We are at the height of resurrecting ugly sandal trends, and Birkenstock is wasting no time making sure it is the leading brand of the charge with its educational initiative designed to support up-and-coming designers. In the spirit of this, alongside its many other collaborations with House names, the brand has tapped four of Central Saint Martins‘ MA Fashion students with a mission to have them rework its signature sandal silhouettes. We know that unparalleled talent comes out of each class at Central Saint Martins, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, and Riccardo Tisci to name a few of its historic alums. Now, Birkenstock is predicting the new guard with its exclusive collaboration.
The four chosen creatives - Dingyun Zhang, Alex Wolfe, Alecsander Rothschild and Saskia Lenaerts - were selected from 10 finalists by 12 jury members, among which, was Birkenstock’s CEO Oliver Reichert, MA Fashion Course director Fabio Piras, Sarah Mower MBE and more.
“Investing in and connecting with future talents is working with free spirits,” Reichert stated in a statement. “A priority for forward-thinking brands, especially a democratic brand that embraces all like Birkenstock. The students showed a genuine understanding of design and delivered a convincing end result.”
As for why each of the four made the cut: Dingyun Zhang's portfolio features brands like YEEZY and CL and has crafted a design with padded straps to hone in on comfort and wearability. Alecsander Rothschild, a Mugler alum, said to have taken inspiration from Constantin Brâncuși’s sculptures. South-East London designer Alex Wolfe created a conceptual sandal with detachable pieces giving us very much ice-hockey player vibes, while Saskia Lanaerts chose to champion Birkenstock’s latex and cork footbed with a woven upper.
The CSM x Birkenstock collection will be available online and at select stores worldwide soon. Which speak to you the most? At least Wolfe's are versatile!