On first sight, the shows designed by Swiss designer Cat Potter seem to be simple, yet beautiful wooden sculptures. This award-winning, London-based designer, however, insists that the fact that her pieces are artistic, they are indeed 100% wearable.
Cat Potter originally studied art with the idea of becoming a curator at Central Saint Martins but after a time she realized that she didn’t want to dedicate her life solely to the world of art. So she enrolled in footwear design at the exclusive Cordwainers’ College of the London College of Fashion where she finished her training finished last year. She has already set up her own studio in London where she is developing her line of conceptual footwear artwork.
Her pieces are a delightful mixture of sculpture, technology and artisanship, adorned with a bit of good taste and originality.
At So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins we’ve been enjoying her work for sometime now and recently caught up with her.
SO CATCHY!: You’ve studied art, to be a curator and finally footwear design…
CAT POTTER: I fell into designing footwear by chance! I enjoyed my education in fine art and curating but I always felt that I didn’t want to work in the art world for the rest of my life. I stumbled across a one-year course in footwear design only to find out that I absolutely loved it. This led me on to the Masters Course in which I could really develop my conceptual work.
SC!: How would you define your work?
CP: My work is very clean in its aesthetic. I like designing products which make full use of the materials…this often means my designs have a ‘less is more’ quality to them.
SC!: Do you consider yourself more of a fashion footwear designer or a fashion artist?
CP: For me there isn’t a difference between the two. You can be an artist who designs wearable footwear!
Her shoes, made with Walnut, Pear and Sapele (a tropical African tree), haven’t gone unnoticed and have already received praise and international recognition. Her thesis project, “Pernilla”, won the “Eyes on Talents” prize for the International Talent Support 2013 and the Cordwainers’ Company Dato Jimmy Choo MA Award in 2012.
She also took home the second place design award for the best collection at the London College of Fashion.
SC!: Explain to us the concept behind “Pernilla”…
CP: With this project I wanted to explore materials and manufacturing processes. The materials used are 3 different types of wood, Walnut, Sapale and Pear. I also used Brass for the metal work and Acrylic for the soles. The shoes were 3D modeled in Rhino, then CNC Milled out of wood using a 3-axis machine.
SC!: How did you feel after winning it? What does it mean to you?
CP: Having won 2 prizes for this collection made me feel like all the hard work was worth it!
SC!: Tell us about your upcoming projects…
CP: I’m very busy at the moment manufacturing my second collection, which should be finished in the next couple of weeks! I also have a lot of exhibitions coming up…I am especially excited about showing at the Brooklyn Museum in the coming year.
SC!: Your favorite footwear designer is….
CP: Easy! My favourite footwear designer is the late Roger Vivier.
SC!: Your favourite blog or website is…
SC!: Things are going pretty well right now but, what else would you like to do in the future?
CP: I own my own company now, which has always been a dream of mine. I guess I would like to hold on to it for the rest of my life!
And as for the rest of you, who’d like to walk a mile in her shoes?
Photos Courtesy of Fiona Lewis
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla