The suffix -ism is used to form words that define doctrines, systems, schools or movements (the majority of which are artistic, religious, etc.). Appropriating the word for herself, the Czech footwear designer, Karin Říhová has come up with “Shoedaism”, a movement that began for her as a revelation.
Photo: Ladislav Babuščák
Two of her collections initially caught our eye, the first, Woven Fruits, is a collaboration with the designer Tereza Rosalie Kladošová who asked her for a work that refelected the nostalgia she felt for weekend trips to her family cottage. It represents the scarcity of resources during the communist era, when people had to come up with their own products, like a kind of forced DIY
Personal Space, her second collection, is based on the principles of reflexology and acupuncture, and invites you to ruminate on the value and importance of the present.
So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins talked with Karin Říhová recently and we’re sure that you’re going to love everything she has to say about ‘shoedaism’ as much as we did.
Logo: Vojtěch Říha
SO CATCHY!: Karin, tell us, what is Shoedaism?
Karin Říhová: It’s a craze for shoes. It’s a situation when you think about them all the time. You stare at other peoples’ shoes in the public transport and out in the street, just can’t get enough. It all began in Israel when I was doing an exchange in Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, hence the name. Some people convert to Judaism in Israel and I’ve converted to Shoedaism, although I don’t want to make it sound like I’m making fun of religion. On the contrary I have respect for it. But a side of me is a little mischievous.
The brand seeks to be playful, comfortable and feminine. Also I’m keen on exploring and combining unexpected techniques and approaching the shoes as an art form.
SC!: Define your style in a few words.
KR: It’s a blend of a graphical approach, bold colours, sculptural shapes and a love for craftsmanship.
Woven Fruits – Photo: Puf creatif – Jitka Halířová, Jakub Cabalka
SC!: Tell us about Woven Fruits.
KR: The inspiration came up from my friend Tereza Rosalie Kladošová who asked me to make shoes for her collection for Mercedes Benz Prague Fashion Week. A nostalgia for her childhood weekends in a countryside cottage. In the Czech Republic most of the people who reside in towns have a small cottage by a forest where they stay over the weekends. During the Communist Era people not only dreamed of fleeing the city but the communism itself. DIY and gadgetry rendered a way to express oneself and also to manufacture products that were unavailable or hard to come by at the time owing to restricted import of goods from abroad. The Woven Fruits symbolise a lack of these goods that were back then forbidden fruit. Women would start to knit, crochet, plait, weave, for the sake of escaping reality and enhancing their environs or personalising their garments.
I made the collection using styropor which is often utilised as an insulation in civil engineering. I made a 3D model and processed it with a CNC machine. The uppers were made separately on a last weaving and braiding strips of leather together and nailing them to the last at the bottom. Then of course upon finishing, the nails were taken out and the upper was attached to the platform.
Personal Space – Photo: Tereza Havlínková
SC!: Congrats on your collection “Personal Space”. The fact that they are based on acupressure and reflexology is quite interesting. How did come up with that idea?
KR: Thank you!
I was searching for answers to a lot of questions and I wanted it all to sum up in the form of shoes. I went through a phase of researching ecological impact of the footwear industry. The ecological and ethical awareness is an important topic and it encouraged me to rethink shoe production. I looked for a way to process the shoe only from non-synthetic materials that could be disposed of easily without making waste. I even omitted the use of glue or stitching so the whole shoe is a puzzle, wooden pegs interlocking through the felt wedge.
We overproduce, striving to be faster in high-tech sneakers, it’s all a rat race. I was actually trying to create something that slows you down, the opposite of running shoes, which are a worldwide craze.
I wanted to deal with values important to me as an individual and I came up with personal time and space. Most of the time we think about what will be or what we did in the past. I was thinking about creating something to remind you of the ”here and now’’ which we tend to forget about. That notion is activated by the acupressure points, you massage yourself on the soles of your feet simply by standing on them. Hence you feel your personal time by just being, it’s pristine.
And the personal space? In this case it’s the shape of the sole of the shoe that defines it when you are standing. Moreover, a personal space to me is a metaphysical value that tells the story of the space you take up and the things you use.
Turkish Nalin clogs
SC!: We’re sure you’ve been asked … but… Are they comfortable?
KR: They are experimental and wearable at the same time! Which was my goal, I prefer not to make shoes that do not work, comfort being one of the essentials of a shoe from my point of view. At the same time we perceive comfort differently than in the Middle Ages. Have you seen the Turkish Nalin clogs for instance? It depends on how long and for what purpose the shoes are designed. I wouldn’t take them on a hike of course.
SC!: Are any of your shoes for sale?
KR: I’m making a custom pair for Veronika Ruppert, a journalist specialising in fashion from the Czech radio – Český rozhlas. Otherwise I can do a pair upon request and send them over. These can be ordered via my email. Of course I have to know the size and any other specifications that might help me to make it fit perfectly.
SC!: Do you plan to create your own website anytime soon?
KR: Yes, I must, my husband is a typographer (Superior Type) so naturally I’m cooperating with him. I’ve already bought a domain – shoedaism.cz and we are working on it.
Photo: Puf creatif – Jitka Halířová, Jakub Cabalka
SC!: A perfect shoe has to have…
KR: Style, wit and a certain amount of comfort (I mean it shouldn’t hurt after five minutes).
SC!: A footwear designer / brand you admire.
KR: United Nude, Trippen, Giuseppe Zanotti…Iris van Herpen.
Shoedaism for Leeda – Photo: Anežka Horová
SC!: A young footwear designer / label you like.
SC!: Are there any Instagram accounts you follow or magazines and blogs you read?
KR: ID, Hint Magazine, Dazed and Confused, Oyster, Toeslayer, Vogue…Yatzer, Designboom and Bespoke shoemakers.
Photo: Tereza Havlínková
SC!: The Footwear World is in need of….
KR: Quality and less production. There is a lot of waist being produced making more than we can actually buy.
SC!: What’s your next step? And your impossible dream?
KR: Oh yes! I have one, I’d really like to start a collaboration with dancers to make shoes for them.
And, of course, who wouldn’t want to make shoes for Lady Gaga whom I admire especially for dressing to the nines for every possible occasion.
Header photo: Puf creatif – Jitka Halířová, Jakub Cabalka
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla