United Nude’s brainy shoe design
I have always been interested in moebius strips. A sci-fi story that my father read me as a wee nerd had to do with the London Metro. In this story, the Metro was a moebius strip, and the rider/narrator was caught in the bizarre dimensional intricacies of a moebius strip, which is a surface that has only one side and one boundary. If you take a strip of paper, give it a half-twist, and glue or tape the ends together to make a semi-circular object, you will observe that the “other side” of the strip is still the same side, as in M.C. Escher‘s classic illustration of the concept.
In the story my dad told me, the narrator enters the Metro, but because the system’s tracks are moebius strips, the narrator experiences all sorts of strange perspective changes (time, location), which leads him to consider the one-dimensional quality of his life. I suppose the story is a metaphor for the working man, who becomes so caught up in the race to produce that he looses a raison d’etre, and his life becomes grey and one-dimensional. The twist, pun intended, is that this man’s one-dimensional life in the moebius strip is far more interesting than he bargained for.
Anyway, when United Nude released the Moebius shoe a few years ago, I was pretty excited, as it was one of those weird instances that I’m sure most people have had. You’re thinking about something, be it an idea or theme, and before you know it, someone’s done something with the exact same idea or theme. It’s called collective consciousness, and refers to the moral and intellectual “sameness” of members of society. Others might give the term a more spiritual orientation: that the collective consciousness is the sum total of all human experience at any given time, and that any one individual is plugged into this giant mass of humanity at any point in time. Anyway, around the time United Nude came out with their Moebius shoe, I was in a period of reminiscence about my childhood and the idea of “moebius” was something that came up a lot in my own thought, and then… blamo, it’s a shoe.
United Nude’s Moebius shoe is actually made of one piece of leather. Their execution of the concept is, in my opinion, brilliant, but they haven’t stopped there. Their shoes all have an underpinning in either architecture, physics, or some discipline other than fashion, which makes them far more interesting to me.
Take for instance their “Sharpei” boot, inspired by the shar pei dog, whose loose skin is far larger than its actual body, and is therefore capable of taking many shapes. So the boot. Its outer construction is separate from the inner shaft, allowing the boot to be scrunched, rolled, and pushed/pulled into a variety of shapes.
United Nude also created a shoe inspired by the iconic Eames chair.
I appreciate that United Nude’s shoe designs are connected to something a bit brainier than a way to show off a pretty pedicure or particularly petite ankle. The only criticism I have is their website is not optimized for Firefox and best viewed in (egad) Microsoft IE.
related link: Urban Nude Cool Hunted