, which I always enjoy because you never really know the outcome from the beginning and there are always bound to be some surprises.

What inspires you the most in your designs?

Textile techniques and craft cultures inspire me as I am always amazed by what can be created in different parts of the world, using the simplest natural materials. I will often start a new project concentrating on learning a technique like weaving, looking at its application around the world and then applying it to my own work. Colour is a huge one also, I can easily start a project just thinking of the colours I want to use.

Who would you do an apprenticeship with if it was only a matter of choosing?

I would love to do an apprenticeship with CarréDucker as they do pretty much everything by hand. I would learn so much technique, skill and discipline it would be so useful to be able to apply those things to my own designs.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently looking at Shibori techniques and ways that I can transfer this to leather using natural indigo dye, this allows me to also look at Japanese culture in depth which is great! It combines a lot of things I love, colour, experimentation and cultural studies! It’s not quite going to plan at the moment though…

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not designing or working on a project?

I really enjoy visiting the V&A, I think it’s one of my favorite things to do in London really. You can never do it all in one go so it’s nice to just pop in and discover a new room everytime. I am very excited for the new fashion rooms to open in the next few months!

You have more or less recently moved from Oxford to London, what do you think Oxford has that London should have too?

The Pitt Rivers Museum! I genuinely miss it and always find an excuse to go and do some research there. There are so many weird and wonderful objects in there from all over the world.

Where is your favourite hangout in London?

I really love the Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green, it’s vegetarian and really light and spacious to sit in. For the evening, the Union Chapel is a lovely place to go for tea and music.

Can you describe your favourite pair of shoes ever?

Very simple but a brightly coloured, thick t-bar sandal from Conker shoes in Totnes. I grew up in them and sadly wore my bright turquoise ones to ruin last year. If I get a new pair I hope I am still wearing them when I am old, they are so comfy.

Is she amazing or what? Sadly Maud doesn’t have a webpage yet but I have been trying to convince her to start a blog so we can all hear about her projects. I will definitely let you guys know when that changes!

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  • Reply Megan May 4, 2012 at 13:13

    I love those boots!

    • Reply Mrs. D May 4, 2012 at 17:06

      Yes, they are lovely 🙂

  • Reply SACRAMENTO May 4, 2012 at 20:01

    So brilliant!!

  • Reply Connie May 4, 2012 at 23:59

    This was so much fun. Your friend, Maude, is very talented. I love these shoes A LOT. In fact, I have a pinterest board devoted to sensible shoes. Her shoes would fit right in!

    • Reply Mrs. D May 5, 2012 at 04:29

      Coll! I'm sure she will be glad to read your comment 🙂

  • Reply Jean at www.drossintogold.com May 5, 2012 at 13:53

    I think I'm hyperventilating. Her shoes are works of art and I would buy every one of them today. The are extraordinary. Are they in fact for sale? Thank you so, so much for sharing her.

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