London College of Fashion’s annual Master of Fine Arts showcase is known for launching the careers of budding design students. And for 2022, Dirk Vaessen stands out as a graduate to watch.
With a focus on futuristic footwear, the London-based Dutch designer titled his collection “Brave Hendrik’s New Identities” and presented a monochrome beige collection of wooden, aluminum and leather shoes. Abstract constructions include a slanted pair of vertical block heels, an upturned pair of elongated flats, and a pair of geometrically shaped semi-block wedges.
A highlight of the collection includes a pair of shin-covering open-heel sliders that extend from the instep to the knee.
Vaessen released a brand statement for the Brave Hendrik project, sharing insight into its intricate design technique:
“Brave Hendrik’s restrictive shoe artifacts function as therapeutic tools that adjust human posture based on joint restrictions. It is believed that by choosing the appropriate restriction, a person’s true self can be restored and discovered from which a new form of physical and metaphysical identification can emerge,” it reads.
Also responding to recent social media backlash to her collection, Vaessen spoke to Women’s Wear Daily saying, “I’m a cobbler. I know how to make proper shoes. I used completely different techniques with milling, laser cutting and water jet cutting. That’s why they look so abstract.
Notable LCF alumni include Thi Phuong Thao Nguyen (MA Menswear) and rising menswear designer Harikrishnan.
Vaessen’s MFA portfolio and past work can be viewed on its design website.
Elsewhere in creative footwear, take a first look at the Tom Sachs x NikeCraft “General Purpose” shoe.