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Shoes or art?

Perhaps I may be a little narrow minded when it comes to footwear. I believe in classic, well made and practical shoes that are not just aesthetically pleasing, but fit and last well. However most importantly, I feel they must serve the main function of a shoe - to protect and comfort the foot, while performing day to day or specialist activities.

It's become more obvious that in high street fashion, designers and brands have been trying to reinvent the shoe. Taking originals and customizing them in order to fit in with the demand consumers have today to be unique. However looking more into hi-fashion designers, it seems to them that re-inventing the shoe is almost eliminating the main duty of the shoe and turning it into art.

Japanese designer Masaya Kushino raises the question 'Shoes or art?' when collaborating with artists and sculptors to produce his haute couture creations, his aspiration - to be remembered in history. Hi-fashion isn't known for being practical, and as much as I admire the thought process and elegance produced by Kushino, I don't see his work as a good example of a shoe, as they are coated with feathers and textures, becoming almost unrecognizable as footwear and looking almost impossible to walk in - defying the whole point of having a shoe in the first place. Nevertheless it's clear some people disagree and the artistry of shoes is enough to justify the argument of the construction.

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Bird-Watched is inspired by the iconic 18th century painter, Jakuchu Ito who concentrated on painting animals. From this, Kushino represents real birds, giving a dark twist to the objects, as he quotes “tinged with a bit of insanity”.

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Kushino focuses on is inspired by the bond between humans and the natural environment. Kushino tries to convey this through the shoes wearability, as he emphasizes the difference between shoes and art, “shoes are more intrinsic and interactive”. This Kushino claims, is what gives shoes their attractiveness. The term wearability can be used loosely I assume, as I think it would be difficult to find an actual human capable of walking or doing anything but standing completely still in a pair of Kushino's. I think it's safe to say I don't think I would be picking up a pair of these any time soon.

Thanks for reading!

Martha King


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