Veneer down to the toes
Wood is not a material that comes to mind immediately as clothing. However, inventive designer Tineke Gysel has found a way to shape her favourite raw material into something we all wear - shoes.
Tineke Gysel refers to herself as a creative millipede. We could take that literally, as the 28-year-old from Ghent has created a unique niche for herself in the footwear sector. She makes extensive use of a material that to date has been reserved exclusively for the heel: wood. “I grew up with it,” Tineke explains. “My father was a cabinetmaker. The craft aspect of designing shoes immediately appealed to me.” She had the idea of working with wood herself when her art nouveau apartment was refurbished. “I combined authentic elements with a Scandinavian style, and it worked perfectly. Wood plays an extremely important role in Scandinavian designs, which reveal that beauty lies in simplicity.”
She translated this concept in her shoe collection called ‘Woodhide Geometries’. She combines striking geometrical shapes with wood as a warm organic material. “I was interested in integrating wood veneer in the upper leather,” she says. “I had never seen that before. Wood provides a tough look, but by cutting it with a laser cutter and attaching a fine Plexiglas heel you can give it elegance and stylishness.” The collection comprises four designs — three low shoes and a boot for women — each of which demonstrates how versatile and surprising wood can be. Tineke also sees bamboo veneer as extremely suitable. “It is a hip, contemporary and ecologically sound product,” she explains. “Increasing environmental awareness means that bamboo is increasingly embraced in the world of designers. It gives modern designs a luxurious and natural appearance. Wood is not only an available product with protective characteristics, but it is also very trendy.”